In my wellness book “Better Being”, one of my chapters deals with the dangers of diets. Quite simply, restrictive diets do not work long term. What does work is eating whole foods in moderate amounts and combining with exercise.
I have put together an interactive tool with information that can help to shed that “extra you” by eating your way to the “better you”.
Please click on the image below or click here:
- Find easy recipes that incorporate a few fresh ingredients and ones that you love. If it is easy, then you will do it.
- Make changes to your eating habits over time as any extreme measures will likely not be successful or long term. Take baby steps daily, like adding a salad in daily or switching from butter or canola oil to coconut oil when cooking. Keep adding more healthy choices to your diet over time and you will get to a better you!
- Water makes up about 75% of our bodies and has a vital role in flushing out the waste and toxins. Ironically, many people live in a state of constant dehydration. Some of dehydration’s symptoms include headaches, low energy, irritability, food cravings, and tiredness. Opt for 8 glasses a day with a diet rich in fruit and veggies and soluble fibre that hydrates from the inside out!
- By eating a rainbow of colour for fruits and vegetables every day you will ensure higher concentrations of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
- Avoid simple carbohydrates like: anything white (white flour, refined sugar, white rice) as that have been stripped of all their good qualities of fibre and nutrients. They are called “simple” for a reason, as our bodies process them too quickly (as their more complex aspects have been depleted) and cause spikes in energy and blood sugar levels.
- It is important to eat breakfast along with smaller meals throughout the day. Your metabolism requires a jumpstart at the beginning of the day and small frequent snacks/meals will keep your energy levels high and metabolism going without risking blood sugar spikes. Frequent eating of smaller portions also reduces the chances for cravings.
- Understand that every choice you make that is a good one matters and makes a difference. You don’t have to be perfect, just be perfectly YOU!
- Understand that changing your diet towards healthier choices is a long term goal to feel good, increase your energy and reduce the risk of disease. Small steps count so keep it up!
- Opt for the complex carbohydrates that include: whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables. These are digested slowly which avoids blood sugar spikes and keeps insulin levels stable.
- Don’t ban foods. The minute you ban something is the minute you will crave them. Instead understand what impact such “bad choices” has on your body. That way, when you eat them you will be aware of the negative results and be less likely to make such choices. Know that sugar, sat and fat cravings can be a result of dehydration or the need for protein in your diet.
- Eat with others and make it a social event. Food is a social and emotional opportunity to bond and when sharing with others becomes the communally enriching. Eating meals together is an excellent habit for children to develop as well, and studies show children are less likely to be obese if they eat together as a family.
- Eating cheese? Opt for a strong flavoured one as you will eat less and get your ‘fix’.
- Don’t obsess about counting calories or measuring portion sizes. Instead, if you think of your food in terms of color, variety and freshness you will start to make healthier food choices.
- If you think of exercise as a food group in your diet that you have to have daily, you will start to make the time to get your workout in.
- Have a salad a day as a rule that will not be broken. Top with a healthy dressing that you make ahead one time a week and store in the fridge for easy access. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds or hempseeds for an even bigger boost of nutrition.
- Opt for high fiber sources, like whole grains. Fibre slows down your digestive process a which decreases the high and lows of insulin allowing your pancreas to take a well deserved break and helps your body to defend itself against cardio vascular disease and diabetes. Additionally, you feel fuller longer and have longer lasting energy.
- Dark green veggies are a great source of calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, zinc, and vitamins (like A, C, E and K). Dark green veggies can also help to strengthen the blood and respiratory systems. Be adventurous and try something different – experiment with different combinations.
- Take the time to chew your food and enjoy the taste and textures. You will eat less and enjoy more. Also, slow eating allows your body to decide if it is still hungry and acknowledges fact that your mind needs time to know when your body has had enough.
- Listen to what your body is telling you. Ask yourself if you are really hungry: you could instead just be dehydrated instead. Drink a glass of water, as you may not be hungry.
- Whole grains are also rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants to help protect against certain cancers. Studies show that eating whole grains builds healthier hearts.
- Avoid all canned fruit as it is usually soaked in sugary syrup. Also, dried fruit is often processed with chemicals and can be high in calories. Make sure you read the labels and ensure that the benefits of fruit are not being whittled away with the additions.
- Model healthy eating habits with your children. Eat at the table together and don’t eat in front of the TV or computer as overeating is the likely outcome.
- Whole grains are an important part of a healthy diet. For maximum results, include: amaranth, camalina, barley, whole wheat, brown rice, millet, and quinoa. Try out different grains and experiment with recipes for great fibre and protein.
- Smaller portions and eating every few hours is the way to do it… When dining out, choose the appetizer size instead of an entrée. Try to share dishes so you are less likely to overeat and don’t supersize anything. When home, use small plates and be aware of servings sizes.
- Opt for sweeter veggies rather than a sugary sweet dessert. Corn, carrots, beets, yams, and winter squash can be used in meals to give you the sweet boost your body craves in a healthy form.
- Stay balanced…try to ensure that on a daily basis you keep a good balance of carbohydrates in the form of fibre, protein, fat (polyunsaturated EFA’s), vitamins, and minerals to sustain a healthy body and mind.
- Stay away from refined grains such as breads, pastas, and breakfast cereals. They may say that they are made form whole grain, but be careful…they need to be unprocessed so stay away from any flakes or puffed cereals and instead opt for whole grain optionsDon’t overdose on protein: a serving of meat, fish or chicken should be the size of a deck of cards.
- Think about food as your prime source of nourishment rather than just something to mow-down in between errands. Take the time to eat, savour and enjoy.
- Shop locally whenever you can – make the trip a fun outing event. By buying from local farmers you are getting the freshest foods possible and supporting your local community. On-line resources can provide lists of local farms and farmers markets. Also, look into natural food co-ops or Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) group as these can be an excellent source of cheaper natural and organic food options.
- Fruit is an important part of a healthy eating routine. With tons of fibre, vitamins and antioxidants with a variety of tastes and textures, who can beat this tasty sweet treat? Berries are full of fibre and anti-oxidants so can help with cardio vascular disease and are cancer-fighting. Opt for the actual fruit over the juices as the fibre is an important part of fruits’ benefits.
- Avoid caffeinated beverages as they can deplete the body of water and can exacerbate feelings of fatigue and food cravings.
- A lot of companies try to trick you with a “whole grain” claim – the words “stone-ground, multi-grain, 100% wheat, or bran”, don’t necessarily mean that a product is in fact a whole grain – it could just have come form one and been overly processed after the fact. Instead, look for the words “whole grain” along with “germ added” or “100% whole wheat,” also, check the ingredients.
- Mix up your grains as a first step to transitioning to whole grains. Once you stabilize at a kind f bread or pasta then move on to the better choice until you have gone to the whole grain options. If you have been raised on white bread you need to take some time to transition to the richer and denser taste of the whole wheat and then whole, grain flavour. Start your transition by mixing what you normally use with the whole grains. Over time, you can gradually increase whole grains to 100% of your diet.