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FTM's Nutrition Principles for Staying Fit and Healthy

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Nutrition PrinciplesHere at Feed the Machine, we often say we are "Diet Agnostic". In other words, we don't believe there is one diet that works for all people. We wish there was - it sure would make our job easier! We believe that nutrition should first come from quality foods in our daily diet. Once this is achieved - supplements are then added in to support our body's overall health, recovery, and performance. As athletes, we put our body through a great deal of stress, and we need to support our "machines" by fueling properly. We've outlined six principles that support our philosophy.

Keep it simple: When it comes to your everyday foods - keep it simple. We have an incredible amount of information at our fingers tips – and are bombarded daily with an information overload, whether it’s the newest study, research, or diet fad out there. This information comes from a variety of sources - many unreliable, contradictory, and from companies with hidden agendas, leaving you confused. The reality is, eating a healthy diet is SIMPLE. We knew how to eat before marketing, TV commercials, and artificial flavors were created in a lab. As Michael Pollan states, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants” and “Don’t eat anything your great-great-great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” When we say “eat food”, we mean REAL food – like fresh fruits and veggies, meats and poultry, beans, nuts and seeds. Eat food as close to its natural state as possible, and try to stay away from processed foods (these are often high in sugar, have hidden trans fats, and sodium). You should be able to read each ingredient, and know where it comes from.

Make it Colorful
: More color means more vitamins and minerals. Keep your diet full of rich reds, deep purples, bright oranges and yellow, and you guessed it, GREEN. For example - with its gorgeous orange color, the sweet potato packs in 2-3 times more vitamin A & C than the traditional white potato. In the same vein, Broccoli contains twice the amount of Vitamin C and five times the amount of Vitamin K than Cauliflower. Bottom line, rock the rainbow and add some color to every meal - you don't have to kick the white fruits and veggies to the curb, they offer value too - but remember to mix it up. Lastly – you can never have too much spinach or kale – we’re talking super food. Both of these leafy greens contain a hefty amount of antioxidants, vitamins/minerals, and are great for overall immune and digestive health.

Balanced & FUN: Don’t follow lame (and often boring!) diets. Eat from all macronutrient groups – Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats (YES, fats!). Depending on your goals – whether you want to lose weight (cut the carbs) or gain muscle (increase the proteins), you can play with the percentages from each category – but anything TOO strict, will not only be hard to follow and lower your success rate in sticking to it, but may leave you nutrient deficient and have a negative effect on your overall health and well-being. A good rule of thumb is 30-40% fat, 20-30% carbohydrate, and 25-35% protein. And last but not least, if it's not FUN, you won't enjoy your meals or stick to the plan. We always say "you can do anything for 30 days", just try something small for 30 days and see how it goes!

Focus on Quality: Simply stated - where is your food coming from? Organic shouldn’t even be called organic. It should be called “REAL”. This is how food should be ALL the time. This means free of antibiotics, growth hormones, and pesticides. This also promotes the practice of crop rotation and emphasizes biodiversity – again, how we used to do it, before our food production practices went on overdrive. While there are some foods that could go either way (pineapple, avocado, onions, cabbage, sweet peas, Eggplant, Kiwi, Cantaloupe, and Sweet Potatoes), there are some foods that are definitely worth the few extra bucks. Invest in buying organic apples, strawberries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach, nectarines, cumber, and cherry tomatoes (among others) – these have been tested and have the highest pesticide load. Buying organic grass fed animal protein is also worth the extra bucks – with beef and chicken to increase better fats and decrease hormone and antibiotics used. A good rule of thumb - anything you consume daily (coffee, eggs, milk, breads, fruits and veggies) should be quality and organic.

Listen to your Body. Every BODY is different. Try things out – while gluten free is all the rage these days, see for yourself. Change nothing in your diet, but your gluten intake and see if your feel better. If you do, then maybe a gluten free or low carbohydrate diet is right for you. If you’re vegetarian but feel slow, fatigued, have low iron, and crave animal protein – try it out, get the protein from quality clean sources, see how you feel. If you find that you're hungry all the time - change the program - your energy and performance will not only suffer, but your diet will not be sustainable. It’s all up to you – and not everyone will perform their best on specific diets – experiment and see what fuel delivers the best performance and feeling of overall health, energy, stamina, and well-being.

Use Supplements to reach your goals: We are big believers in getting your nutrition from REAL food first. That said - supplements play an important role in helping you reach your athletic goals and maintain optimal health. It's important to keep in mind that - as athletes - our needs for nutrients and calories are significantly higher than that of our sedentary counterparts. Some supplements like sports drinks, gels, and bars offer a very convenient and effective way to fuel you during competition and workouts. While others like Post Workout products can greatly speed up your recovery and allow you to hit it hard again the next day. Looking for a way to stay strong despite sweating out crucial "salts"? We have electrolyte replacement products to keep you going hard no matter how long your workout. You have sore joints? We have joint health supplements to fix that. You have inflammation and sore muscles? We have natural anti-inflammatory products and acid buffer supplements to delay fatigue and speed recovery. You get the idea. Quality supplements wisely used can give you a major advantage in increasing your recovery, performance, endurance, energy, and power. If you’re new to taking supplements - we're here to help so reach out and we'll gladly help you pick the right products to help you reach your optimal potential and wellness goals. Looking for resources, take a look at our video reviews, nutrition plans, articles, and advice section.

Whether you try one or all six of the outlined principles of the FTM philosophy - we believe your body will THANK you for it, and your machine will be one step forward to being fed and performing at its best.

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