Like many I am on a continuous journey seeking overall health and wellness. For a “foodie” such as myself that can sometimes be difficult. I love food-especially good food. I love to grocery shop (weird I know), I love to cook and I love to share food and fellowship with others. But I also want to be healthy. So how do I balance that?
There is a lot of conflicting information out there about what constitutes good nutrition. Low carb, low fat, juicing, calorie restriction, calorie loading…..it’s enough to make even the best fitness buff question what’s best. But the longer I’m on this journey and try to educate myself, a few common guidelines have emerged to me:
1. Simple is best. Think “closest to natural state,” as in whole fruit, nuts, seeds, fresh vegetables and lean meat (if you eat meat). This is a HUGE thing to grasp and fully implement into your daily life, but if you can master it, I truly believe you won’t have to worry about the food/nutritional aspect of wellness. How is that possible? By eating mainly natural foods you will have essentially eliminated processed foods from your diet-aka excess sugar, salt and chemicals. If you are not sure what constitutes a processed food, think in terms of this – any food that has been changed from its original state. That, of course, can vary greatly in terms of how processed a food is. What I suggest is try to keep your food choices to as least processed as possible. Look for few ingredients and be able to understand what they are.
To take it a step further, certified organic is best when considering whole foods. However, not everyone can afford that. So however you shop, always try to keep the concept of, “closest to natural state,” in mind and you will be headed in the right direction.
2. You need variety. There are some people who can live eating the exact same thing all the time. I am not one. I don’t do well on restriction diets and get quite cranky when I’ve tried to sustain myself with just protein shakes, grilled chicken and salad. It’s not pretty. So needless to say my family and I have learned the importance of variety.
I know how easy it is to get into a food rut so let me encourage you to use available resources. I always turn to the internet and my cookbooks when meal planning. Did you hear that? USE those cookbooks you have collected! If you take the time to meal plan as I’ve suggested in earlier posts adding variety won’t be too difficult. Your body and your family will thank you for it.
I realize that all this is a lot easier said than done. We all have our food weaknesses including me. To this day it’s still hard for me to go to the grocery or even a gas station and not walk out with a bag of hot fries or jalapeño chips. As well, life is busy and you think, “I barely have time to cook now so how am I going to take the time to meal plan?” The answer is….practice and persistence.
What we have discussed today is a change in behavior and that rarely comes quickly or easily. But each day at each meal and every time we grocery shop, we have the opportunity to make a healthy choice. Keep these principles in mind and be patient with yourself. Don’t give up completely when you make a mistake, because you WILL make mistakes along the way. Keep making better food choices and you will find the more good food decisions you make, the easier it becomes. I’m right there with you, still learning and struggling so don’t think you are alone. I’ll keep you posted with my progress and what I learn along the way and we can continue to help each other out. I’d love to hear about your journey as well.
Have a great week!