How to Fuel your Body for Success | Healthy Success
Our top killers in America are heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Mostly due to our standard American diet. Fueling your body for success means drastically reducing the chances of dying prematurely to these top killers.
What is Healthy?
What exactly is a healthy diet to follow? Nobody seems to be able to make up their mind. Eggs are good, eggs are bad. Avocado is terrible, avocado is amazing! Eat only meat, don't ever eat meat. Bread is the devil. You get the picture.
When I say "diet", I mean the foods that you eat habitually. I did not mean it as a restriction of food in order to lose weight. I'm talking about a lifestyle, a healthy lifestyle. And the only way to achieve a good, sustainable, healthy lifestyle for yourself is to use your brain. Do your research and ask your questions.
Read different books and articles about nutrition. If you have the resources, ask a reputable dietitian or doctor. And probably the most useful thing I learned from my school days, "check your sources". Always ask yourself, where did this information come from?
America is still a Capitalist Country
Our economic system runs through individuals who own and operate private companies. You need to understand that these companies want to make money. I'm not diving into the political or ethical concepts, but we can all agree that companies have a profit motive.
What does this have to do with our healthy lifestyle choices? Everything. In his book, How Not to Die, Dr. Michael Greger states how important it is to follow the money. When studies showed Americans can benefit from cutting down on animal-based foods and increasing consumption of plant-based foods, the meat and dairy producers were very upset. This lead to the study no longer showing "decrease meat consumption".
When you are looking at a committee for information, look at who sits on the committee. How do they get paid? They may be tied to large companies such as McDonald's, Duncan Hines, or Crisco. In such instances, it greatly benefits you to take the information and wonder what's been left out or changed. I'm not saying all the information out there is wrong or skewed and it's all a conspiracy, I'm only saying that to get the best information possible for your health you need to make your own decisions based on your own analysis of the situation.
Do I agree with everything Dr. Michael Greger says? No, but that doesn't mean I can't learn from his work. I do, however, understand and see the benefits of most of his points.
We all want to live longer and have more energy. I was always jealous of my friends who seemed to have unlimited energy while I was just so tired. My main motivation to start my healthy lifestyle was my children. I was so tired all the time, all I could do was the bare minimum. The mere thought of taking both of my young children on an errand alone made me want to pass out. As they got older I realized that being tired made me miss out on all the opportunities I could have with them. I want to play with them outside, to chase them, kick soccer balls, and also still have the energy to come back inside and cook dinner.
- Eat More Fruits and Vegetables: Eating sugar in fruit form is actually helpful and will not contribute to weight gain so don't be worried about eating too many berries. As for vegetables, a good rule of thumb to start is to have the vegetable portion of your meal take up the majority of the plate.
- Eat Lightly: Overeating makes you tired and lethargic. Eat smaller portions and take your time so your stomach has a time to tell your brain you are full. If you are still hungry, eat some more fruits or vegetables.
- Drink Water: Sugar-sweetened beverages are the leading sources of added sugars in the American diet. It is associated with the top killers, obesity, kidney diseases, tooth decay, and gout. Ditch the sodas and drink more water.
Little More In-depth:
- Clean your body: This is what it's like to dive in, and I'm not talking about starving yourself or going on a juice cleanse. I mean taking time to eat clean, whole, natural and unprocessed foods for about a month. I like the 28 Day Reset by Cassey Ho. A month gives your body time to heal, for example, I had no idea I had a problem with milk. After you give your body about a month, you slowly start reintroducing certain foods and you'll be amazed at which foods are actually causing you problems and how much better you feel without them. It's all a learning process and what makes you feel the best. That is the only way to ensure sustainability.
As you develop more and more healthy habits you will start to feel better, look better, and have more energy. It actually gets to the point where you do not want to go back to your old routine. When you are at this point, everything will seem easier. Your tastes will have changed, and your preferences as well. This is when adding more levels to your health journey becomes easier.
- Cruciferous Vegetables: While it is important to eat a variety of vegetables, not all are created equal. There is dramatic suppression of test-tube cancer-cell growth by raw broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts.
- Pair Greens with Good Fats: Many nutrients in greens are fat soluble, for example beta-carotene and vitamin K. Eating a salad with a tahini-based dressing will help make the salad taste better and help you absorb more nutrients.
- Nutrient Dense can also be Calorie Dense: Always check the labels for added sugar. Dried fruits have added sugar, not because it is necessary but because it adds weight to the product. Making your own is a much healthier option than the store bought dried fruit snacks.
- Ratios for Whole Grains: Check the Nutrition Label when you purchase your whole grain products. Look at the grams of carbohydrates to the grams of dietary fiber and make sure that the ratio is 5 or less. For example, when looking at bread, if it has 15 grams of carbs and 3 grams of fiber, 15/3 = 5.
I am a big believer in taking small steps towards your goals. I find when I'm overwhelmed I have a tendency to give up in frustration. But when I focus on small changes, it becomes much easier to create a solid foundation for a healthy lifestyle.