How to Build a Better Diet
Learning isn't just about gaining knowledge--it's about questioning what you've been told and then acting on that information and how it applies to you.
With only one week left in the Eggsperiment, I've been spending a lot of time trying to figure out exactly what I've learned. While I'm excited to see and share the final blood work results, this test became a great opportunity to learn more about my dietary habits and--of course--the most common myths about eggs.
After 2 months of questioning everything I know about eggs, here's what I've learned about what I consider the healthiest food, and more importantly, what this process has taught me about my own diet.
Think Before You Eat
Probably the biggest challenge of the Eggsperiment has been keeping my calories exactly the same during the 2 month process compared to before I began. I usually eat many of the same meals every day, so I can autoregulate what I eat. I use the MyPlate Calorie Tracker to follow my total intake, as well as the proteins, carbs, and fats that I consume.
But rather than scheduling my diet as usual--eating towards a goal--I had to work backwards. I started each day by inputting 3 eggs into MyPlate. It was a reminder of what I had to eat for the day, and it built in an expectation that help me stay consistent.
This became a great tool that changed how I now approach eating. If I felt that I wasn’t taking in enough fruits or vegetables, I pre-loaded my daily diet plan with those as a reminder of what I needed to eat. As a result, I consistently ate what was lacking. Planning is nothing new, but forecasting your menu for the day can help create healthier actions (for less or more disciplined eaters) and it keeps you in line with what you should be eating.
And it doesn't have to be boring, either. On days that I wanted to splurge--and there have been many--I prematurely added the dessert or gluttonous meal to MyPlate in anticipation. This would allow me to adjust my meals during the day accordingly and look forward to what I'd be eating. Of course, life isn't always so automated and sometimes you'll grab dessert or drinks when you don't expect it. And that's fine.
The point is this: For many people, eating healthy is difficult. But like any good meal, a little extra preparation will make the final product better. Writing down what you will eat (or entering it into MyPlate) doesn't guarantee that you will follow through, but I think it increases the likelihood. And anything that helps make eating healthy easier is something that I can support and recommend.
A lot of people have suggested cooking my eggs in the microwave. This almost immediately led to debate: Is the microwave safe? There are opinions that walk the line on both sides of the equation (article coming soon on this), but sometimes a simple approach is the best way to make a decision.
Eggs in the microwave don't taste as good as eggs cooked in a pan. The hard-boiled version is also better. And when you consider that you can whip up some scrambled eggs very fast (just let the pan sit on medium to high heat for a couple of minute), I see no reason to settle for something that I don't enjoy as much. No debate. No fuss. Just quick, easy, nutritious meals.
It doesn't always work out this when, but when in doubt don't over-think diet and fitness. Stressing about some minor detail is almost always unnecessary.
Don't Make Dietary Assumptions
Food allergies are a very serious issue. Whether it's egg sensitivity, gluten, lactose, or any other trigger, more people should be tested and find out what could be negatively affecting their gut health. A food allergy could legitimately be the reason why you struggle to lose weight, feel sick, or lack energy.
With that said, assuming that certain dietary habits will cause food allergies is just as ridiculous as acting as if food sensitivities don't exist. Many people suggested that the Eggsperiment would make me "resistant" to eggs. The logic was that by eating the same food every day my body would reject it, become allergic to it, and have a negative reaction.
So I tested for it. Every two weeks. And guess what? Nothing. No sensitivity. No increased inflammation. No problem.
While it might be safe to assume a few habits are dangerous because of the overwhelming wealth of information (trans fats come to mind), sometimes a little experimentation is good--especially when it comes to health foods. Adding a good food to your diet is the type of behavior you want to reinforce. And when those foods add more structure to your day of eating, keep you on track, or help you prevent the type of foods that will crash your diet, it's even better. Our bodies want good, clean nutritious food. Supply it you will be happier and feel better.
Always check about the allergies and inflammation first. But if your body hasn't become sensitive to candy, I think it's safe to say hat your body will happily embrace consistently eating more foods like veggies, fruits, or eggs.
Other odds and ends from the Eggsperiment
Brown eggs versus white eggs: I didn't know this before, but typically the brown eggs come from chickens that are bigger and fed more. Who knew?
The myth of the double yolk: They are safe to eat and typically produced by young chickens. After eating more than 180 eggs, I only received the double yolk twice. One less egg shell for me.
Blood in yolks: I was told by several egg farmers that this is NOT dangerous. (A few disagreed.) Scanners can actually detect these blood spots and most are caught, but obviously some are missed. Still, I don't care what anyone says: I'm not eating blood in my eggs. I only spotted it once during this process, and that egg was tossed.