Nutrition is the fuel that powers our fitness. Like a car, if we put the right octane of fuel- mix it with a spark and oxygen we can drive big gains! If we don’t take care of our fuel, if we add to our gas tank the wrong ingredients, our engine is weak and will likely break down in the near future. For decades experts thought that fat (such as that found in nuts and seeds) is the leading cause of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and other nutritionally based health problems. While we should avoid eating too much of any one nutrient there is strong research showing that refined carbohydrates, not dietary fat, is to blame.
Nutrition Advice 101
A good diet is easier than most people think. The first step is to upgrade the quality of food. We define healthy as: lean meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Food is a drug. This may seem shocking, but think about the definition of a drug. Ingesting drugs causes physiological changes in your body. Ingesting food has the same effect. It can bring about positive or negative changes in your body. We don’t recommend you worry about completely eliminating anything from your diet at first. Small, frequent, and sustained changes are the key to success in nutrition. You just need to know what are the first changes to make.
Nutrition Advice #1– Eat when you wake up in the morning. Do not wait until 10am to eat something. A healthy breakfast is not cornflakes, cereal, bread and labneh. And you already knew that coffee, tea, and a quick smoke is destructive- but far too many Jordanians are “eating” this for breakfast. Here’s what we want each morning, 2-3 eggs (for a woman) or 3-4 eggs for a man. You can cook them however you enjoy it- change it up so it doesn’t become routine. And prepare for yourself some simple vegetables with your eggs- whether cold or sautéed. Drink a tall glass of water to give your body some resources to function properly.
Nutrition Advice #2– bring a morning snack. The best is some almonds and a small piece of fruit. The almonds provide some fat which will help regulate your metabolism and energy. The fruit will help you stay full and keep your blood sugar levels from crashing. This will help you stay away from the snickers bars and candy laying around your office!
Nutrition Advice #3- be prepared for a healthy lunch. This will possibly require some planning. You can prepare a nice salad with chicken and avocado. But you must stay away from mansif and other traditional meals that are usually served at around 2-3pm. The huge amount of rice and bread that usually comes with such meals must be avoided. If you have a hard time planning your meals- then you need to have Primrose and Nutribox on your speed dial on your phone. Do your co-workers a favor, suggest one of those three restaurants but don’t tell them it’s healthy food. After they eat, ask them how the food tasted- and when they say “zaki” then tell them where you ordered from.
Nutrition Advice #4– Avoid sugars and high glycemic carbohydrates. Seriously, trust us on this. If you stop drinking tea or coffee with sugar and stop drinking all canned soda drinks- you will amazed at what happens. Your energy will be such much more level, you will lose fat quickly, and be able to sustain focus for work for much longer periods. This is simple and seriously- your life won’t be over if you cut out sugars.
So what are high-glycemic carbohydrates? Donuts, bread- even dark or wheat bread, chocolate, most cereal, ice cream, pretzels, and soft drinks are the biggest culprits. Unfortunately, probably all of the things the majority of Americans enjoy eating. You’ve probably heard that if you stick to the
perimeter of the grocery store and avoid the aisles, you’re more likely to eat foods that are healthier for you. It is important to remember if it has ingredients, its not food. The perimeter of the grocery store is typically where the meats, vegetables and fruits reside (foods with no ingredients).
Refined (high-glycemic) carbohydrates raise blood sugar too rapidly, inducing a stronger insulin response from your pancreas. This stronger insulin response can, over time, lead to hyperinsulinemia and a host of other nutritionally based health problems to include coronary heart disease and diabetes. CrossFit’s prescription is a low-glycemic diet, resulting in a much lower insulin response to the things we eat.
Once you have the quality of food under control and are applying our nutrition advice from above we can begin the Zone Diet. If you are ready for that- read our article on the Zone Diet.
We also created a healthy Restaurant and Grocery guide specific to Amman Jordan to help you get started. Sign up and we’ll send you the free download! We give you the 8 best grocery stores and 8 best restaurants in Amman for healthy living. You will find their locations, ratings, cost, selections, quality and much more.
If you are new to Amman, or just starting your journey in fitness in Amman, you should check out our 5 Fitness Tips for moving to Amman. We can help make your transition smooth!