A Healthier Diet, A Healthier You
Better nutrition is the first step toward improving
your overall health, and it begins with eating fresh, whole foods—foods
in their natural state that have not been commercially processed.
This may sound simple, but making healthy choices has become
increasingly more difficult in today’s fast-food world.
Start by adding more high-fiber fruits, vegetables, legumes,
whole grains, nuts and seeds to your diet, and always pay attention
to how your food is prepared.
Meal planning and time management
are key components of adopting healthier eating habits. It helps
to first review your lifestyle and determine how you can integrate
more healthy foods into your daily meals. Try to plan meals for
one week prior to visiting the market, and when possible, plan
lunches for you and your family ahead of time. Ideally, meal
planning for the coming week should be done on the weekend or
on a day off. Selections should be written down for better organization
and planning, and grocery shopping should be a part of your weekly
Get into the habit of washing fruits and vegetables
thoroughly before storing them to save time during the week,
and if your weekly meal plan includes dining out, select only
those restaurants that offer healthy options. Discarding unhealthy
foods from your refrigerator and pantry is also an important
step toward following a healthier diet. Eliminate sugary foods
and beverages, as well as heavily processed snacks and pre-packaged
Choose fresh, whole foods as often
as possible, as they have not undergone any harsh procedures
meant to extend their shelf life or alter their flavor or appearance.
Such food processing techniques involve the application of heat,
which destroys beneficial digestive enzymes, as well as much-needed
vitamins and minerals.
Organically grown fruits and vegetables
are recommended when making the transition from processed foods
to whole foods. Such foods have not been treated with harmful
pesticides or herbicides which may lead to poor health if allowed
to accumulate in the body. Be sure to wash organic produce in
either hydrogen peroxide or a special vegetable wash solution
to avoid parasites. Organic meat and dairy products are also
recommended, since many farm animals today are treated with antibiotics
and hormones to accelerate the growth process.
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packaged grains, it is best to select those that are not refined.
Choose brown rice over white rice, and try adding some less familiar
but highly nourishing whole grains such as millet, buckwheat,
teff, quinoa, amaranth, spelt, bulgur wheat and barley. Many
of these are available in bulk form at your local supermarket
or natural food stores. Opt for organic grains whenever possible.
Finally, be sure to read labels
and avoid foods that contain artificial sweeteners, chemical
preservatives, and unhealthy fats such as partially hydrogenated
vegetable oil. This manmade oil, found in commercial peanut butter,
margarine and most baked goods, has been associated with numerous
health problems. A good thing to keep in mind when reviewing
your food labels is that if you can’t pronounce it, you
probably don’t need it. In other words, the simpler the
better—and better for you.
Easy Does It
When it comes to
making better choices about what you eat and drink, there’s
no time like the present, but that doesn’t mean you have
to completely alter your way of life starting today. Begin gradually
by replacing one or two unhealthy habits each week with smarter,
healthier choices, and pretty soon you’ll notice the difference
in the way you look and feel.