What if I told you that eating a healthy balanced diet would improve your health, your energy level, and your strength? Would you be willing to change your habits? Try it for a month? How about a week? Does that sound reasonable? One week of your life, eating more nutritious foods, to feel better.
What if I told you it is not difficult? But it will take YOU making the decision to make healthier choices. It will take some planning. Maybe some exploring of different foods and recipes that are easy to make and nutritious that you enjoy.
I am not a nutrition expert. But about 2 years ago, I dove into reading every book I could on nutrition and diets. I was determined to feel better. I had fallen into bad eating habits, I felt drained. It was difficult to make it through a day of work and I was exhausted by the time I got home.
Reading all those books left me a little perplexed. I would start to eat one way and then another book would tell me something else. Things that the experts used to say were good for you, like eating margarine, now are not so good for you. I have found a few main points that most authors did agree on. I would like to share them with you.
1) Drink Enough Water
2) Eat Whole Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
3) Eat Enough Protein
4) Limit Your Sugar Intake
That does not sound too bad, does it?
Without getting into too much detail, let’s just look at each one of these and see if you might get an idea of one thing you could change now.
How much do I need? Well this does depend on your activity level, where you live, and if you have any health conditions. The old saying of 8 – 8 ounce glasses of water (total of 64 ounces) will put you in the ballpark of what you need in a day. If you are rarely thirsty and your urine is a light/pale yellow color, then you are probably consuming enough water in a day. You can also use a hydration calculator
to estimate your specific water intake needs.
Would you be willing to replace one of those sodas or sugary drinks that you drink daily with a cup of water a day? You might even try to be rebellious and eliminate all soda and sugary drinks from your diet for a whole week and see what happens. Warning, my husband, who always said he “hated” water, tried this for a week, and he never went back to the daily sugary drinks. Why? Because he lost that extra weight he was carrying and unexpectedly, his energy level went up. Hmmm! Who would have thought that the sugar was making him more tired. People usually think sugar gives them energy. He even told me that after about 1 week he actually “liked” water.
Remember to drink a safe source of water. Don’t let your body be the filter for the bacteria or toxins in the water you drink.
Whole Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
I suggest picking out a few vegetables and fruits that you enjoy and add them into your diet daily. Fresh is better, but not always feasible. Frozen is good too.
Eating a variety of colors of fruits and vegetables helps you get different nutrients for good health. Some say raw is better, but sometimes people cannot digest raw veggies or they just don’t taste good to you raw so then you don’t eat them.
Find a way to prepare your vegetables and fruit in a way you can enjoy them. Steaming them is healthy. I do love to roast my vegetables to bring out more of the flavor in them (and it is easy to just pop them into my small countertop oven instead of standing over a hot stove). I find the easiest way for me to get the full servings of vegetables and fruit recommended in a day with little preparation is to juice them or make a smoothie.
Go lean. Some good sources of protein include: lean meats, nuts, beans, legumes, seeds, dairy, and eggs. Again a variety is better to get different nutrients. I was probably lacking the most in the area of getting enough protein. I have found a few easy recipes for me like crustless quiche, broiled salmon, baked chicken breast, and discovered quinoa to help me get the protein I needed.
Are you addicted to sugar? Do you know that studies have shown that sugar causes an inflammatory reaction in your body and can be a culprit with arthritis, joint pain, and even heart disease?
Too much sugar in your diet can:
- weaken eyesight
- cause drowsiness
- contribute to diabetes
- contribute to osteoporosis
- decrease your immune response making you more prone to colds and the flu
Artificial sweetners are not really better. You will find resources tell you artificial sweeteners can have detrimental effects and other studies cannot prove they are harmful.
If you need that sweet taste, there are 2 natural sugar alternatives, stevia and xylitol, that have been shown to be safe to use and cook with.
Sugar can be hidden on package labels under different names including any word ending in “ose” (like sucrose), high fructose corn syrup, molasses, corn sweetener, honey, and fruit juice concentrate.
Just one can of regular soda contains 8 teaspoons of sugar. The recommended daily limit for women is 6 teaspoons and men 9 teaspoons. So women, if all you ingested for a day was 1 can of regular soda, you would be over your daily limit.
Now, I am not the most perfect eater. Some days I do great and others, not so much. But overall, I have improved my diet. I love having more energy and being healthier, I enjoy what life has to offer. I hope you can find what inspires you and make healthy changes that are right for you.
Remember to consult with your doctor and/or nutritionist before making any diet changes especially if you have any special diet needs or any health conditions.
Please feel free to comment and share your healthy nutrition ideas or maybe a recipe you enjoy.