“I know when people are eating poorly. You can see by three in the afternoon their energy levels drop drastically after lunch”.
Deborah, Senior Level Manager
A healthy diet means different things to different people. A healthy diet for a toddler will not be the same as for a cancer patient. Sixteen year old teens require different foods than someone suffering from a heart condition.
So what is a healthy diet? A healthy diet is exactly that – one which will keep you healthier for longer. It makes sense that what you put into your body really affects how your body functions. So give it quality fuel, and get quality performance.
As they say, “Proof is in the pudding”.
Some Benefits of a Healthy Diet
It will help with weight control. Eating well will help to maintain your weight at a sensible, balanced level much more effectively than getting into the cycle of repeated dieting, skipping meals and subsequent weight gain.
Increase your energy levels. As you start changing your diet to become healthier, the likelihood is that you’ll also start finding yourself with much more energy. Whilst eating a lot of processed or high-fat food can leave you feeling sluggish or bloated, eating a more balanced diet will leave you ready to go. Take up a sport or head to the gym, and use all that energy productively!
Feel good, look good. Eating well, exercising and keeping your body in tip-top condition will not just make you feel better, but you’ll look better too.
Tell Tale Signs of a Poor Diet
On the other hand if you are not eating well you may be feeling some of the following symptoms:
Sluggishness During the Day
Drowsiness After Meals
Lower Back Pain
Frequent Colds and Flu
Main Obstacles to a Healthy Diet
In our rushed, urbanized environment we usually reach out for the most convenient food source available. “We’re running from early in the morning until late at night with activities and our kids’ activities. We are a time-starved society. We grab high-calorie, low-nutrient dense foods on the run that merely fill our stomachs. We’re relying on a lot of these convenience foods.” Winnipeg, Canada mother.
A Canadian Community Health Survey in 2004 found as much as 25 per cent of daily caloric intake came from “other foods,” such as high-fat snack foods.
Once we develop a liking for sugar rich and fat rich foods it is very difficult to break the desire to take more of them—especially since they taste so good! Unfortunately food can become just as addictive as drugs, alcohol or tobacco and the explosion of modern diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke bear out this fact.
It can sometimes be a matter of not knowing what constitutes a healthy diet. If you compare the $800 million that McDonald’s spend annually to promote their brand to the $1 million spent by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to promote the eating of fruits and vegetables it can be easily seen why people may not be well informed about what constitutes a healthy diet.
What is Healthy Food?
“Health food: any food whose flavor is indistinguishable from that of the package in which it is sold”.
Eating a lot of fruit and vegetables is a great start, but you’ll be pleased to know that a healthy diet isn’t all salads and carrots!
Eating plenty of vegetables and keeping well-hydrated will very rapidly improve your skin tone, as well as giving that indescribable ‘inner glow’ which comes only from good health. The vitamin C you’ll be taking in through your increased levels of fresh fruit and vegetables will be hard at work, boosting your immune system and helping you to form collagen – a vital part of keeping your skin in good condition, and fighting the appearance of wrinkles.
Where Can I Get Healthy Food?
There are still numerous outdoor markets and large fruit and vegetable sellers where plenty of fresh produce is readily available
Healthy Eating Habits
While it’s important to keep a balanced diet of grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy, meats and oils it is equally important to follow certain habits that enhance the health effects of our diet.
Choose foods which are simple, light and natural. That makes them easier to digest, assimilate and bio available for your all round energy needs.
Avoid foods which are too hot, too cold or too spicy. You don’t want to make your digestive organs upset by the quality of food you feed them!
Here’s an easy tip to remember: avoid food that is too boiled, too oiled or spoiled!
As far as possible reduce your intake of processed, instant and fast food since they are usually lacking in the vital energy found in living foods.
Try to have at least a three to four hour time gap in between meals: this allows the food to be thoroughly digested and makes us ready for the next meal.
Eat an early dinner. A good habit that will prevent the occurrence of bad dreams, sluggish morning wake ups and especially recommended for people with asthma or weak lungs.
Try not to eat too many items in the same meal. The digestive organs will become overworked. Heart burn, belching and dizziness may appear due to the body’s inability to digest the large variety of items. As a rule of thumb no more than 4 different items should comprise a meal.
Eat moderately. As the saying goes, “Eat to live, not live to eat”. A good rule of thumb is: “1/2 food, ¼ liquid and ¼ air”. Constant over eating is a contributing cause of illness. A great way to control our food greed is by sharing it with others-a wonderful habit found in many cultures around the world.
Eat with Friends. Eating in a happy mood with friends or family will ensure that the food is well digested and its components readily available for the body’s requirements.
With A Peaceful Frame of Mind: if we eat when angry, upset or depressed the effect will be harmful for the body and mind. The acidic gastric juices will be imbalanced and that food does not become a source of nutrition.
Sit comfortably: eating while walking, running, staring at the computer screen or talking excitedly on your smartphone will all impinge upon the joyful experience that eating should be. The less sensorial input there is while eating the more contented our mind and stomach will be.
So there are many components that combine together to create a healthy diet. Quality of food, quantity, varieties, our own moods, the company we keep while eating and food timing are all important factors in ensuring that the fuel that gets put into our body-mind complexes are well utilized and provide us the high quality energy we need to function at our optimal level. Bon appétit!