“What should I eat then?”

June 24, 2012

It never ceases to amaze me how many people ask me what they should eat immediately after I’ve introduced them to the W10 Performance Food Pyramid (download it here).

To me it seems pretty simple.  Eat most of your foods from the green list, add a few servings from the black list and minimise or exclude the foods on the red list. #goodhealth.  The interaction is not always so straight forward however.  Here’s how it often plays out:

Me: “As you’ve asked, my view is that for optimal health/fat loss/muscle gain/just about any other aspect of health and fitness, you should eat mainly from the green list. In a nutshell, we’re talking protein, vegetables and good quality fats”.

Typical Person: “Thats great, makes total sense.  But what should I eat then”.

Me (in my head): “Look (insert derogatory adjective depending on how impatient I feel and the age, sex and existing relationship I have with said Typical Person), you can ask me that as many times as you want and I’m still going to give you the same answer.  Why?  Because that’s how, in my view, a normal human being should eat.  Yes, I know pasta is easy to ‘cook’, you are really busy and your friend told you that soy is good for you, but my view still holds.  You should eat vegetables, protein and good fats.”

My conclusion is that people probably do ‘get it’, but ultimately what they’re looking for is an interpretation of the pyramid (or any other nutritional framework for that matter) that’s more in keeping with what they WANT to eat, rather than what they SHOULD eat.

The pyramid, and alas my advice, basically suggests that we get most of our foods from vegetables and concentrated protein sources (meat, fish, poultry etc), adding a moderate amount of fruits (according to activity level) and good quality fats.  We should probably all then add a serving or two/few from the black list, but nothing to significant*.

*Vegans/vegetarians might opt for more servings.  And whilst dairy is on the red list, I’m not totally adverse to grass fed, full fat and raw sources (assuming people are not lactose intolerant) – which might also be of particular value to our animal protein avoidance population.

Protein and vegetables you say?  Not massively appealing when you consider that that excludes just about anything thats nutritionally hedonistic.  Agreed, but here’s the thing….. thats how people should eat.  We’ve been doing such for centuries and genetically speaking we sill have the same requirements.

I don’t care if you’re a meat-head (eat more meat), veg-head (eat more vegetables), fat-phobe (seek out a good nutritionist), or any other ‘type’ of person, that’s how one should eat.  Bread, pasta, white rice, sweets, soft drinks and all processed foods (sorry, I don’t care if your sugar riddled, syrup coated, diabetics dream of a chocolate bar is gluten free), never have, nor ever will be, ‘good’ for you.  Sure, we should all indulge occasionally – that’s only human – but that’s exactly how these foods should be viewed, an indulgence (definition: luxury; gratification).  The rest of the time, it’s protein, vegetables and good fats.  Stick to the green list.

So what should you eat?  Vegetables, protein, fats and some fruit.  At a basic level, it really is that complicated.


  1. Gavin Nugent - June 28, 2012 at 11:29 pm -

    Call a spade a spade. Admittedly, don’t expect to be universally lauded and everyone’s best mate, but hey….Thomas Aquinas’ peers thought he was a dickhead! Not sure if you’ve read “The End of Overeating”, but if you couple that with the city-dwellers in ” The Hunger Games”, you begin to see a picture of a society that’s been fattening itself up for decades, and washing it’s hands of free-will. Overwweight slothful parents rearing malnourished doughy offspring, fit for nothing more than the Cineplex and a bumber-bucket of buttered popcorn. The western world needs a couple of civil wars or a famine, in order to remind itself that “We were not born in Mothercare, nor are we designed to forage for our food in Starbucks”. Thanks, Jean Claude!