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Wholesome Eating Tips

More and more research is showing that a healthy gut is paramount to good health. Not only of the body but of the mind as well. Unhealthy intestinal flora is linked to depression, bi polar, auto immune disease and a myriad of other health issues. It then stands to reason that what we put into our mouths should be of huge importance. We are not only feeding ourselves for today but also investing in our future health and wellness. Take the time to adopt wholesome eating habits. Couple this with appropriate exercise and mindfulness. If you are over or under weight, get sick often or suffer from physical pain or discomfort it is an indicator that the balance is out. The reasons may be due to many factors but are inextricably linked to our lifestyle. Make the necessary changes and your health and wellness will fall into place.

  1. Energy input, which is the food (calories) that we eat on a daily basis, should equal energy output. Output takes into account your basal and resting metabolic rate as well as all physical activities. Your metabolic rate is the energy used for normal body functions such as respiration, digestion, circulation, muscle recovery and repair. (This can all be calculated).
  2. If you are trying to lose fat, any eating plan or diet that restricts calorie input will result in weight loss. However, diets are usually not sustainable for long periods of time and so when you stop ‘dieting’ the weight will pack back on. Better to choose an eating plan that is sustainable for life. Very often if you embark on a diet without exercising as well, one not only loses fat but water and muscle mass as well. This is not ideal. If you have a realistic eating plan and exercise, you will lose fat and gain muscle mass. The result will be a shapely strong body!
  3. Include a variety of foods from all of the food groups, Protein, Carbohydrate and Fat. A diet that permanently excludes a food group will not be sustainable and could lead to health issues. Likewise, a diet that exceeds the RDI (recommended dietary input) of a particular food group such as protein could also have dire health consequences.
  4. If your goal is fat loss, then you need to be aware of portion sizes. Try eating off a small patterned plate.
  5. A cheat day when you can indulge in anything of your choice is important. BUT if you are trying to lose weight, keep your portion size in mind. You will find that if you embark on a healthy eating plan, your desire to cheat and binge will get less and less. When you embark on a diet your chances of cheating and binging, usually because of the overly restricted calorie input and exclusion of food groups, becomes hugely increased. Stick to a healthy eating plan at least 80% of the time. Be realistic, we do go out to eat and go on holidays when it is not always easy to eat clean.
  6. Start reading labels on the food that you buy and educate yourself as to what they mean. This is time consuming and inconvenient to start but you will get the hang of skimming through them quickly. One thing to look out for is that often foods that claim to be sugar free, have been loaded with fat and vice versa, foods that are fat free are pumped up with sugar.
  7. Cut out all ‘free’ sugar. This is refined sugar that is found in sodas, sweets, sauces and many processed foods. Don’t add sugar to tea or coffee.
  8. Drink herbal teas.
  9. Avoid bought cakes and biscuits.
  10. Reduce processed foods. They are very high in sodium and usually contain other unhealthy additives. However, some processed foods are very beneficial. Frozen foods often maintain a higher quantity of vitamins than fresh produce which has sat on a shelf for some time. Basically you should try to avoid any ready prepared, instant meals, sauces, gravies etc.
  11. Choose wholegrain instead of whole-wheat. It is more nutritious.
  12. Add as much variety in the form of fruit and vegetables as possible. “More colour and snap.” This will ensure that you get a full range of vitamins and minerals.
  13. Fruit is very high in sugar (natural sugar) which can cause weight gain, so if you’re trying to shed kilos, limit fruit. It should still form part of your eating plan.
  14. If you are not eating correctly, are stressed or have a health issue you may need to supplement. However, be cautious when supplementing as one can easily overdose on specific vitamins and minerals and this can exacerbate or create health concerns. Supplementing is also very costly.
  15. Use full cream milk and yoghurt, the vitamin and mineral content (iron, calcium, vitamin D) is higher than low fat products. However, if you consume a large amount and are trying to lose fat then go for low fat. Keep in mind, any food that has had to go through a process, such as reducing the fat content, is not good for you. So wherever possible eat food in its natural whole form.
  16. Avoid yellow cheese as this is more than likely processed. White, solid or hard cheese is best. Feta (full cream) is also good.
  17. Limit your caffeine input. If you drink energy or sports drinks (ergogenic) check the labels as most of them contain caffeine and are high in sugar.
  18. Drink water, however don’t overdo it. There is a high water content in most fruit and veg. If you find plain water boring, flavour it with lemon or ginger.
  19. Limit alcohol especially for weight loss.
  20. Margarine is heavily processed, go for butter and ensure it comes from grass fed cows.
  21. Wherever possible choose organic or free range. Keep in mind that a free range animal could still be eating in a pasture that has been treated with chemicals. Beef that comes from grass fed cattle is preferable but again remember the above point regarding free range. It can be costly to eat organic so be practical.
  22. Eat and use healthy fats such as avocado, olives, coconut oil, nuts and fatty fish (salmon, trout, sardines, mackerel).
  23. Sodium is one of the main contributors to heart disease. You should only be eating 5 grams a day which is very little considering that it is added to most prepared foods, sauces etc.
  24. Rinse all tinned beans, chickpeas, etc. before using. High in sodium. If possible, use dried and prepare yourself. Although this can be time consuming. Tinned are convenient and sometimes practical.
  25. Having a well-balanced breakfast that includes all three nutrients including proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats, is the best way to get your metabolism jump-started for the day and ensure that you have energy to spare as you go about your morning. What you put into your body first thing in the morning is going to dictate how you feel throughout the rest of the day, so feeding yourself correctly is imperative to overall wellness.
  26. We all have different nutritional requirements but aim for three meals a day with a mid- morning and mid afternoon snack.
  27. Juicing is a great way to get your daily requirement of vegetables and it will also help to create an alkaline environment in your body.
  28. Include fermented foods such as kefir, sauerkraut, fermented veg and kombucha in your eating plan. They are very high in natural pre and probiotics which is vital for gut health.
  29. If you have sweet cravings try a square of dark chocolate (cacao) instead of reaching for the cookie jar.
  30. Try growing your own veggies and herbs, then you will know exactly where they have come from. You don’t need a lot of space. If you only have a balcony, try a vertical bed. A sunny windowsill in your kitchen is perfect for herbs.

 

Part of being healthSMARTish is being able to indulge in that hamburger or the likes from time to time. So how do you do that without gaining weight? Everything in moderation, thats how. Stick to good eating 80% of the time, exercise, reduce stress and have a wholesome authentic lifestyle.

If you need the tools in order to do this, ask me!

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