Friday, June 10, 2011

In With the New! 3 Tips to Positively Changing Your Diet

In with the New! 3 Tips to Positively Changing Your Diet

Your body needs regular doses of nutrients throughout the day which you supply through the food you eat. These nutrients are used by your body as building blocks for cellular growth and tissue repair and also to fuel all your daily activities—including brain activities such as thinking. The higher the quality of nutrients you consume, the better off you will be. You likely take care to put high quality fuel into your vehicle, realizing better fuel equates with better vehicular performance. Your body functions along this same principle, if you want to look better, feel better, and function better—one of the most important ways you can do that is to eat better quality food.

Most diet programs are viewed, and intended, as a temporary state—you go on the diet to lose weight then, once you’ve lost the weight, you go off the diet and resume your normal eating patterns. If you have gone through this cycle even once, you know what often happens once you go off the diet; all the weight you’ve lost starts to come back!

In contrast, lifestyle changes are viewed, and intended, as permanent—you take time to learn about healthy food options and how to incorporate them into your daily diet with the intention of changing your eating habits for good. Weight lost this way stays off because you’ve changed what you eat and the way you think about food.

I’ve found the most effective way to make permanent dietary changes is to focus on the positive. When you focus on eating a wide variety of nutritionally packed foods daily—you end up eating fewer unhealthy foods by default. This approach is easier to stick to and more enjoyable than restrictive diet programs; it can be fun to try out new foods and add them to your meals and snacks. Healthier foods also tend to make you feel better, which makes this approach remain successful over time. The more you learn about healthy food options, the more foods you want to try and the better you begin to feel. That often makes you want to learn and try more.

Below are 3 tips to help you get started with changing your diet. Keep in mind every person is unique and this uniqueness extends to the kinds of food we like to eat. I believe there is a healthy diet out there for everyone. The vast array of nutritionally packed foods available to choose from allows even the most particular eater to find a diet that works. As you make changes, be sure to select healthy foods you like, and steer clear of the foods you don’t.

(One important note about changing your diet: If you suffer from illnesses related to your digestive tract, or you have food allergies, it may be necessary for you to consult your doctor to get guidelines regarding foods you need to avoid. The last thing you want to do when making healthy lifestyle changes is worsen an existing condition.)


Tip 1. Choose Fresh: Fresh fruits and vegetables contain important micronutrients and enzymes critical to myriad cellular functions that occur in your body daily. You may have heard eating a lot of fresh fruits and vegetable improves the quality of your skin. This same improvement occurs with your inside skin too, such as the lining of your alimentary canal, your lungs, and your blood vessels. Eating a broad variety of fresh fruits and vegetables daily will nourish all your tissues and cells.

If you have difficulty digesting fresh veggies, try lightly steaming them. This preserves a lot of the vitamins and nutrients, but allows the plant cellulose to be broken down to make it more easily digested.

For a quick tip on how to incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables into your daily diet, check out my sister’s vegetarian blog here: http://intuitivevegetarian.blogspot.com/2011/05/shake-it-baby.html


Tip 2: Choose Whole: White flour has the same effect on your blood sugar as straight glucose and white rice has a similar effect. In addition, processed grains lack the vitamins, minerals, and fiber found in their whole counterparts so they’re more accurately categorized in the junk food column. If you’re going to have a treat, then white flour products may be appropriate, but for top quality daily nutrition, opt for whole wheat bread and pasta products and whole grain brown rice. There are also numerous whole grains that are not as common such as quinoa, millet, barley, and rye. If you’re feeling adventurous, try a few of these less common grains; you may find some you really like.

For a quick cooking guide for whole grains, go here: http://www.lesliebeck.com/page.php?id=2309&type=art

Tip 3: Choose Lean: Protein is a key component of muscle building and tissue repair. It is also important in maintaining your blood sugar. The most common sources of protein come from meat and dairy. These animal sources of protein also contain high amounts of saturated fat. Your body has little nutritional need for saturated fat because you produce and store it easily (a fact you are likely already familiar with). This gives the proteins from animal products a high ‘fat’ price tag. To keep the protein, but minimize your consumption of saturated fat, look for leaner versions of the meat and dairy products you like. And don’t forget about beans for protein. Beans have negligible fat and, when combined with whole grains, make a nutrient packed protein and carbohydrate combo—a top quality food.

In contrast to the saturated fat found in animal products, plant based fats such as those found naturally in nuts and seeds, canola oil, olive oil, and also the oils found in fish are actually good for you. Not readily stored like saturated fat, they are utilized by your body for a number of vital functions. Regular consumption of these fats make you healthier. Begin to familiarize yourself with the amount and types of fat found in what you eat regularly, then look for ways to include more healthy fats in your daily diet.

For more information on healthy fats and oils, go here:
http://www.med.umich.edu/umim/food-pyramid/fats.htm

For good sources of lean protein, go here:
http://www.livestrong.com/article/389303-the-best-lean-protein/

1 comment:

  1. I love this concept of ADDING nutrient rich foods to your diet instead of simply eliminating. It essentially pushes out the bad characters by experimenting with new, healthly foods and then it's easy because you get to just eat the healthy foods you like! I completely agree that the spectrum of nutrient rich food is broad enough to accommodate any palate. Never mind the endless flavor combinations a handful of good ingredients can afford.

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