What is a healthy diet? It's all relative, really. To some, it means not eating out, to others it might be eating fruits and vegetables daily. But really, how good are your eating habits? Here are clues indicating you're not eating that healthy after all.
1- Your recycling box is full Great, you contribute and do your part for the planet, but it also means you eat a lot of packaged food. Most of these are processed and not whole. Here's a list of not so healthy packaged foods:
Cold cereal: if you cook quinoa or steel cut oats, then great, anything else has been processed and stripped of nutrients. Juice box: eat the whole fruit and get the full spectrum of vitamins. Unless you juiced it yourself, this is pure sugar. Yogurt container: you can make your own, or at least buy the natural organic kind, not the fruit or flavored ones. Cracker box: even though it maybe advertised as organic and low fat, it is still processed, unless it's raw or you baked it.
2- You're eating whole grains and buy natural organic food. Patients often tell me they eat whole grains, mostly consisting of bread (which still has sugar in it and preservatives), crackers, whole wheat pasta, and whole grain cereals. Most of these are often processed with white flour and other ingredients, and most don't contain much fiber or nutrients. Eating organic is a good choice, but some of these products are not fully organic and sometimes still contain preservatives which are not natural or easily absorbed by the body.
3-You're vegetarian, eating low fat, gluten free... Being vegetarian is relative to what you eat. It could mean eating fries, pancakes and cookies all day long. As long as you eat healthy and whole foods, it doesn't matter if you eat meat, fish or are vegan.
The low fat craze of the 80's is not as prominent anymore, but some people still believe that eating avocado, nuts and seeds, and adding olive oil to their salads will contribute to weight gain. These foods are full of nutrients and provide essential fatty acids required by the body to stay healthy.
You've chosen to eat gluten free, perhaps because you have been diagnosed with Celiac disease, have a sensitivity to wheat, or simply think it is healthier for you. However, it won't provide perfect health unless you eat real wholesome food. There are many gluten free products out there that are processed and stripped of fiber and nutrients, which basically negates any health benefits.
So what else are you supposed to eat? Is there anything left? Sure, and here's some help.
I believe in the 80/20 diet. Eating healthy 80 % of the time and having a little less good food for the rest.
80% of the time, eat the following:
Nuts and seeds: raw, roasted, sprouted or even making milk out of them.
All fresh fruits and vegetables: cooked, steamed, raw, stir fried, grilled...add spices, olive oil, sea salt, or cook them in wine (I'm French, after all).
Fresh wild fish, wild meat or organic meat (Free of hormones).
Quinoa (not a grain by the way), brown or wild rice, buckwheat, sprouted grains.
Sweet: raw honey, stevia.
20% of the time, consider some of these:
A glass of wine.
Dairy: hard and older cheeses (goat is best), goat yogurt, raw milk.
Brown rice cakes, home made granola bars.
Dark chocolate, at least 75% cocoa.
Look for recipes that are simple, quick and delicious, and enjoy the benefit of a healthy diet. Start slow, introduce new foods and eliminate one processed food each week. Plan ahead. Before the start of the week, hard boil a few eggs, grill salmon, cook some quinoa, and make a veggie stew. Bring nuts and seeds everywhere so you're never caught without options to eat healthy when out of the home. It will become a habit in no time, and you will reap the benefits of optimum health.
Clara Cohen Reg. Acupuncturist at Healing Cedar Wellness
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