De-Complicating the Complicated
Depending on the week, we’re told to turn to a Paleo diet. Gluten free. Atkins. The Mediterranean diet. The Zone diet. Chances are you have heard of some of these even if you haven’t tried a few yourself. Perhaps you’ve weighed out slices of cheese, measured ounces of salmon and then screamed in frustration, given up and ordered take out again. What if our diets didn’t need to be so complicated? What if, instead of cutting out all carbs or obsessively measuring the exact ratio of protein to fats each day, there was something simpler, something easier?
Good news! There is.
“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
– Michael Pollan
In just 7 words, we have the recipe for a healthy diet that sums up how everyone should eat for optimal health.
Healthy foods contain proteins, minerals, and vitamins that complex organisms like ourselves require to function and provide our bodies with necessary ingredients to grow, heal, and maintain an optimal healthy state. When we talk about food, we mean the kind of food that doesn’t have the half-life of nuclear waste. Some items, like dried legumes, when stored properly, have a long shelf life. But most products that are free of preservatives and other weird additives, should start to decay within a relatively short amount of time. Think of this as “living food”. These are items that decay and break down more quickly because, kind of like humans, they’re aging. The nutrients and enzymes that make fruits and veggies so good for us, also contribute to the eventual decay of real, living food.
Not Too Much. Mostly Plants.
To avoid overeating is to stop eating as soon as that feeling of hunger abates. The feeling of fullness takes about 30 minutes to hit after you eat, so once your hunger starts to feel satisfied, you should probably slow down and step away from the plate. The majority of the food on our plates should be “plants” – fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds – while meats and carbohydrates should be consumed in smaller portions. A good rule of thumb is that 1/2 of your plate should contain fruits and vegetables. Of the remaining half, 1/4 of it should be protein such as fish, chicken, beef, or tofu. The final 1/4 of the plate is reserved for carbohydrates such as rice, quinoa, potatoes or whole grain breads. Remember: 1/2 fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds + 1/4 of fish, chicken, beef or tofu + 1/4 of rice,quinoa, potatoes or whole grain breads = HEALTHY EATING!
Eat To Live And Not Live To Eat
By following these basic guidelines, we can decrease health issues such as diabetes, obesity, and chronic illnesses. Food choices are in your control and will lead to an improved health status. Mealtimes are an opportunity to pamper yourself and begin the journey of healthy living!