May 11, 2021
The term “healthy diet” is a rather vague concept that carries negative connotations for people who equate eating right with uninspired meals. Who would want to follow a diet like that? I sure wouldn’t.
Thankfully, the terms “healthy” and “delicious” are not mutually exclusive. In fact, nature makes it possible to create a mouth-watering healthy diet that is easy to follow because it tastes good and leaves you feeling satisfied.
A healthy diet is low in saturated fat, processed foods, and refined sugars, with enough protein and fiber to keep you satisfied. The 80/20 rule applies here. If you choose wisely 80 percent of the time, you will be fine. Let go of the other 20 percent. The more often you can be in the right path with your nutrition, the better, but don’t beat yourself up over choosing less healthy foods or over-indulging.
Shopping around the outside of the grocery store is generally where you’ll find the healthier, fresher foods. Processed foods are in the inner aisles of the grocery store. As you walk up and down the aisles, notice how many foods can sit there for a long time without spoiling. These foods are most likely filled with chemicals and preservatives to extend their shelf life. Avoid these as much as possible.
Most people realize that going to a fast-food restaurant on a regular basis is not the healthiest diet; however, pre-made foods like canned and boxed foods, and frozen dinners are primarily processed foods, too. Those aren’t good for you either. I urge you to check out how many chemicals you are getting with these foods.
Keeping processed foods to a minimum is a good guideline. I often say, “If God made it, eat it; if not, maybe you shouldn’t.” If you can buy or grow organic foods, that’s even better.
Another goal is to decrease the amount of trans-fatty acids in your diet. These are items such as fried food, bakery, chips and cookies. Trans-fats increase inflammation and are just not good for us. Look for zero trans-fats on the label before you buy it.
Omega-3 fatty acids protect your heart and brain. You can get omega-3s from cold-water fish, like salmon, or flax seed oil. Anything that protects your brain will help you think and feel better.
Balancing protein, carbohydrates, and fats throughout the day stabilizes your blood sugar and keeps you satisfied longer. Fluctuations in your blood sugar throughout the day may cause you to feel fatigued, weak, or worsen physical and emotional pain issues. Eat foods that nourish you and help maintain a stable blood sugar.
Our body naturally wants balance. A stable blood sugar is about 80 to 140 mg/dL. Your body may react to any changes you make to your diet in an attempt to maintain that balance. Spikes that raise your blood sugar cause your pancreas to produce/release more insulin. The release of insulin causes your blood sugar to fall. The adrenal glands, which are small glands above your kidneys, release cortisol when your blood sugar is low to increase the blood sugar back to normal.
Cortisol, referred to as the stress hormone, is something you want to minimize. Too much cortisol hinders digestion and metabolism, increases blood pressure, decreases your immune response, and causes stomach disorders and even weight gain.
Eating a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables is a good idea. I always tell people to eat in Technicolor. Most beige, brown, and white foods are not good for us, with the rare exception being cauliflower. There is much more nutritional value in blueberries, the red and orange foods, and the dark, leafy green vegetables.
Eating enough, but not too much protein to keep you satisfied from meal to meal is helpful as well. For example, an average portion should be about the size of a deck of cards.
Notice what you are putting into your mouth. Are they healthy foods for the most part or can you make some changes? You may even want to track what you eat and keep a diary for a week or two. You might be surprised!
CLICK HERE if you are looking to choose healthier foods, check out my guided meditation audio.