Eating Well Does Not Have To Be Hard But It is Most Important for Your HealthThis post comes from Natural Performance Rehab Co-Owner Dr. Miller's Mom Harriet Smith. Ms. Smith has been a life long learner when it comes to eating healthy and preparing quick and health meals for her and her family. She was self-employed for many years, running many business with a very busy scheduled but was able to make fresh and healthy meals on a daily basis. Please, enjoy this well researched and thought out blog post:
Every person has the responsibility for his or her own health.
Too many people seem to think they can do whatever they please and then if there is a problem, a doctor will "fix" it. Nothing could be further from the truth. Of course, there are the obvious things -- smoking cigarettes, too much alcohol or taking drugs -- but mainly it's an overall commitment to a healthy lifestyle. And the major portion of that healthy lifestyle is concerned with what you eat. Gaining healthy eating habits is the most important step you can take on the path to taking charge of your health.
Healthy eating will require a commitment on your part -- a commitment of time and energy.
Think of it as an investment in your health. You can also think of it as another "project" - just like painting the spare room or expanding the patio.
- Don't try to do it all at once. Make little changes at a time. Don't think you have to eliminate all the things you love, even if they are not "good" for you. The object is to have the bulk of your food as basic and healthy as possible while adding small "treats" for yourself. (No, a banana split does not qualify as a "small treat.")
- Don't worry too much at this point about calories or "macros" -- that can come later.
- Make time for grocery shopping. For me, a supermarket is a bit overwhelming, so I try to focus on the things I know I need or want. Standing and looking at 35 brands of balsamic vinegar will only serve to muddle your thinking! But do your shopping leisurely, looking at what the supermarket has to offer. Read the ingredients for every packaged item you buy. If it has anything other than actual food ingredients, put it back. Chemicals, various forms of sugar, dyes -- these are not food. Don't be fooled by the words "natural" or "healthy." Make your own decision about whether it's healthy or not. And forget "low-fat."Remember that anything you make from scratch with fresh ingredients will be totally under your "quality control" so no worries about the surroundings or just who handled it.
- If you are concerned about the time it takes to make a meal from scratch rather than just pick up something or use a prepackaged meal, then use one of your days off from work to do some of the work ahead of time. Many people use Sunday for this -- and store or freeze the results for later in the week, making sure you have a quick but healthy dinner where you make a double portion that you can use for lunch the next day.
- In the beginning, keep a food journal and weigh all your food. "Ugh" you say "too much work." Remember when I said "project?" You need to know what you are putting in your mouth. Make a commitment to weighing and noting all the food you eat for one week.
- Make a menu plan for one week. Put on it the foods you like but emphasize fruits and vegetables. Lean meats, eggs and fish come next and then nuts. Grains next to last and then dairy products. Yes, I too love cheese! However, cutting back on dairy products will be a good thing.
Some sample menus:
Breakfast - Oatmeal cooked with 1 tbsp raw sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon and a small apple cut up. Add toasted almonds on top to serve. On the other hand, one egg and two egg whites with piece of whole wheat toast and some fruit. (No, jelly does not qualify as a fruit!)
Lunch - Generally leftovers from dinner the night before (easy!) but also could be sandwiches of various kinds or a huge salad with lots of veggies and either tuna or chicken or roast beef on top. Serve with baked tortilla chips.
Dinner - Pasta with vegetables, chicken or fish. Instead of a thick tomato sauce, try using just a tablespoon or two of olive oil and add some herbs. A teaspoon of Parmesan or smoked cheese will add to the flavors. Remember -- you want to enjoy the actual food and its flavor and not totally cover it up. Let it shine!