Updated: Apr 5, 2019
You will be able to ward off illnesses because your immune system is functioning properly. You will sleep well. You will feel balanced. You will enjoy life. As goes the old adage, you are what you eat. What you put in your body is reflected on the outside, on your skin and hair and nails. More importantly, what you consume can either strengthen or destroy your body, from the inside out. “The food you eat can either be the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.”
When you finally make the decision to get healthy, you have to start somewhere. But what should you believe? Time after time fad diets fail. They come out strong but fall short at consistent weight loss. In addition, these get-thin-fast concepts don’t often include essential vitamins and minerals. Decide to take pride in yourself and your nutrition, and enjoy eating right. It is more expensive to buy healthy, natural food, but by doing so you might eat less. Yes, processed and refined foods are inexpensive and convenient, but they come with a higher price than you think. I encourage you to move the grocery bill up on your financial priority list. Optimal nutrition is essential for healthy function with age, and you can’t put a price tag on that.
There are so many pitfalls on the road to good nutrition in our society. Nearly every social gathering involves food, often of the high-fat, high-sugar variety. These basic nutrition tips are designed to help you take those first steps toward a healthier, happier way of living. Start here. Start today. ”To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.”
Avoid overeating: Focus on finding a balance of hunger and fullness as you eat. Stop eating when you are no longer hungry, not just when you are full. Remember all the times you ate until you were uncomfortable. How did that make you feel? You probably felt guilty, and certainly had some degree of abdominal discomfort. Be mindful that every time you eat those extra bites, they are not going to make you feel better. They will probably make you feel worse.
Think like a caveman: Food is energy for your body. Nothing more, nothing less. Think about your food before you eat: “Why am I eating this?” “Do I really need this?” This will help you focus on eating enough to keep you moving, and choosing foods that will give you prolonged energy. Remember, sugar is one of the worst things for your body. It provides instant glucose to your system resulting in immediate energy. A short time afterward, the glucose is gone and your body is back to craving cheap sources of energy, like more sugar. The end result is insulin release in response to that meal promoting fatigue and brain fogginess. Eat naturally: Focus on things that come from the earth, not a factory. The best advice is, when shopping at the grocery store, stay along the outside walls where you find fruits, vegetables, and beans. All of these occur naturally. This helps keep those processed foods and sugar-packed snacks, all of which will kill your metabolism, out of the cart. Also, leave the white potatoes behind. This vegetable contains an awful lot of starch that your body converts to sugar almost immediately with little work.
No chemical toxins: Avoid artificial sweeteners (especially Splenda). These are most often consumed in Crystal Light, diet sodas and “sugar-free” products. Think of them as toxins (because they are) that slow down your body’s metabolism. Drink plenty of water.
Control portion size: Use small coffee mugs to eat your cereal in the morning. Get rid of all the large plates and cups in your house and only eat with the smaller or children’s sizes. Eat slowly, being certain to chew your food thoroughly before swallowing. Try to eat slower than the slowest eater at the table. If you go to a restaurant, split a meal with your partner, or once your portion is delivered, cut it in half and have the waiter box up half of the dish for another meal.
Take your time: Good nutrition is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t make the mistake of trying to change everything overnight. It took your entire life to adopt your current nutrition habits, expect it to take some time to change them. After two weeks of a consistent change, you have made it a habit. Pick two or three of these tips to start. Each week review how you have done and evaluate the areas that need improvement. During this review, plan on making an additional change to your nutrition.
This post was contributed by Dr. Deepa Verma.