What is healthy eating?
As I’ve mentioned in our previous A Healthier Lifestyle post, your mindset is your most important tool if you want to live healthier. It all starts from the inside; once you have changed your mindset, you are set to implement healthier changes.
The first step is to remove all processed food from your diet. All foods that have been altered in any way usually contains additives, preservatives, colourants, flavourants, sugar and fats that we don’t need. I always say: eat less from a box, and more from the earth. Keep your foods as organic as possible. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, free range meat and unprocessed, natural grains. The problem is people think that eating healthy is boring. It’s not! Not only will your food taste fresher and better, but you will immediately feel a difference – you will become ‘lighter’ and more energetic. So, wherever possible, use fresh, organic ingredients in your meals. Here are just some of the many foods to guide you in the right direction:
Protein: a deficiency in protein leads to muscle atrophy, and impaired functioning of the human body in general. High protein foods include:
- Lean Meat
- Nuts and seeds
Healthy Fats: healthy fats have many important function as a nutrient. It is a concentrated source of energy and provides essential building blocks for the cells in the body. Fat is a carrier for fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and it contains essential fatty acids like omega 3 and omega 6. It also supports growth and development of the body, as well as the brain. Healthy fats can be found in the following foods:
- Olive Oil
Carbohydrates: Carbs provide energy for working muscles, provides fuel for the central nervous system, enables fat metabolism and prevents protein from being used as energy. People thing that eating carbs will make them fat. That is furthest from the truth – carbs are the body’s fuel, without it, it cannot function. Carbs feed the furnace of the body – enabling it to burn fat properly. The problem is the wrong carbs, as well as too much carbs in a diet. Here is a list of healthy sources of carbohydrates:
- Brown Rice
- Leafy Green Vegetables
- Sweet Potatoes
Try to stay away from refined carbs, like bread, bagels, biscuits, muffins, chips, sodas, cake, pastries, pancakes, baked goods and anything that contains high fructose corn syryp. During the refining process, these foods are stripped of B-vitamins, fiber and certain minerals. In addition, they also have a high glycemic index that negatively affects blood sugar levels. These foods are low in nutrients and have little to no nutritional value. They simply add onto your calories without adding any nutritional value. According to researchers at Yale University, bad carbohydrates such as sweets and biscuits cause drops in blood sugar, affecting the part of the brain that controls impulse. This leads to a loss of self-control and a desire for unhealthy, high-calorie foods. A diet high in calories contributes to weight gain, which increases the risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.
Bottom line; eat more from the earth and less from a box. Stay away from foods that have been altered by man in any way, as they usually contain ingredients that is of no nutritional value. Feed your body with nutritious, wholesome meals and you WILL see and feel a difference. And remember, a healthy diet and an active lifestyle goes hand in hand. The healthier you eat, the better you will feel and the better you feel, the better you will WANT to feel.
Check in next week for another segment on A Healthier Lifestyle, where I will elaborate more on calorie intake and how to work out your Total Daily Energy Expenditure and your Basal Metabolic Rate, which will help you work out how much food you need to consume every day to lose weight, maintain your weight, or gain weight.