4 Nutrition Principles To Get You Started

Often, you’ll hear a range of claims from different diet programs or gurus. They need a unique message to sell to you. Some  may over-complicate things, some downright mislead you.

This makes for alot of confusion. People get caught up in different concepts that have been marketed to them. It leaves them unsure what direction to go in.

I’m not an expert. I’ve studied enough to realize that there is not one magic formula.

There is a set of nutrition principles that remain universal though. You see them repeated throughout any program that’s worthwhile.

I believe understanding these principles is a great foundation. It’s the first step in improving your own diet and health. It also keeps things simple at the start.

Nutrition Principles

  1. Eat High Quality Carbs– Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are the important ones here. All carbs should be eaten close to there natural state. Meaning, minimal processing and not from a box or plastic wrapper. Grains are heavily debated. If you do eat them, take time to understand what they are.
  2. Eat High Quality Fats –  Eat healthy oils.  Try to eat pasture raised, grass fed beef and pork as there fat profile is better. Dairy should come from the same sources. Once again, steer towards minimally processed foods that are close to there natural state. A little fish oil wouldn’t hurt either.
  3. Drink  Single Ingredient No Calorie Beverages –  Water, Tea and Coffee are good choices and should make up the majority of your intake.
  4. Eat Protein and Vegetables/Fruits with Every Meal – Simple as that. Protein aids muscle recovery and keeps your fuller longer. Vegetables are packed full of nutrients.

Master These Principles First

People get too caught up in the details and never get started.

  • Are grains bad for me?
  • Should I eat beans?
  • How many meals per day? 3? 5?
  • Can I eat dairy products?
  • What multivitamin should I take?
  • Should I eat low carb?

The answer to these questions and many more…. it’s largely individual. You’ll find very intelligent people debating either side.  What they don’t debate are the principles listed above.

So what’s that mean? These principles are a great starting point. Master them first and then you can experiment with some of the things I mentioned above.  Remove grains and see what happens. Eat 5 meals a day and see note your progress.

Starting With The Basics Helps With Compliance

This approach helps with compliance as well.  Rarely can you make multiple habit changes at the same time and stick with them. It’s not in your nature. The simpler the solution, the easier you can implement it.You can start with just one thing on the list. Anything to get momentum going.

These principles are the biggest bang for your buck. They are the 80/20 of nutrition. They will promote the greatest change for the effort vested.

This is all common sense, but we all get stuck occasionally. What is your biggest hangup?



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4 thoughts on “4 Nutrition Principles To Get You Started”

  1. Hey John!

    I’m planning to do a full post on Paleo in the near future. Here is a brief overview on my thoughts.

    – All else said, paleo is one of the better/best diet programs out there. It adheres to the principles I listed above. Anyone I’ve met who has done it and stayed compliant has been very successful. However, most people I speak too have a difficult time staying compliant.

    – Paleo is based on a theory of how our ancestor’s ate. I don’t like this approach. I feel it was done on the basis of marketing. I think of it like this. If the data in the present term was there to support the idea that you should never eat grains, why would you ever need to argue on the basis that our ancestors didn’t eat grains? For example, if I were to tell you to avoid trans fats, I wouldn’t need to argue that our ancestors didn’t eat trans fats. I would simply show you conclusive present day data.

    – My personal nutrition adheres to alot of Paleo principles. I try to eat a good amount of healthy fats. I eat lots of protein and vegetables. However, I do eat whole grains. I have pulled them from my personal diet before and had poor results. I have a high metabolism and I’m very active, so I blow through carbs. I enjoy beans and dairy, but do not regularly eat them, because they do have a bad effect on my gut.

    – The link below is an interview with Dr. John Berardi. This guy is a huge authority in nutrition. I would consider his stuff the highest quality online resource. In the interview, he discusses Paleo. It’s well worth the read as it’s nice to see different points of view.



    I can count the number of times I’ve drank in the last year on one hand. I have absolutely nothing against it. In fact, I enjoy the occasional drink but don’t have a desire to binge anymore.

    The reason being, I hate the way my body/mind feels after I drink alcohol. A glass of wine or two won’t be an issue. Anything more and I despise it.

  2. I like Berardi’s take on the paleo. I can eat almost anything and be totally fine (ie. feel fine and not gain weight), though I find processed carbs like bread deplete my energy. I did Gomad, with 10 eggs and 2 shots of olive oil on top of 3 standard meals a day (probably 5k – 6k calories) and gained almost 10 kgs. But bodyfat-wise, I looked the same. I find that as a general rule, the more natural something is, the better it is for you.

    And re. alcohol, I totally agree. I didn’t drink for a few months and felt great. But when I went out partying all night, it was hell the next day, with fogginess and no energy. It doesn’t seem worth it at all.

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