I’m often surprised at the number of diets on the market and the fact that new diets are continually being invented to sell to consumers. Most people have tried more than one diet. Some people I’m sure have tried every diet on the market! However, what I have noticed is that there are some key principles that are aligned across all diets on the market that talk about healthy eating. This post is to share the insights that the dieting marketers of healthy eating do not want you to know, but also to share with you the key ingredient that most people miss out on. This key ingredient is essential for success when it comes to healthy eating.
To live a happy and healthy life, your diet plays a crucial role. The common saying goes ‘you are what you eat’ and I do believe in this. What you eat obviously goes inside your body and therefore affects your internal organs and the chemical interactions that take place. What you eat can affect how you feel and ultimately influence your thoughts, your decisions and your behaviour. What you eat also affects how your internal organs operate and therefore affects their healthiness and longevity. Healthy eating helps you to ensure your internal organs are being cared for, that they are processing foods effectively and efficiently, and ultimately, healthy eating makes you feel better and helps you perform better in life!
So what are the key themes when it comes to healthy eating and dieting and ensuring you have an optimum, healthy body and mind? I’m sure you already know! It is simply what is reinforced through most magazines, internet articles, tv shows, your friends, your family, everywhere!
Eat Plenty of Plant Foods
Pretty simple, right? Nature knows best! Anything that comes from the ground is pretty good for us. Fruits and vegetables are a given. We all know that these are great for us, so why not eat more! Breads, cereals, rice and pasta come from grains like wheat, oats, rice, rye, barley, millet and corn, all of which are good for us. The important thing here which stumbles a lot of people, is the choice within these food groups. Wholemeal or wholegrain choices are the way to go, providing more fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Eat Moderate Amounts of Animal Foods
Animal foods, such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, milk, yoghurt and cheese should all be eaten in moderation. Nuts and seeds are also usually known to be in this food group. The foods in this group provide great sources of protein, iron niacin and vitamin B12. Red meats are a particularly good source of iron and zinc. Generally speaking, red meats should be eaten roughly 3-4 times per week, otherwise you may experience iron deficiencies which can have significant affects to your overall health and wellbeing. A key to this food segment is to ensure that you choose lean meats with little fat and rarely eat processed meats such as sausages.
Milk, yoghurt and cheese is an excellent source of calcium. They are also good sources of protein, riboflavin and vitamin B12. These foods do usually come with higher portions of fat, so the key to this food segment is to choose the low-fat varieties of each!
- Nuts & Seeds
Eat Small Amounts of Fats and Oils
When it comes to healthy eating, fats and oils are not normally on the agenda. Fats and oils are still fine to eat, however what you may not realise is that most foods already have fats and oils in them! On most occasions, there is no need to eat any additional fats or oils. Adding some unsaturated fats to your diet such as olive oil and avocados can have positive effects, such as lowering cholesterol levels, however this should be done in small amounts only.
- Nuts & Seeds
- Olive Oil
Stay Off the Processed Foods
Notice that those above are mostly straight from what Mother Earth provided us? We are genetically made to eat those foods! Humans have been eating plants and animals for millions of years, and I think us humans have turned out pretty well! What has happened in the last century however? Processed foods have been flooding the markets. What has been the result? The obesity epidemic! Simply put, processed foods have all kinds of additional fats, sugars and preservatives added to them to keep longer and taste better. However, eating Big Macs and drinking Coca-Cola everyday is NOT going to have any positive effect on your health.
Eat With Variety
Eating a large variety of foods has a positive effect on our health. If we continue to eat the same fruits, vegetables and other foods over and over on a daily basis, we miss out on the nutrients and benefits that the other fruits, vegetables and other food can offer! Ensuring you mix up your diet on a daily, weekly, and even monthly basis depending on the time of the year, can have great, positive effects on your health.
Watch Your Alcohol Intake
Definitely one of the harder ones for many people! Alcohol is great every now and then, but if you’re having it on a regular basis you may want to reconsider. Drinking alcohol has a wide-range of negative effects on a person’s health, both immediately and also long-term. Red wine is commonly known to have some health benefits, however, this is purely in moderation. The key here is to ensure you are not drinking heavily or too regularly to have any lasting damage on your health.
Drink Lots of Water
When the human body is made up of 60% water, there is no doubt that drinking plenty of this stuff is good for your health! The typical saying goes that we need to drink 8 glasses of water per day. If you’re doing physical activity or you are in hot weather, you will need to drink more water. What most people do not realise however, is that all fluids, other than alcoholic drinks, actually contribute to this tally. If you’re thirsty or even hungry, have a glass of water and feel the benefits!
The Key Ingredient!
The problem that most people face, however, is that these principles of healthy eating need to be followed up by a very special, key ingredient. What is this ingredient?
The most crucial ingredient for healthy eating is the ingredient of commitment and discipline.
After reading the above, I am sure you are saying to yourself “I already knew that!”. But how well do you actually follow the discipline of healthy eating? If you are on the journey of Happiness, you know that healthy habits are essential for helping you feel it! Your life is full of choices, including the choice of food that you eat! What do you have in your pantry and fridge? Healthy products I hope! Why even shop for anything else? When you’re on the road for a day out and hungry for lunch, do you go for a cheeseburger, or do you go for the chicken sandwich? The options are always there and you always have the choice. Your commitment and discipline behind choosing the right foods, daily, is essential for healthy eating and living a healthy life.
Remember, the above information is for those that are living a regular, healthy life. If you’re working towards a particular goal where you need to change your regular diet, such as body building or losing weight, I encourage you to see a dietician.
For the Comments
Do you find it hard to eat healthy? What’s your favourite healthy food to eat? Do you feel a difference from when you’re eating healthy to when you’re not?