By now, we all know the nutrition basics; eat more veggies and fruit, eat less meat, drink plenty of water. If you’re reading this, chances are this is old news. Let’s skip Nutrition 101 and leap forward to a New Year: Welcome to Nutrition 102.
These Five Food Rules are fundamental to your wellness as a whole, and it’s important to get it right. They’re the building blocks for feeling energized, healthy, grounded - in a nutshell, your very best you. Whether you’re just getting your feet wet, or already know your way around the superfood aisle, there’s always room for improvement. There have never before been SO MANY great options out there for eating like a goddess.
The Five Rules for Becoming a Food Goddess
1. Avoid Processed Foods Whenever Possible
Who doesn’t love the odd Cheesy or Oreo? Unless you’re a saint, avoiding processed foods 100% of the time is an unrealistic goal. But given the right tools, and more importantly, the right food in your home, it’s entirely possible to do it most of the time.
This is Rule Number One for a reason; one quick glance at the ingredients will tell you all you need to know. Processed food is full of sodium, sugar, food colouring, and things you can’t pronounce that aren’t food at all. It is devoid of nutrition, lies at the root of our obesity epidemic, and I repeat, IS NOT FOOD.
Nutrition 102 begins with clearing this junk out of your cupboard.
2. Eat Whole Foods Whenever Possible
Whole foods are literally that, not processed in any way, but food at its most simple:
An Apple versus a Fruit Bar
Oatmeal versus Packaged Cereal
Rice versus Crackers
Fish versus Fish Sticks
Vegetables versus Veggie Chips
…. You get the idea! A simple rule of thumb is that if comes with a list of ingredients, it’s not a whole food. A head of lettuce doesn’t require an explanation.
3. Swap Out Wheat for Alternate Grains
Nutrition 102 is ALL about alternate grains: quinoa, brown or wild rice, amaranth, kamut, spelt; there are literally dozens of possibilities out there.
Whole grains are COMPLEX carbs, and give you the benefit of a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals without the straight-to-sugar-in-your-bloodstream of white grains. To your body, simple carbs are roughly the equivalent of simple sugar (and will go right to your waistline in the same way).
Whole grains, on the other hand, are a completely different animal. They give you sustained energy, and are full of nourishing, grounding B vitamins & bone-building minerals. By their very nature they are unprocessed, good-for-you food.
4. Eat Protein at Two Meals a Day
Quality protein is important for energy throughout the day, maintaining a healthy weight and staying well & strong. Protein makes you feel full, has you snacking less, and is literally the stuff that your immune system’s cells are made of.
Healthy daily sources include fish, legumes, organic eggs, nuts, seeds, tofu, and the occasional serving of lean organic meat.
5. Swap Out, Don’t Cut Out
Finally, cutting out all the foods you normally eat that don’t fit the bill is not your recipe for success. If you love munching on chips when you watch TV, switch to air-popped popcorn. If sweets are your weakness, stock your shelves with quality dark chocolate. If fried chicken is your favourite dinner, try bibimbap.
Experiment, try new ingredients, work towards one switch at a time, and don’t beat yourself up over small failures. We’re only human, after all :)
Stay tuned next week for tips on stocking your pantry with nutrient-packed, delicious superfoods that will power your New Year. Let’s call that Nutrition 103!