Nutrition is the biggest piece of the puzzle when it comes to getting a body and life you love. The problem is that nutrition is bogged down by dogma and one-size-fits-all advice. All you want to know is how to start eating healthy, but the more you search the more confused and frustrated you get. Until now.
Once you understand the truth about fitness for weight loss (that eating healthy is 80% of your results), the next question you find yourself asking is, “So how do I start to eat healthy? What exactly do I eat and what do I stay away from?”
Well, I’ve come up with a helpful acronym that gets to the root of healthy eating in a very personal way using the acronym, “ANTI.”
Applying this acronym to your eating habits and understanding the context and intricacies is one of the first steps in changing your relationship with food.
“ANTI” food is (A)ddiction-Feeding, (N)utrient-poor, (T)oxic, or (I)nflammatory.
The goal of this model is not for you to eat less food or to become hyper-restrictive. The goal is to give you a tool for which to grade food so you can eat more “rich” food and less “poor” food, and truly nourish your body.
This model also gives you the knowledge to avoid the pull of marketing, the persuasiveness of dogma, and the confusion of conflicting advice.
In effect, it’s the most practical, sustainable, non-dogmatic approach to healthy eating because it’s based on eating the foods that work best for your individual body and goals.
Before we start, there are three statements I want to preface this model with:
PREFACE #1: There’s No Black And White Answer For How To Start Eating Healthy.
Once you’ve identified a food is an ANTI food, you then have to ask yourself, “How ANTI is it?”
Life may get pretty boring if you strictly adhere to this model and strive for perfection. For this reason, I’d suggest that you aim to use the ANTI food model as a tool to change your personal relationship with food and eat to a degree of health that you’re comfortable with and that helps you reach your goals.
You can be a long way from perfect and still ride off into the sunset with all of your goals achieved. But with that said, everything has tradeoffs. The more you venture into the gray area, the more murky your ability to be successful is going to become.
PREFACE #2: What’s ANTI For You Might Not Be ANTI For Me. Eating Healthy Looks Different For Everyone.
Food is personal. That’s why diets have such a high failure rate and it’s why Total Body Reboot is focused on helping you reboot the connection between your body, yourbrain, and your food. The one-size-fits-all model is dead.
The potato is a great example of this. On the surface, the potato is a pretty innocuous starch. For most people, it doesn’t fail the ANTI test. However, if you have a sensitivity to nightshades — a group of plants that contain a substance called alkaloids — then the potato is an ANTI food to you.
It can seem complicated at first because there’s a bit of a learning curve, but once you’ve done the work, you’re empowered to nourish your body in a way that will lead you to long-term success.
Seriously, once you figure this out for yourself and put this model into practice, you’re good to go for the rest of your life. If you’ve been struggling for years, or decades, that means your struggle can finally come to an end for good in the very near future.
PREFACE #3: This Is A Model For Health, Not Quick Weight Loss. If You Want To Know How To Eat Healthy As A Means To Some Superficial End, You’re Going To Lose.
Keep in mind that this is a model for health, not a magic formula for weight loss.
Is it likely that you’ll lose weight by following this model? Sure. But success comes from focusing on authentic core principles and sustainable healthy habits—not on weight loss. Sustainable fat loss is a side effect of living in a truly healthy environment.
Success is also highly dependent on your mindset. Authentic health is a long-term play. If your mind is hyper-focused on weight and that’s your only core goal, you’re highly likely to abandon authentic approaches and gravitate toward band-aid protocols that promise a quick fix.
In my Make It Stick Master Class, I teach a very important concept – that following “means to an end” style approaches is not what successful people do.
In fact, I take it a step further. I make the.bold statement that if you eat healthy – or exercise for that matter – as a means to some superficial end, you will never succeed. Ever. You can’t, because that relationship with food and fitness undermines your ability to be consistent.
How To Start Eating Healthy: An Overview Of The “ANTI” Model
Premise: When you know what to avoid based on your individual needs and goals, all that’s left is including the maximum variety of everything that’s left.
That’s highly empowering and easy for most people to understand and achieve.
So, here’s a breakdown of the ANTI model with suggestions for how to apply it to your life in the most effective way.
Health and weight loss are not achievable when you suffer from food addictions and dependencies, eat emotionally, use food as a symbolic substitute, or are otherwise triggered to the point where you can’t align your behavior with your intentions.
The side effects of addiction (a simplified term for practicality) are three-fold: you’re drawn to certain types of foods, you’re very likely to overeat, and you’re unable to trust your hunger and satiety signals.
To avoid this, the ANTI model disposes of almost all processed, hyper-palatable food products (aka junk food). That’s because these food products are based on scientific formulations of fat, sugar, and salt that don’t exist anywhere else in nature and are not made from real, whole foods.
When you eat these foods, you’re triggering an evolutionary mismatch. In essence, you’re eating against your biological programming.
This is one of the biggest challenges for most people. Processed and sugary foods are everywhere. Simply trying to avoid them and limit them is not possible unless you know the truth about moderation.
*The ultimate goal is to change your relationship with food. When this is done authentically, there’s no longer an “addictive” category. Doing the work to change your relationship with food gives you the ability to moderate your eating. Of course, moderation is impossible until this change occurs inside you.
[N] Nutritionally Poor*
In Why Diets Don’t Work, one of my main arguments was that diets fail because they don’t account for nutrient density.
Nutrient density is one of the main satiety triggers. Nutrients help you feel full. They help your body work properly. They guard against disease and degradation.
If the majority of your food consists of things that are nutrient-poor, you may quench hunger for a short period, but never long-term.
Eating foods that are nutrient poor contributes to overeating and overeating makes you fatter and less healthy. Eventually—especially if you’re also limiting calories—you’ll trigger a destructive state of nutritional poverty.
It’s especially important in this day and age to focus on nutrient-density because our entire food supply has been compromised by industrialization and domestication. The foods we eat today aren’t the foods of yesterday.
While it’s not harder to be healthier today, it does require more nuance and a stronger, more connected relationship with food. Instead of being the chess piece in the new food supply, you need to be the chess master.
This doesn’t mean you can never eat foods that are nutrient poor. Again, no food is “excluded” forever. Nutrient poor foods *can have other benefits. Rice is not a nutritionally “rich” food, but it can still be beneficial depending on your lifestyle and goals. Using the ANTI scale is all about understanding the context of a truly healthy, non-dogmatic lifestyle.
Toxins occur in certain foods that don’t wish to be eaten as an evolutionary survival trait (and have no other means of defense from predators). Toxins also occur in foods as a man-made addition (such as pesticides) or as a natural occurrence via contact with other organisms (like fungus).
For the most part, animals have defense or escape mechanisms and don’t require toxins. Plants find it fairly difficult to escape predators and thus are more likely to employ toxins for defense.
To be clear, I’m not talking about active defense toxins like snake poison. Snakes employ toxins for defense, but are safe to eat if you happen to kill one. I’m talking about passive toxins that attack you when you consume the food.
Let’s talk about the five most prevalent toxins you’re likely to run into and be sensitive to.
Aflatoxins are carcinogenic toxins in food which is produced by the Aspergillus flavus fungus. The toxin can also be found in the milk of animals which are fed contaminated feed.