Clients frequently ask, “what diet should I be on?” and it is true that some diets are healthier than others. But when it comes to an ideal personalized nutrition recommendation, the first questions to ask include “How am I currently eating?” and “What are the key nutrient changes that are of importance to improve overall nutrition?” At Apeiron Life, we’re constantly learning, defining, and refining every aspect of wellness as it relates to fitness and health span. We want to understand how different interventions promote desired adaptations and what the evidence says with regards to thresholds, how that can be translated into a clear, easy to use score, and what the practical, meaningful action items are to achieve goals.
You’d think nutrition would be easy to quantify, given so many speak in terms of calories and percentages of macronutrients consumed, but the field of nutrition assessment is both complicated yet relatively easy when it comes to making meaningful changes.
Often, when I ask a client, “What did you eat yesterday?” they struggle to answer in any kind of detail. Many of you have experienced what a complex question that is! “What was the portion? What were the ingredients? How much did I actually eat? What did I eat yesterday, what day was yesterday?!?!” It’s a more complicated question than it seems!
We decided to create a simpler, more practical nutrition assessment for a few reasons:
To speak in relatable and actionable themes
To take a variety of evidence into account
To look at the entire nutrition story to include how much you’re eating, what type of foods you're eating, and when you’re eating
We created our Nutrition Score based on three themes - Quality, Quantity, and Timing.
Quantity - how much you eat of different foods groups
Quality - how your food was sourced and the seasonality and variety of foods
Timing - when do you eat based on circadian rhythms
Quantity - We don’t just speak in calories. In fact, we purposely avoid using calories as a tool to optimize your food and nutrition, as nutrition is far more complex than just calories. When it comes to weight loss, “calories in, calories out” is technically accurate. If you eat more than you burn, you will gain weight and vice versa. That being said, it isn’t as simple as just one calorie equals one calorie. Just because you eat at your “appropriate” calorie level (which can be determined in a handful of ways) doesn't mean you’ll achieve your body composition goals or that you’re on a balanced, nutritious eating plan. For example, 100 calories of white sugar, broccoli, butter, and chicken breast are all the same calorie level but different nutrient profiles. Understanding your food groups and the nutrients you’re eating is essential to ensure you’re eating to support your health and wellness.
We also don’t speak in macros, as your nutrition story is more nuanced than solely macros. Vegetables and donuts are both carbs. Lard and olive oil are both fats. Chicken breast and bacon are both proteins. We have to go a few layers deeper to understand the story!
Additionally, we want to make it easier to create change. Instead of having you eat “x” calories a day, you’ll hear us say things like, “add two more servings of vegetables at lunch” or “add legumes and lean protein as a snack.”
Ask yourself: “What is on my plate right now?” Take a look at your plate and really notice what the food groups are that you're eating. You can really up your nutrition game by paying attention to what you are eating!
Quality - Getting into the quality of the foods you are consuming really takes things up a notch. There is more and more evidence supporting the ideas that eating organic produce, pasture raised meats, and less processed foods will help you in optimizing your health and wellness.
Ask yourself: “Where did the food come from? And is it in season?” If you’ve never done this before, it can rock your world a bit. Have fun with it!
Timing - There is a lot of discussion around meal timing these days, and there’s exciting research coming out to present several perspectives. While this needs to be personalized towards your specific goals and lifestyle, one thing that we do know is that eating with the sun is in support of our circadian rhythms. Understanding how our fueling relates to the sun is a solid benchmark and ties into sleep as sleep depends heavily on circadian rhythms.
Ask yourself: “Is the sun up while I’m eating?” and “When did the sun rise and set today?” (Days are long right now, so take advantage of a longer eating window!)
You’ll find that this nuanced approach is the same approach we take for sleep and exercise as well. We want you to notice all the layers in what it means to have an optimized plan and provide you with clear action items to support you on your journey.
If you haven’t already, please fill out your nutrition questionnaire! To access, click on the link through your desktop (not from a mobile device) and log in to the Apeiron Life platform. Once you've opened this area, scroll across to the 'Nutrition and Eating Habits' section. Your Client Advocate will connect with you after you fill out the questionnaire to discuss details on your nutrition, how to use your nutrition score, and all your data to support you in achieving your goals.