At the beginning of each year, the media becomes saturated with all the information around“weight loss” or “getting fitter” and we all know lots of people in our lives whose new year’s resolution will be to become fitter and healthier. As a nutritional therapist, I would recommend that the best place to start, (if it is going to be a challenge), is simply.
Calorie counting is very useful if you have the time, but we can use an even simpler method to get you started. Just print this article and use when making your shopping list.
BUT FIRST Remember:
A. Eat WELL and nourish your body with the right foods.
B. Take daily exercise, for example, it can be as easy as walking for atleast 20 minutes or over.
C. Look after your mental health. Be social. Connect with people.
D. Take time out to relax and recharge.
The following tips are quite easy to follow, and will make a change very quickly:
- Have smaller portions on your plate. Overeating can stress the body and being overweight causes other health issues which can become chronic or even fatal. For example: diabetes or cadiovascular disease.
- My moto is “If it grows naturally, then it may be suitable for eating (obviously not the poisonous stuff).” This means, processed foods should be avoided at all times, especially those foods which have been highly refined. Cakes and biscuits tend to contain highly refined flour and sugar. Processed meats contain additives for preserving and retaining colour, and can cause health problems for those people who are sensitive to certain chemcials. Eat wholesome and natural foods.
- Take a bit of time to learn and understand how food is labelled in supermarkets. Processed foods which are packaged will have a very long list of ingredients, whereas basic natural food will contain very little other than the main food item. Pick fresh fruits, vegetables, fish and meats.
- To keep the digestive system in good working order, pick foods which are high in fibre. This would include vegetables, fruits and moderate amounts of whole grains. Your shopping list must always consist of these items.
- If possible buy organic food or food that has been grown without the use of fertilizers or pesticides. Buy food that is sourced locally from a farmers market, so that your local farmers are supported ; it is environmentally friendly with low carbon footprint and you will know exactly where the food has comes from.
- Wash all fresh fruits and vegetables to remove any sprayed chemicals. Definately avoid waxed fruits and vegetables.
- Drink plenty of fresh clean water. 2 litres of clean water per day is an approximate recommended amount . However, if it is warm day or if you have been exercising then you will need to increase the amount of water which your body needs. Naturally, your own body will indicate that it is thristy. The key word here is CLEAN. Where possible do not mix any cordials into the water, as often the mixes tend to have sweetners or other addivitves are not very benefical to anyone in relation to nutrition.
- Reduce total saturated fats in your diet. Increase monounsaturated fats in your diet, e.g. flaxseed oil. It is important that your body consumes essential fats each day, as they are needed by the body for several functions. Increase polyunsaturated fats, for example, fats which come from wild salmon contain polyunsaturated fats. Again, polyunsaturated fats help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Consume fish which has been sourced appropriately. Farmed fish contains high levels of anti-biotics, hormones or chemcial feed. If possible, try to eat wild fish which has gorwn in its own natural habitat.Consume meats which been sourced appropriately and eat organic or free-range animals.
- Minimize soft drinks or better still do not drink them at all. The high levels of phosphorus in soft drinks counteracts the calcium in the body and it can lead to problems with the musculosketal system. Soft drinks also contain very high levels of sugar which causes further harm to the body, including tooth decay.
- Avoid using aluminium or non-stick coated pans. Some research has indicated that aluminum can leach out from pans into the food which is being prepared in the pan, and the small amounts of aluminum builds up in the body when the food has been consumed. Research has indicated that there may be a link between aluminium poisoning and degenerative diseases.
- Rotate your foods. Try to eat a wide range of foods within a month. Rotaing foods helps to prevent allergies to certain food items. Eating the same foods only every 4 days can help to reduce the potential risk of developing an allergy towards that food. If you do react to any food, then it is best to elimiante that particular food for atleast one month, then reintroduce it slowly but only under guidance of your healthcare professional. Food can cause serious allergic reactiosn which can be very harmful and dangerous, or even fatal. Please consult your doctor if you suspect that you have a severe allergy to any food. Just remember that too much of one thing is not a good thing, even if it is healthy and natural. The body does not like over consumption of one particular type of food, hence the reason for the increased levels of allergies to wheat based products. Wheat has been over consumed within the western world and now , in clinic, I see clients who are not able to tolerate wheat.
- Eat simply and chew your food well before it goes to the stomach. Complex carbohydrates start the journey of being broken down in the mouth when mixed with saliva which contains salivary amylase (the enzyme which acts on the carbohydrates). Do not rush eating, even if you are pushed for time during a work day. Take time out to eat. The time that you take out (even if it is an undisturbed half an hour) will help you to recharge your brain, relax your body therefore, bringing your stress levels down . In turn, reducing stress levels can prevent the onset of certain chronic diseases.
- Occassionally fast or have a detox, to help celan out the system. Please take advice from a healthcare professional before making any lifestyle changes which can lead to serious illness.
- Finally, avoid genetically modified foods, at times the nutritional value of the food becomes compromised.