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Eating is a Blessing and a Curse

Meg Solomon, ACE Certified PT and Health Coach

Mar 13,2019

The wonder of eating is the pleasure and enjoyment it brings. The struggle is what, how much, and when to eat. Information to support all possible combinations exists. Having to filter this information is the curse. Our ancestors didn’t have these struggles. There was a limit to the choices available and that is still the case in developing nations. However, in 1st world countries, the choices are endless.

This article continues with the theme of Simplifying Wellness, presenting general tips related to food consumption.

TIP #1 Think of your body as a shrine.

Think about your body as a sacred place. We only have one and it will respond to what we offer it. Everything we eat either provides it with energy, health, and wellness or with the potential to cause illness, fatigue, and the need for medical intervention. Why not go with the first option? Is it worth the cost of the latter if you never feel your best and you are spending a portion of your time, money, and energy in the medical system?

TIP #2 Buyer Beware

  1. Eat the rainbow; red, blue, orange, yellow, green, purple. The more colorful your plate of food, the more likely it is healthy.
  2. To help with #1, shop the perimeter of the grocery store. That’s where the healthy foods usually are.
  3. Avoid processed foods and simple sugars and starches. Simple sugars have pure sugar, honey, agave, or artificial sweeteners. The majority of carbohydrate intake should come from complex carbohydrates (starches) and naturally occurring sugars (fruit) rather than processed or refined sugars (https://medlineplus.gov/ency/imagepages/19534.htm).
  4. Complex sugars are in fruit. Fruit juice does not provide what whole fruit provides. Simple starches are those that have been processed, such as white rice and white flour. Whole grains and starches such as winter squashes, sweet potatoes, buckwheat groats, kamut etc., brown rice are better choices. The goal is to eat foods that are as close to their origin as possible. Every layer of processing removes some nutrients, e.g., Steel Cut oats vs Rolled Oats. IDEA #1

a. Give yourself a chance to like new foods. It takes time. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/comparatively-speaking/201810/understanding-what-makes-behavior-modification-work. If you are a yogurt eater, try plain yogurt with added cinnamon or fruit for sweetness. You may not immediately warm to the change but if you give it time, you usually will. Try one fruit or vegetable that is new to you this week and continue to eat it every few days or every week for a month. See if you can acquire a taste for it. At the same time, eliminate one food from your diet that has no nutritional value. Repeat this frequently to add a variety of fruits and veggies to your diet and to reduce or eliminate processed and nutritionally bankrupt foods. Do this one day at a time. The goal is not to impose restrictions but rather to engage in healthier behaviors that you can enjoy.

b. Read labels. If you are buying packaged foods, read the label. If it has a laundry list of ingredients, avoid it. Don’t even read it. Just put it back if it has more than 8 ingredients. Sugar should not be a top 5 ingredient. If you are buying frozen fruit or veggies, ensure there is nothing added.

c. Your plate should be ⅔ veggies and ⅓ everything else.

4. Be leary of any advertising claims on food packaging, TV, Social Media or Radio. Keep this in mind as a rule of thumb. Ignore these claims and instead focus on knowing the foods that add value to your health. That way you will know what to eat without reading the claims. Claims are highly misleading and should not be trusted.

5. Replace one animal protein you would normally consume with a plant-based protein,eg, legumes or beans. Give yourself time to adjust to this change. When it is comfortably part of your normal diet, repeat this with a second serving and so on until your diet contains as many plant proteins as animal proteins.

References

Fuhrman, Joel MD, Eat to Live, Little, Brown and Company, New York, NY, 2011.


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