I have really been craving everything lemon lately (100-degree weather does that to you) and if you’ve read any of my recipes so far, you’ll know I’m a HUGE garlic fan. (Always feel free to scale back; I have weird garlic-loving taste buds.) I was […]
Food, health, and a little bit of philosophy
It’s funny how certain foods trigger memories, emotions, or phases of life differently to different people. To me, these ingredients in this combination bring forcibly to mind a time after graduating college and living alone for the first time, when I experimented daily with different healthy-food-combinations. I […]
There is something about eating a home-cooked meal, at a table, around 7 pm, every night; that brings balance to an otherwise seemingly unmanageable whirlwind of existence. The ritual of dinnertime can be an anchor for a family, a couple, even a single person–a time […]
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Nutrition can be a daunting thing if you don’t understand it, or have experience practicing it. BUT, it doesn’t have to be! Hopefully these 7 simple tips will help educate, empower, and transform your perception of nutrition, and make it easier to implement in your life.
1) NUTRITION IS NOT A DIET
Nutrition is a mindset, a self-orientation. It is a method of existence by which we are the most productive and the most capable. It is NOT a quick-fix or short-term struggle. Nutrition is a lifestyle reformation, a choice you make every day.
2) WEIGHT LOSS IS A BYPRODUCT, NOT AN OBJECTIVE
One of the things that helps me stay most on-track with nutrition and healthy eating choices is releasing myself of the idea “I’m doing this to be skinny.” It is easier for me to think, “I’m doing this to be healthy.” Nutrition is its own goal. You eat healthfully and seek nutritious choices to be healthy. Weight loss is a happy side-effect of good nutrition, but to me, seeking it for its own sake gets exhausting, discouraging, and fosters an UNHEALTHY thought-life. Sometimes physical change (when done the right way) takes time, but that doesn’t mean you should give up! If you’re actively seeking to make good, healthy choices for your body–you are already accomplishing the goal! Change will come, but the scale can’t be seen as the ultimate measuring-tool when you’re making a lifestyle reformation.
3) WHEN IN DOUBT, GO NATURAL
One of the easiest ways to measure the healthfulness of a food is asking, how processed is this item? The more processed a food is (and generally, the more ingredients it has), the less it is good fuel for your body. Avoid white starches, white sugars, anything chemically altered or made in a factory. Conversely– whole, natural, Earth-foods (and unprocessed, organic meats), are the foods your body uses most efficiently. Fruits, vegetables, sweet potatoes, fish, chicken, quinoa, natural cheeses, nuts… Choosing these types of foods will yield you more energy, strength, and provide the things your body needs to function effectively.
When crafting a meal, I try to make sure the balance is always weighs heavier in the amount of vegetables, then protein, and lastly, starch. (Starches are important and should not be cut out; you just don’t need as much of them as everything else.) I try to eat my veggies first, and allow myself to have as many of them as I want. Then, a fist-sized portion of protein and a palm-size portion of good, natural starch. So, make sure your plate always has more veggies than anything else!
5) LIQUIDS MATTER
Not just drinking them, but what kind you’re drinking. This refers back to my earlier point–GO NATURAL. Limit your liquid intake to water, milk, tea, coffee, (and red wine). And LOTS OF WATER. I try to drink a gallon of water a day, and I’ve found it makes me feel more refreshed and full of energy; my eyes are less tired and I have better skin. If you crave soda, try switching for carbonated water (with lemon!)
6) PORTION CONTROL IS KEY
You can eat all the healthy food you want, but if you eat too much of it, you’re not fulfilling Good Nutrition or Healthful Living. Overeating is important to watch out for, and everyone is different in how much food they need per meal. (Alex eats three times what I eat.) To avoid this, I try to follow the Veggies-Protein-Starch rule, and then STOP eating as soon as I feel like I’m Just Full, and don’t need anymore.
7) (PLAN TO) INDULGE ONCE IN A WHILE
There’s no hard formula for When To Indulge. I’ve gone through periods where every Friday I’ll have a desert; or I’ll never have desert; or I’ll only have dark chocolate; or I’ll have a crazy cheat-meal twice a month. Lately, I’ve been sticking to having a square or two of dark chocolate every day; this controls my sweets-cravings and generally makes me feel satisfied and not NEEDING anything more. And if I’m planning on having a particularly indulgent meal or desert, I will skip the chocolate and watch more carefully the things I have for the rest of the day.
Hopefully this uncomplicates your view of nutrition and makes starting your own Lifestyle Reformation a little easier!