Updated: Oct 20, 2022
“What should I eat?
What is the best diet for me?
Keto versus vegan?
It's all so confusing.
The Truth About Eating Habits
Every day we are all bombarded with advertisements for food. It is everywhere we look and those "impressions" are inescapable. Those images drive our decisions but also confuse us so that it is near impossible to develop healthy eating habits.
Let's start with the basics. To do this, we must first understand that there are billions of chemical reactions occurring in your body every second all requiring nutrients. These nutrients are the building blocks and the fuel sources of these many reactions. You need protein, fats, carbohydrates (macronutrients) and trace minerals to run all of them. Once you consume food it is broken down and eventually gets into your nuclear power plant found within your cells called the mitochondria. This is where you break down these products into energy called ATP (Adenosine triphosphate). The reactions to break down those macronutrients require 21 different types of vitamins and minerals. Just from this very brief description you can see how important it is to get whole nutrition, meaning a variety of different foods to make your body run more efficiently.
In another blog I will explore the different styles of eating. For now, I will concentrate on the HABIT of eating well. You need a variety of foods to get the most out of your body and to run the systems to do everything you want during the day. The problem is choice. There are so many choices. Some people try starvation (intermittent fasting) which should really be called "skip a meal" since what you really need to do is decrease your total daily calories and not just shove everything you want into a shorter period.
Basically, there are a few points to start (and they are simple):
Eat more vegetables- yes you need several servings each day
Eat healthy fats which are unsaturated. Avoid trans-fat when possible
Eat more fiber, whole grains
Eat fresh fruit when available
Reduce sodium, but if you use salt use iodized salt
If you have animal proteins try fish or lean cuts of other meats. (I am not suggesting that you eat meats- but I know most people do).
Perform a 5-day calorie count using one of the many Apps available. This will help you understand what you are doing, how many calories you are getting and where you might find room to improve.
How do you develop a habit?
Set a goal and make it simple (select one thing at a time)
Make a commitment that you will do this for at least one month
Tie the habit into something you are already doing
Be kind to yourself -Here I want you to focus on what you are doing RIGHT and not what you are not doing
Give yourself rewards for positive behavior or when you reach one of your milestones
Have a positive mindset
Realize that there are good days and, well days that are not so good. That is normal. Keep moving forward
Smile. Yes, smile and tell yourself that you are going to reach your goal.
Here is a good review from the CDC (centers for disease control) discussing Improving Eating Habits
One more link to an article that is quite interesting and worth a few moments of your time: "25 Simple Tips to Make Your Diet Healthier"
Try some of these tips and let us know what else you might like to learn about.