As I was reading an article today on blueberries, I had to laugh in spite of myself at how over-analytical we have become about nutrition. Yes, I know, I’m one of the ones doing the analyzing, but I also want you to understand that there is no ONE food, drink, supplement, medication or herb that will do the trick. It’s not magic. If you want to be healthier, feel better, look younger, and/or lose weight, all you have to do is the following:
Eat More Plants – Vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds contain the essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals you need to keep your body healthy. There is no special fruit or drink (read: acai, pom juice) that will bring rainbows and sunshine, just keep a variety of these foods in your diet and you’re good to go! Here is my favorite Kale Recipe, if your brave enough to try something new – it’s so yummy!
Eat Mostly Lean Protein – Try using plant food as your protein source more often. Good examples are almonds, walnuts, and other nuts, most types of beans (especially soy), and quinoa. In terms of animal protein, keep it lean: wild fish, chicken, and small amounts of lean red meat. Keep your serving size around 4-6 ounces.
Exercise – No, you don’t have to go to the gym. There are many other ways to keep your heart rate up and your muscles working. Here are some ideas: 5 Quick (& Fun?!) Workout Ideas! Don’t get me wrong, the gym is great, but doing it at home helps overcome a few obstacles that most people experience: time and money. All you need to do is 20+ minutes a day, 3-5 days a week. This, of course, varies from person to person and depends on health issues and goals… but it’s a great place to start.
Reduce Packaged Foods – When God made the world, He didn’t deliver it in plastic. Look at your food. If it looks like it did when it came out of the ground or off the tree, you’re doing well. If it doesn’t, and it came in a package, there are most likely all kinds of sneaky not-so-good for you ingredients there. Most packaged foods have all kinds of additives, chemicals, and unnecessary ingredients lurking about. The best way to avoid this is to avoid packaged food. The other way to get around it is to become a pro at reading ingredients lists. If you can’t pronounce it, or you wouldn’t put it on your skin, why would you eat it? – food for thought.
Be Aware of Your Portions – The all-you-can-eat meal is very economical, but your body hates it. Excess calories get stored as fat, and that fat can cause all kinds of problems beyond the aesthetic kind. To reduce your portions, start using a smaller plate. Fill it up once, drink a glass or two of water. Wait 15 minutes. If you are still hungry, go back for seconds. 3-4 fists worth of food is plenty for most human beings. If you are an Olympic athlete, call me and we’ll talk.
Drink Mostly Water – Water makes the world go ’round… that may be inaccurate, but it does keep your body functioning properly and it flushes out the undesirables. To read a bit more about the wonderfulness of water, click here. It is best to drink at least half your weight in ounces a day (150lbs = 75 oz). The juices, coffee and tea are fine, even good, when kept at a minimum. Soda should be poured down the drain unless it is one of the indulgences you just can’t live without. In that case, aim to limit soda to a few times per week max.
So, that’s it. My magic trick is finished. Did you figure it out? It’s lifestyle changes that make the difference. Permanent habits, consistency, and healthy choices are what will lead you to the healthiest and most vibrant you. If these seem far out of reach, just start small. One step at a time will get you there faster than trying to do it all at once. Doing it all at once leads to overwhelm and throwing in the towel. Baby steps are better. You can do it!