Healthy Living Begins With Proper Nutrition
For years, nutrition has been a key point discussed at both home and in the classroom. We were instructed about the food pyramid, eating plenty of grains, getting lots of calcium, and various other talking points drilled into our consciousness. Now food science is evolving to a point where we realize a lot of the information from the last 50 years has been in part from highly subsidized agriculture. It’s becoming apparent that a very high intake of grains and refined carbohydrate in general – as encouraged by the old guidelines of nutrition – is not healthy. Gluten sensitivity is receiving a lot of attention as a cause for many chronic ailments, and it’s the primary protein found in wheat and other grains. Too much carbohydrate intake, particularly when paired with fat, leads to stored fat, systemic inflammation, and eventually to metabolic disorders like diabetes. Similarly, daily recommended allowances of dietary supplements like vitamins like D have been found to be woefully under human needs. Nutrition keeps evolving, and so must our understanding.
Focusing On Fresh and Eating Organic
Being healthy and losing weight are both so heavily dependent on diet, but knowing where to start is a problem for a lot of people. Marketed, processed foods are advertised as being “low fat” or “diet”, and we think this means healthy, but the reality is that the more processing food undergoes, the more it serves to make it less healthy. In simpler terms, eating whole foods is best, and if that’s not an option, choose something with minimal processing. For instance, fresh green beans are best, but canned or frozen are fine choices, too, and you should avoid green bean casserole, as it’s loaded with sodium, preservatives, and other unhealthy things. Things to consider making more prominent in your diet:
- Organic, whole fruits and vegetables
- Grass fed meats
- Wild caught fish
- Nuts and seeds for healthy snacks
Processed Alternatives Are Actually More Harmful
For years, food scientists were telling Americans and the world that foods full of saturated fats and cholesterol were bad for them. This prompted a backlash, and things like margarine replaced fat, low-fat baked goods filled the store shelves, and sugary processed meal replacement shakes and bars became rampant. We’ve found out recently that these things are terrible for you, as removing fat from a food usually means replacing it with sugar. In addition, margarine is full of trans fat, the worst type of fat molecule you can eat, which has a direct link to heart disease. Contrary to the bad science of the last 50 years, fat isn’t the enemy. It revs the metabolism, keeps us satiated and fuller for longer, and pads cells and the brain, making them more resilient. Some sources of healthy fats include:
- Butter or Ghee (clarified butter)
- Coconut oil
- Nut and seed oil
Avoiding processed vegetable oils is another good step, as at high heats they can become unstable and inflammatory.
Sugar is Everywhere
One of the worst aspects of processed food is the fact that cheap, addictive sugar is in everything. Switching to fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats will help you cut that fattening, hidden sugar out of your diet for good, helping you regain clear skin, balanced moods, and lose weight. Vegetarian and vegan diets are especially great for this, as you are required to be more mindful of what you’re eating. A plant-based, whole foods diet is possibly the healthiest way of eating there is.
In short, always choose unadulterated foods if possible. You don’t need grains (and there are a lot of gluten free options out there), sugar is unhealthy in large amounts, and processing almost always serves to make food dangerous. Eat like your grandparents – from a garden, or from a farm!