There are ten components to eating a healthy diet. And by diet I’m not talking about the latest fad or eating low calories for a short period of time and then returning to your normal bad eating habits… here, diet means what you eat as a lifestyle. Here’s 10 things to adapt to your eating habits.
1. Natural Foods
Eat foods “as close to the garden” as possible. Fresh, organic fruit and vegetables. Grass fed, free range animal products. You won’t find natural foods in a box from the freezer. These foods give us more energy and vitality, not to mention healthy nutrients.
2. Seasonal Foods
Eat fresh foods that are in season. Not only is it easier on your budget as these foods become abundant, it also helps attune your body to nature, specifically, the climate in which you live.
- Spring is a time for rejuvenation. More fruit and fresh vegetable options start to become available, as we shift away from the warm foods of winter and look forward to cleansing our bodies for summer.
- Summer is a time of activity. So many fresh fruit and vegetable options are available. It’s a great time to enjoy a variety of fresh salads and ripe, juicy fruits.
- Autumn is a big shift in energy and climate. Harvest leads to the remaining fruits of summer with a shift to an abundance of root vegetables and squashes. Warm cooked foods start to be craved naturally by the body.
- Winter is a time for warm, richer foods. Root vegetables last all winter long when stored in a cool dry place. These foods also require cooking to make them more pleasing to the palette and more digestible.
3. Fresh Foods
Consuming foods as close to the time when they are harvested, means more nutrition for our bodies. Fruit, vegetables, grains, nuts, beans, seeds, and yes, even dairy products and meat should all be consumed as soon as possible.
4. Nutritious Foods
By eating fresh and natural foods, it naturally leads to good nutrition. Nutritious food provides the body with vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, and phytonutrients. Eat organic whenever possible.
5. Clean Foods
There’s two ways to think of clean foods. The first is food that is free of chemicals, GMOs and are organic. The second means washing and proper storing of food to avoid spoilage.
6. Tasty and Appealing Food
This one sounds fun, doesn’t it! Eating isn’t just about taste or smell. We also eat with our eyes, and use our sense of touch to identify textures. Texture, colour, smell, and taste all combine to make us feel satisfied after eating.
7. Variety and Rotation
It’s important to eat a variety of foods. It doesn’t need to be daily, but over the course of a week it’s good to have different options each day. Different foods give us different nutritional elements, so variety is key.
8. Food Combining
So this one is a bit more challenging and doesn’t fit very well into Western diet. It fits quite well into more indigenous diets found around the world. However, it’s important to try to incorporate this idea to maximize the digestion benefits.
Guidelines for Food Combining
- Fruits are eaten alone or with other fruit. Give them time to digest before consuming other foods. (20-30 mins.)
- Proteins and starches should not be eaten together. This is where things become interesting/more challenging for people eating a Western diet.
- Combine protein with vegetables or starches with vegetables.
- Do not eat more than one protein per meal.
It’s not healthy to overeat or undereat. Eating smaller meals is key, portion control is essential. It’s important to eat when you’re hungry. Not “brain hungry”, but listening to the signals your body gives you that it needs nourishment. Usually we eat on a schedule of some sort. We eat by the clock. It’s important, through practice, to learn to eat just enough at one meal so that the body is hungry again for the next meal.
Balance includes five areas of concern which involves eating in proper portions to gain the most nutrition for our bodies.
- Macronutrients – proteins, fats, carbohydrates
- Micronutrients – vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids and phytonutrients
- Food groups – Vegetarian: fruit, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, seeds; Omnivour, add: dairy products, eggs, fish, poultry and meats.
- Flavours and colours – sour, bitter, sweet, spicy, salty. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple (all the colours of the rainbow.)
- Acid-alkaline. Foods that form an acid or alkaline environment in the body after they’ve been consumed. The body prefers to be more alkaline.
Source: Staying Healthy with Nutrition by Dr. Elson Haas
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