The One Healthy Food I Try to Avoid
We all know that even the most rigid exercise routine is nothing without a proper diet. It’s my goal to help my clients reach their goals and achieve their full potential, which means I have to consider the whole picture. This is why one of the very first things I ask any new client, even before we get into the workout, is what they are eating on a daily basis. And most of the time, their diet is overall pretty on point—they’re getting in their fruits and vegetables, eating healthy sources of protein, and limiting dairy and processed foods if not avoiding them altogether. And yet, they’re still experiencing problems like bloating and digestive upset, which also then leaves them with irritated skin, low energy, and other issues. So what’s the deal?
It’s not until I tell them to write down everything they have in a day and then hand it over to me that I see the problem. Time and again, there is one sneaky offender that everyone forgets about because they don’t even realize they’re eating it (or at least how much they’re eating it). Not only that, but this food has a notoriously positive rep that people don’t even bat an eye at the possible side effects. Now, this may come as a shock to you, but the culprit behind your perma-bloat could be sitting right next to you in your latte: nuts.
As one of the most prevalent foods in this wave of health-conscious eating we’re in, people are literally nuts about nuts. Almonds, peanuts, walnuts, macadamia nuts, brazil nuts, pecans, hazelnuts… the list goes on! And while I’m not trying to say that nuts are pure evil—they certainly have their place in a healthy diet—they are being overhyped and as a result overconsumed to the point of digestive destruction.
A normal, healthy serving of nuts is one oz per day, about the size of your palm. And that also pretty much makes up all the healthy fats you need in a day. The problem is, these food journals that clients hand in are showing an average consumption of 3-5 servings of nuts per day. They start their morning with nuts mixed into their oatmeal (made with nut milk) and top it with nut butter. Then at lunch they have walnuts on their salad, followed by a nut milk latte in the afternoon paired with an apple and almond butter and end the day with a vegan nut-cheese pizza and a gluten-free almond-flour brownie. It’s actually insane how many ways people are sneaking nuts into their day, and it’s simply way too much. Then factor in the fats they’re getting from also eating healthy things like fish, olive oil and avocado and suddenly they’re consuming double to triple the amount of fat they actually need!
To make matters worse, nuts actually require a lot of effort to digest. Which makes sense when you think about it—they help make you full for a reason, but that also just means everything else you eat with those nuts is getting backed up in your stomach. And if you’re eating nuts all day long? I’ll let you do the math.
As soon as I have clients cut out nuts from their diet, their bloat disappears. So if you feel like you’re in the same boat with the bloat, I encourage you to take inventory of how often you’re having nuts and consider cutting them out. Try going cold turkey for 2 weeks and just see how you feel. Some clients feel so amazing, they don’t even miss the nuts and remove them from their diet for good. Others do add them back in but are much more cautious to limit their consumption.
The last thing to keep in mind if you do opt to keep nuts and nut products in rotation in your diet is to be weary of added ingredients. Most raw nuts or plain nut milks are very bland, so people opt for the flavored or sweetened options which contain added sugars, salts, artificial ingredients and preservatives like xanthan gum and carrageenan. These build up in your body overtime leading to greater levels of toxicity and fat accumulation, so buyers be ware!
Ultimately, if you can’t live without your nut butter or almond milk latte, just make sure you’re keeping the quantity and quality in check!
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