Sunday, November 4, 2012

5 Steps To Better Food

It is amazing how fast the year has gone by. It feels to me that just yesterday we were celebrating Easter and now Christmas is on the horizon. Time is all we have in this world, only precious moments that can be gone with a blink of an eye. 
After realizing how fragile life can be, when faced with the horrible "C" word. I decided to educate myself on all things health!!
You would be surprised about what you can learn about the food you eat, and how it can alter your overall health. I am not just talking about avoiding butter or deserts - these are easy to figure out. However, the hidden dangers are with the ohh so loved processed foods! Canned goods, bottled juices, bagged chips, and even the things you thought were harmless are filled with horrible additives and preservatives that will literally KILL you. 
So, after a lot of research and after drastically modifying the way my family eats. I have put together 5 simple steps on how you can improve your life by improving what you eat. 
"Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are"! (Anthelme Brillat-Savarin)
  • 5 - Get to know your food! Your food should have less then three stops before arriving on your plate. When you look at a bag of potatoes, you know immediately what it is and where it came from. With three lovely steps the bag of potatoes has been- picked from the ground, transported to your local grocery market and is now in your pantry. However, could you answer the same about a bag of potato chips? Probably not. So, your goal is to buy whole-real foods and not foods contained in a box, bag or can. 
  • 4 - Learn to read the ingredient label. At first this can be overwhelming. Reading labels are almost as difficult as deciphering a foreign language. Until you realize that if understanding what is in your food is too difficult then you should not be eating it. Our digestive system was designed to eat whole foods and not overly-processed-bad-for-you “pretend” foods. For this reason it is important to give your body foods that can easily be digested. Pick up an item- look at the ingredients (not just the calorie count) if you don't recognize two or more items- just put it down and walk way! Trust me, it feels good to take back some control over your life.
  • 3 - Whenever possible, go for Organic! Although a recent study done at Stanford University found that Organic foods are no more nutritious than non-organic, the reality of what is better for you is quite clear and simple. Organic fruits and vegetables are not sprayed with pesticides and chemicals that cannot be washed off. When eating such foods, we force our bodies to digest massive amounts of poisonous chemicals. Now, you decide- would you rather eat an apple that was bathed in poison or one that has not been? The answer is simple, and we (the consumers) don't need a fancy study to state the obvious. Taking back control, once again. 
  •  2 - Stay clear of white foods such as: white pasta, rice, bread, and sugar. A single grain of white rice is broken down into 90% sugar! A bowl of white rice can send your Pancreas into a frenzy! When we attack our body with massive amounts of sugar, it in turn produces massive amounts of insulin creating a deadly cycle that will inevitably end up in DIABETES! Now, don't panic- I love sweets and chocolate and all things desert. So, this step was by far the most difficult one for me. However, when you find out that there are options you begin to relax and enjoy your newfound wisdom. Instead of indulging in white carbs and refined sugar, try to buy whole-wheat pasta, rice and bread. As an alternative to white refined sugar you can start buying raw sugar, organic Agave, or honey. I know that I skipped Splenda, however any artificial sweetener is considered a synthetic food and that is also difficult to digest. So, think whole-wheat and delight your sweet tooth will real good for you sugar.
  • 1 - I have left this step for last, because it is truly the most ambitious of all the other steps. Brace yourselves- as this can make you want to give up. However, I assure that you will begin to feel healthier, lighter and enlightened in no time. So, for the Pièce de ré is time to begin saying NO to meats, white or red. I know, you think I have gone bananas- you might be asking- where is my Protein! Well, the answer is fish-fish-fish. A piece of steak or a fillet of chicken can take up to 6 hours to digest. So, if you think of it, you will have a hunk of meat inside of you for nearly a half portion of the day, and if you eat meat twice a day you will be digesting your food all day! When your body is busy working to digest food it will put all other functions on pause in order to preform the task. This will slow you down; make you feel tired and fatigued. The goal is to eat foods that will enter and leave your body quickly. If you are up for the challenge, I urge you to begin slowly. Perhaps start with meatless Mondays and grow from there. It is a big change and even greater challenge. However, change when it comes to your health is always a step in the right direction. 
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