(Originally Published in Biscayne Boulevard Times. November 2004)
Do you struggle with deciding what foods are best to eat? Do you have difficulty making decisions about what to prepare at home or what to order in a restaurant? Do you get conflicting information from friends, family, the media and health professionals about diet and nutrition? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are not alone. Many people are confused about how maintain a healthy diet without spending too much time or effort researching, selecting, preparing and ordering food.
My personal commitment to a healthy diet began 12 months ago when I visited a nutritionist and had a full evaluation of my eating habits. This procedure included a detailed questionnaire, a diet log and several tests including hair analysis, blood analysis and urine analysis. Following the interpretation of my tests, I was educated about what my body needs to reach optimum health and given a detailed prescription for food, supplements and eating habits.
There has been huge transformation in my body and my life since I committed to following a healthy diet specifically designed for me. I have more energy and clarity, and fewer headaches, stomachaches and other annoying symptoms. In the following table, I will share with you some of the things that I learned. Before starting a new diet, speak with your physician and have an evaluation with your nutritionist.
|Instead of This….||Try This….|
|Sugar in the form of sweets, candy, sugar drinks and pastries.||Fresh Fruit especially grapefruit enhances the absorption of everything we eat and also increases the effectiveness of our stress hormones.|
|Caffeine in the form of coffee or soda.||Water or Herbal Tea enhances digestion, circulation and detoxification.|
|Cow’s Milk and other dairy products.||Coconut Milk is beneficial for cholesterol, blood sugar, digestion and metabolism.|
|Fried food like chicken fingers, French fries and other greasy meals.||Fresh Vegetables like avocado and tomatoes give us many of the essential vitamins and nutrients we need. Beans are high in protein and help us maintain a healthy digestive tract.|
|Packaged goods like potato chips and other snacks.||Nuts, seeds and Trail Mix give us a healthy boost and stop those ‘crashes’ throughout the day.|
|Processed meats like bologna, salami and hot dogs.||Grilled Chicken and Turkey give us lots of protein essential for building new muscle.|
|Wheat and White bread.||Rye or Brown rice bread are good substitutes and don’t cause as many absorption and allergy problems.|
|Bagels and Muffins for breakfast.||Eggs are a great source of protein, minerals and B-vitamins. Oatmeal (plain) is good substitute for other sugary breakfasts.|
|Pasta made from white flour.||Fish (especially deep-sea fish) are rich in protein, minerals and essential fatty acids.|
|Energy Bars and Protein Bars with high sugar and dairy content.||Brown Rice Protein Powder is high in protein and has no dairy, and little or no sugar.|
In addition to selecting the right foods, it is important to eat every few hours. You should not skip meals or rely on adrenaline, sugar or caffeine for energy. You will deplete the natural resources of your body and cause long term damage if you are not fueling your body properly. This abuse can lead to diabetes, hypoglycemia and other medical problems.
Diet and lifestyle are the most important elements in the prevention and treatment of disease. Understanding nutrition and the importance of food is essential to maintaining a healthy body, mind and spirit. Eating right fosters a healthy metabolism, creates sustained energy and helps you feel balanced throughout the day. Take good care of your body and you will not only feel better now but you will live a longer and healthier life.
For more information about great diet suggestions, check out The Diet Cure by Julia Ross. She offers a detailed questionnaire to help you find your diet deficiencies and gives great food, supplement and recipe suggestions.