Diet is a Way of Life
In the fast-paced, information-filled world in which we live, it seems like every day has another fad diet craze to tempt us. But, a true diet shouldn’t really be a fad that only lasts until you reach your weight loss goals. Instead, a truly healthy diet is adopting the kinds of regular eating habits that should be a way of life for everyone seeking the best of health.
Here are five, short reminders of some of the basic steps you can take to change the way you eat for a healthier life. If you already do these things, good for you! And remember, the thousand-mile journey begins with one step. You don’t have to change everything at once. You just have to commit to making changes.
1. Avoid all things white
White bread. sugar. white rice, white flour, potatoes without skins, many processed foods–all fall into the white category. These foods are high in carbs and have very little of the properties that might balance the carbs out, like having a high fiber count. Because the body sees the simple carbs in these foods as basically sugar, it burns what it needs and turns the rest to fat.
White can be easily disguised as well. Just because the fried rice that comes with your beef and broccoli looks brown doesn’t mean it started life that way. Just because your favorite pizza crust is covered in cheese doesn’t change the fact that the crust is composed of white flour (and probably some sugar, too), not to mention the fact that it is, in fact, pizza. Choosing the brown rice instead, whole grain breads with a high fiber count, and green beans or broccoli instead of a baked potato, are some of the steps you can take to eliminate (or at least greatly reduce) white from your diet.
2. Avoid all things artificial
You’ve heard it said before. If you can’t pronounce the ingredient listed on the label, do you really want to be eating it? Another way to avoid the artificial trap is to do your grocery shopping around the perimeter of the store, where the whole foods and fresh produce are located. The fewer steps your food has to take between Mother Nature and your table, the less likely you will be encountering things in your food you don’t really want to be putting in your body.
Diet drinks and foods are one of the easiest things to come to mind when you think about eliminating the artificial from your diet. Even some products that promote being sweetened with sugar alcohols like xylitol may still have some aspartame or other artificial sweetener in them. You really have to read the full ingredient list to know exactly what you are consuming. As with legal contracts, choosing a healthy lifestyle means making a commitment to perusing the fine print.
3. Consider healthier alternatives to your bad food habits
Did you know that your body burns 70% of the calories it will be able to burn in a day by 7 pm? Yet, how many of us actually consume our largest meal of the day at or after just that time? This means that we are putting the most food into our body when our body is least likely to use it up properly. Instead, the unused calories end up being stored as fat. So, trying to eat the bulk of your calories before that 7 pm magic hour may be especially helpful if you are trying to maintain or lose weight.
In summer especially, we have a tendency to want snacks that can really pack on pounds without offering much nutritional benefit. Sundaes, anyone? But a truly healthy snack has a balance of healthy fats, fiber and protein. A handful of almonds provides all three. Try some almonds with a touch of organic coconut oil, and you just might believe you are eating an Almond Joy.
To curb your desire for sugary snacks, try fruit instead, but don’t forget to eat the skin when possible because this layer is often where a lot of the really healthy phytochemicals of the fruit belong, along with the fiber to offset the sugar content of the fruit. Be sure to know which fruits you want to buy organic, especially if you plan to eat the skin (apples are at the top of the “dirty dozen” list). Here’s a website to offer you more information on how to buy organic fruit wisely.
4. Consider eating right for your blood type
In the mid-1990’s, Dr. Peter D’Adamo put forth a theory about the ways in which different blood types process the foods we eat. His book, Eat Right for Your Blood Type, explains what makes bananas OK for people with blood type O but potentially reactive for people with blood type A.
Essentially, what D’Adamo proposes is that if we eat only the kinds of foods our body actually sees as food and not a foreign body trying to attack us, we will be more likely to feel and look our best. At Betsy’s, we have been helping customers understand and try the blood type diet for a variety of reasons for almost a decade. We would be happy to talk to you more about this approach to food during your next visit to our store.
5. Keep a food journal
These days, smart phones offer a variety of APPS to make tracking what you eat even easier, but writing down what you consume as a way to understand why you are gaining weight or to help you figure out what foods you may be allergic to has been a practice for centuries for good reason–it works!
When you have to write down everything you eat and drink, it naturally makes you more conscious of what you have done throughout the day. Often, this consciousness can help you avoid that extra helping of chicken at supper. It gives you the extra boost of willpower that is often missing when we are trying to improve our eating lifestyle. Also, these journals can help you record your reactions to the kinds of foods you are eating. You may just be able to pinpoint foods you want to start avoiding because your body doesn’t seem to like them.
Way of Life = Weigh of Life
If you’ll pardon the pun, how and what we eat are the habits of a lifetime. And habits can be changed. The healthier our eating lifestyle choices, the better we are bound to feel.
Using these common sense tips as a starting point, I encourage you to seek the advice of a professional nutritionist if you are really serious about creating a healthy eating lifestyle for you and your family.