My Top 6 Dietary Tips for EveryoneMay 04, 2021
Let me just get straight to the point first - there is no ONE diet that is the best, there is no ONE diet that works for everyone. There is science to back up all the nutritional programs and sometimes it conflicts...no wonder so many people are confused about what to eat to be healthy.
When I work with clients, I hear them say all the time "I eat a healthy diet" but actually, that statement is meaningless. What we need to do is look at exactly what a person is eating and is it right for them given:
1. their age
2. their gender
3. their level of activity
4. the climate/season
5. their occupation
6. their health history
7. and most importantly, their health goals
Only then can we, together, come up with a way of eating that's right for them. We are all individual - bio-individual and as such we all need an individually-tailored nutritional plan. Funny how often entire families eat exactly the same way.
Imagine this family of 4:
Dad is a construction worker and is active all day long and working outside.
Mum is a lawyer and works indoors at a desk all day
The daughter is 14 years old, pubescent and studious - choosing books over sport
The son is 10 years old, into every sport going and having a growth spurt.
And yet, so often these 4 people will eat the same food (albeit different quantities) but their nutritional demands are completely different.
So, where to begin?
There are some healthy behaviours that are right for everyone and we can all start there - all 4 people in this fictitious family and you with your actual family.
3 Things We Can All Remove From Our Diet
1. Sugar Sweetened Beverages
Did you know this is now listed as its own food group? That's how commonplace it is in many people's diets. When you consider some of these drinks have 6, 8 even 12 teaspoons of sugar it's no wonder that obesity and diabetes (now being referred to as diabesity) is growing exponentially. You wouldn't put 12 teaspoons of sugar in your morning tea or coffee....
Switch these drinks out for plain old water and herbal teas. If that sounds a bit boring you can chop up some fruit and fresh herbs to make a big jug of flavoured water.
I like raspberries with fresh mint leaves or watermelon with a drop of geranium essential oil (make sure it is at least food grade and not just perfume oil).
If fruits and herbs are not available or you are out and about, carry a bottle of lemon essential oil with you and add to water in restaurants and at home.
2. Processed "Food"
Yikes have you ever looked at the ingredients in some of your favourite packaged foods? We all know packaged junk food is full of ingredients no one can pronounce and is best avoided.
But - be really aware of processed food masquerading as "health" food, especially gluten-free and vegan options. You still need to read labels here as manufacturers are definitely jumping on the bandwagon to profit on this latest trend, a closer looks reveals they are often full of rubbish.
Obviously, in an ideal world I would suggest avoiding all processed food and make food from scratch but we are all busy so here's a place to begin:
Only buy processed and packaged food that has 5 or fewer ingredients and make sure you can pronounce and recognise them all. Read the labels and switch out your favourites for other brands lighter on chemicals.
3. Anything Labelled "Low Fat"
If fat has been removed from a food that ordinarily contains it, then that food has been processed and to increase flavour other things, such as sugar have been added.
Buying foods in their natural form is best and if they are high in fat naturally, consider reducing your consumption of them, rather than going for processed low-fat versions.
3 Things to Add Into Your Diet
Whole food vegetables are packed full of nutrients - not just vitamins and minerals, but literally thousands of phytochemicals which have a positive impact on all human health.
Aim for half to three-quarters of your plate to be a variety of vegetables (excluding potatoes) and buy them just as nature made them - its cheaper, especially if you buy seasonally and they fill you up for only a few calories.
Whole fruits are also packed full of vitamins and minerals essential for human health. Recently, many people have been wary of fruits due to their high fructose content and certain diet trends. Fruits can be a part of any meal but ideally shouldn't be the largest part of the meal.
As with vegetables, buy locally, buy seasonally to save money and buy them in their natural state. One top tip is to eat fruit alone, not with other food groups because they are digested really quickly whilst proteins and fats take much longer.
A bowl of mixed fresh fruits for breakfast or a piece of fruit as a snack are really great ways to enjoy fruits.
3. Include Whole Food Protein Sources
We all need protein. It builds muscle, repairs damaged tissue, makes hormones and so many other things our bodies do every day.
Whole food just means "in its natural form" but often is mistakenly assumed to mean vegetarian foods.
Whole food vegetarian forms of protein include raw nuts, seeds, fermented soy and legumes. Legumes can be a little difficult to digest so its a good idea to soak beans overnight before cooking them and even better - try sprouting them before cooking.
For the omnivores among us, some of the most nutrient dense (and cheapest) protein sources available are organ meats - liver (and pate), kidney, heart. They have fallen out of favour but these really pack a punch and I certainly include liver several times per week.
Other good sources are fish (especially oily fish), lean meats and poultry..and of course eggs. Again purchase your protein so its minimally processed for the most benefit to your health.
This is not an exhaustive list, but simply a place to begin. If you incorporate these 6 tips into your daily diet you will reap the benefits of better health and weight management.
My advice would be to pick one and spend a week incorporating that before addressing the next one. Step by step makes change sustainable and less overwhelming. Get the entire family involved and invite them all to get creative with these new ways of eating.
For a more in depth look at your health needs, why not book a FREE health history consultation with me here.
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