“Thou shouldst eat to live, not live to eat” Socrates
There are a lot of different diets these days; the Atkins, lemon-detox, weight watchers, lite and easy.. the list could keep going! People may often lose weight whilst on a diet, but research has shown that the majority will not only put the weight back on afterwards, they often gain additional weight.
Poor food choices and a lack of getting up and moving is leading to obesity becoming (if it hasn’t already!) one of the greatest health issues in modern society. In 2007-08 the National Health Survey found 61% of Australian adults were either overweight or obese. They also found that 1 in 4 (25%) of children aged 5-17 were overweight or obese.
The problem with any diet, is that they do not teach people the difference between goiod and bad eating habits. This is why diets fail to help people make long-term changes to their eating habits and lifestyle. Food is simply fuel for your body- if you put the right food in, you will be rewarded with energy, good health and a great life. Putting crap fuel (bad food, bad drinks and bad air) into your body will cause you to struggle and you’ll never be able to perform to you full potential.
A balanced diet
A healthy, balanced diet consists of a variety of different foods that give your body all the nutrients it needs to function at its best. A great diet is not about eliminating delicious foods and eating boring stuff. Instead, a healthy diet is based on eating really fresh, unprocessed foods. Your diet should include:
- a wide variety of fruits and vegies (fresh and seasonal. Different colours provide different nutrients)
- good protein sources (our bodies are mostly made from protein)
- good fats- omegas 3 and 6 found in oils from fish, nuts and avocado.
- limited bad fats (saturated and trans- fats)
- limited carbohydrates (this includes sugars)
If you are looking to improve your diet, it is more important to add great foods rather than just eliminate bad foods. If you you want to make a lasting change in your life, (be it food or anything else) you must replace bad habits with good ones. Simply stopping or eliminating a bad habit leads to a void that will most often be filled again by the same things you are trying to eliminate.
If diet is WRONG, medicine is of no use
if diet is CORRECT, medicine is of no need – Ancient Ayurvedic proverb
the 80/20 rule
The 80/20 rule can be applied to many things in life. In relation to food it refers to 80% of food consumed being highly nutritious, fuelling your body well. The other 20% allows for indulgences: a few things that taste great, but may not be great for us. The 80/20 rule includes all the food that we consume, all the snacks and desserts that we might eat. Eating by this rule, 80% means that 4 out of 5 meals need to nutritious and healthy. Over a week, if we have 3 meals a day, then we can only have 4 meals that do not meet a high standard.
The 80/20 rule is a valuable tool for a healthy,balanced diet. It provides a means to allow us enjoy things that we may not usually. It helps to give us balance in our lives, so as not to become a slave to food. Don’t forget, 80/20 also applies to what we drink as well. Drinking lots of water (at least 80% of fluid intake) is an important component of a healthy diet.
Replacing the food pyramid – with the plate
The food pyramid is dead!! The traditional food pyramid, based on high carbohydrate consumption, that we were taught in school has very little to do with a healthy balanced diet. This model was first designed over 100 years ago and has barely changed since. The high portion of grain-based carbs in the pyramid have been linked to some of most common modern health issues such as obesity and diabetes.
Carbohydrates are indeed important for proper body function, in particular as a source of fibre for good gut health. However, it is a little known fact that we can we can get most of our carbohydrate and fibre needs from fruits and vegies instead of grains.
It’s time to rethink the use of the Food Pyramid and instead use something like the ‘plate’ model.
The plate shows us the composition of each food group we need in a meal. (There are a few differences in opinion about the details of what is exactly the best make up) but basically your plate should be 50% fruit and veg, 30% protein source and 20% starch. Don’t forget that it also needs to include some good fats as well!
Remember that variety of food is important,
so be sure not to eat t
Over recent years in modern society, portion sizes of foods have blown out. Everything these days , (especially fast food portions), seems to be larger, super-sized or upgraded. Obviously if we are eating more food and exercising less, this will be detrimental to our health.he same things all the time!
Made by nature or made by man?
There are many different ways we can classify and group foods; high/low in calories, sugar or fat content , the food pyramid, fresh or packaged. I myself, use and have recommended for many years, Cyndi O’Meara’s very simple approach. In her book “Changing Habits, Changing lives” she simplifies foods into two groups – those made by Nature and those made by man
Man made (Processed) foods
- Meats / fish
- Good oils
- Canned foods
- Breads and pasta’s
- Breakfast cereals
- Most sugars
- Soft drink / high
- Instant coffee
- Anything with a long shelf life
Natural foods are those that we recognise straight away, looking much the same as they did when they were growing. Fresh is always best! The more you know about where your produce comes from and when it was picked/butchered the more confident you can be about whether it is good for you.
The more processed a food is, the further from its natural state it becomes. The greater the length of time since it was in that state, the greater its depletion in nutritional value. Most processed foods tend to be high in preservatives and other additives; salt, sugar etc which have been shown to be detrimental to our health. The longer the shelf life of a food or the longer it takes to go off, the less likely it is good for your health.
Good food – part of a healthy lifestyle
A well balanced diet is an essential part of living a healthy and happy life. The food we eat is the fuel for our body, so it pays to choose wisely and invest in yours and your family’s health. Quality counts. Where you can, choose fresh, organic and GMO free produce. To do this you often need to source your food differently. Getting away from the big supermarkets and instead visiting farmers markets, your local butcher and green grocer you, will find it much easier to find healthier food choices.
Along with regular exercise, adequate sleep and water, a healthy, fully functioning nervous system and a good mental state, the food we choose to fuel our body with has a huge effect on our ability to express health and reach full potential throughout life.