Think “regime” not “diet”– an ongoing lifelong 10 point plan
This 10 point plan details the steps to eating a healthy sustainable diet:
1 It’s a regime not a diet
The word “diet” has become discredited and now to so very many means something done short term or temporarily. This is of little use. The 6 week wonder diet of the stars is more than likely rubbish, let alone the fact that: quickly lost and quickly regained. What we need to do instead is create new habits – a new eating regime. And this is all importantly how each and every one of us should see it – a new approach to what we eat and what we avoid in our new eat well to live well eating regime.
2 Decide on your 5 problem food and avoid them
What are your 5 problem foods that you love to eat but are nutritional rubbish and full of unnatural fat, sugar or indeed both? Decide on your 5 and resolve not to eat them. Why 5 – because you can count and remember them on one hand and these worst 5 will probably be 80% of your problem foods.
It is more than likely these problem foods will be beige! Food that is beige in colour is typically a good indication that it is unhealthy: biscuits, cakes, bread etc.
Foods that often appear on a 5 to avoid list are: bread, cakes, chocolate, biscuits, cream, ice cream, chips and butter.
Your 5 might change over time, that’s fine. And keeping a diary if you eat any of your 5 will help strengthen ones resolve.
3 Eat colourful fruit and vegetables – brighter the better and at least five a day
In complete contrast to your problem foods, you need to plenty of brightly coloured fruit and vegetables – the more brightly coloured and the fresher the better. These are all rich in the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are so important to our bodies.
All fruit and veg are OK except potato – just too starchy.
And, as per government advice, consume at least 5 portions a day. Keep a mental check on this to make sure you are achieving this goal. Again, resolve to yourself that this is what you will do and keep a diary to record your progress to help motivation.
4 Eat smaller regular meals and supper early
Don’t make yourself continually feel hungry – a new eating regime won’t survive on this basis. Instead, eat smaller and regular meals and plenty of healthy snacks as you go through the day to maintain blood sugar levels and thereby your energy levels.
Breakfast is crucial to get the digestive system “kick started” in the morning – and a slow release healthy energy rich breakfast is what is needed.
Eat the bulk of your calorie intake early while you are active during the day – with most of the calories consumed before 4pm. And, when it comes to supper this should be a fairly “lite” meal; and, eaten early enough whereby it can be digested before you go to bed, with a good 14-16 hour fast for the digestive system until breakfast.
This will not only make you feel more well but also help in weight control.
5 Eat healthy carbohydrates
The list is extensive offering great variety to the diet. Good sources are from fruit and vegetables. Particularly: bananas, apples, squash, broccoli, leafy greens, and berries. These foods are both good for us but also are digested slowly by our bodies so they make us feel fuller for longer.
The carbs that are unhealthy for us include: white rice, white flour and refined sugar. These foods have been industrially processed to strip them of their fibre, bran and nutrients.
6 Eat healthy fats
As with carbohydrates there are both good and bad fats. The fats to increase in our diets are the Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fats. The former can be found in lots of nuts (eg hazelnuts) and olive oil. While the Polyunsaturated Fats include Omega3 which is to be found in oily fish like salmon.
These healthy oils have far reaching health benefits for us that research is still uncovering. But to date research has found positive benefits linking consumption with prevention of heart disease, prevention of dementia and positive mood change.
On the other hand the villains are Trans Fats – we should try and avoid these. They are found in fried foods, biscuits, cakes, margarines and generally industrially processed foods.
7 Eat a mix of protein
Protein provides our bodies with the essential building blocks that comprise our cells and indeed are the building blocks of life – the amino acids.
A good mix of protein is required and this gives us both the protein itself but also we get the side benefits like Omega3 oils from salmon. And chicken without the skin is a very good source of protein with a low saturated fat content. The protein we consume needs to be from either good quality whey protein isolate or lean red meat thereby.
8 Eat calcium rich foods
The inclusion of calcium rich foods in our diet is vitally important to ensure we maintain a healthy and strong body, being particularly important for strong bones.
Good sources of calcium are vegetables, particularly the leafy green ones and beans, such as kidney beans. The other well known source of calcium are dairy products: milk, cheese and yogurt. Not too many of these dairy ones though – there is a lot of fat in them!
9 Reduce sugar and salt
Sugar is now claimed, by part of the nutritional expert community, as being the biggest issue – even more so than fat in our food. Certainly it lurks in so many foods and disguised by the labelling. Clearly sugar is to be avoided by: avoiding your 5 problem foods (see above) checking labels, avoiding sugary drinks and generally being attentive to as whether it is in what you are eating.
The problem with sugar is the clear link it has with obesity and then the knock-on effect of Type 2 Diabetes.
Salt makes such a difference to the taste of our food, most of us use too much. The recommended intake is a teaspoon per day. Over consumption by eating pre-packed salty snacks, processed foods or being too liberal with one’s own use can cause high blood pressure and general health issues.
Our natural recipe nutrition products are low in sugar and salt here: PROTEIN BARS
10 Eat plenty of fibre
Most of us fail to eat enough fibre in our daily diet. Great sources of fibre include: fruit and vegetables. The health benefits of a high fibre diet are significant, helping: lowering risk of heart disease, strokes, diabetes and achievement of weight loss.
Generally, good sources of fibre are natural foods – especially fruit and vegetables. Therefore, by striving to eat your 5 you’ll be well on the way to consuming plenty of fibre.