Healthy Eating Guide - 10 Tips

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The best aspect about food is that it's not really that complicated. There are a couple of important nutrients, but even animals know how to get the right food - they just follow their instincts.

Humans have the advantage of science - knowing what is good for us and why. At the same time, they have the disadvantage of having become disconnected from mother nature. We no longer listen to our instincts, instead we buy what the commercial machinery suggests we should be.

After reading many books and testing their claims, I have come up with an eating guide. This comprehensive guide is going to tell you what's important and how it affects you.




1. Diversification



"Too much of anything is a poison"


In the media, we are always bombarded with new studies that suggest that you can get cancer from tomatoes, cancer from potatoes, poisoning from fish, and so on. Don't you just get the feeling that all of a sudden, everything is poison?

Most of the time, the things you hear are just junk. TV stations use a survey and turn the facts around. An insignificant increase in cancer probably by 0.1% during a study is interpreted as a major health risk for everyone who eats carrots, for instance.

Nevertheless, there is some truth in what we hear. It all boils down to a simple rule of wisdom. Diversify your food. If you diversify your stock portfolio and diversify what you do with your free time, why not diversify what you eat?

It's best to pick something new every once in a while. In every month, eat some meat, some fish, some exotic vegetables, some home-grown vegetables, try some new foods you haven't heard of before. Just give it a good mix. If you are especially eco-friendly, just go with the seaons and see what's different in autumn/fall (pumpkins) and in other seasons.


2. Skip processed foods - and thereby high amounts of carbs



If you read my other blog entries, you will quickly find out I am a big fan of the low carb philosophy. The reason for this is that I lose a lot of weight reducing my carb intake.

Carbohydrates are sugars, and they can be found in many foods. They appear naturally in fruits and starchy vegetables like potatoes and rice. The only problem nowadays is that we don't know when enough is enough. Centuries ago, we were grateful to get potatoes on our plates. Nowadays, everything is full of french fries, noodles and bread in different variations. The western world is so full of food that we even through away 50% of everything.

You don't believe me? Well, if you like, try some dumpster diving. I can assure you, if you try checking your grocery's garbage containers at night, you might be in for a big surprise. The waste is enormous. And with waste, I mean wasted food.

Back to our topic: From a biological point of view, humans are genetically used to eating only moderate amounts of carbs. Think about what your ancestors must have eaten. They had to work very hard to make a living, and thus burned a lot of energy. Then they were lucky to come across an apple, let alone a whole sack of potatoes.

If you want to live healthy, look at the countries with the highest life expectancy. Japan, for example. In Okinawa, people eat a lot of fish and sea weed, and not much else. They certainly don't eat french fries with ketchup. Speaking of which, let's go to our next topic.


3. Protein is life



Most people don't know what they consist of. Yes, a lot of water, bones, muscles and fat. But what are muscles, enzymes and the immune system made of? The answer is: Proteins.

Everything that serves a function in our body somehow relies on proteins. Neither fats nor sugars are the building pieces, but proteins.

If you believe that you already eat enough proteins, you might be wrong. Before I read about them, I did not really care what I was eating. So I just ate my chocolate, my bread, and maybe some vegetables, but the amount of protein that I got was just much too little.

Protein shakes are good for your health and give you a real boost on protein. But if you like more natural sources of protein, read my post about How To Combine Different Protein Sources for even more effective protein.


4. Stock up on Omega 3



More and more studies indicate that omega 3 is really important for a healthy lifestyle. Omega 3 is a fatty acid that can most easily be found in fish, especially fish that contains a lot of fat, like salmon. But it can also be found in game animals like deer.

Omega 3 is good for your heart, brain, eyes and body processes. As you have read before, people in japan eat a lot of fish and have a very high life expectancy. You can easily recognize that this can be attributed to omega 3.


5. Vitamins are underestimated



A lot of people say that vitamins are no good at all, especially as pills. I disagree. I do have to admit that I didn't feel much healthier after using a lot of vitamins, I did notice that I haven't gotten a cold in a really, really long time. Ever since I started using vitamin C and others deliberately, I had less physical problems and a lot less complaining to do.

Not only do vitamins prevent you from getting a cold, they also prevent cancer. Some people say that vitamins are useless or even dangerous. I have a question for these people: Why is something useless or dangerous that can be found for free in nature and is consumed by millions of animals, but pharmaceutical products that earn companies millions are just faaaaantastic? Notice my sarcasm and make up your mind about this question.

Vitamins are very common in fruits and vegetables.


6. Minerals are in the shadow of vitamins



Everyone talks about vitamins, either in a good or bad way, but fewer people talk about minerals. They are very similar to vitamins, they can be consumed as pills or naturally, and also serve body functions in similar ways as vitamins.

Some of the most useful are iron, magnesium and calcium. It would be unfair to limit their usability only to one function, but to make it easier, let's just say that iron plays a key role in blood, magnesium helps digestion and nerves and calcium is for bones.

In nature, you can easily find minerals in nuts, but also in vegetables.


7. Secondary plant compounds - virtually unknown, but with hidden meaning



What we call secondary plant compounds today might be the next "vitamin" in 50 years. Let me explain: An apple has hundreds of different compounds, some of them are vitamins, minerals, fibers and so on. Only a few dozen of these compounds can be artificially produced in labs - one of them being vitamin C. What we need to understand is that there are still hundreds of undiscovered, unresearched compounds in an apple.

For instance, a lemon has compounds that make its vitamin C 80 times more effective. 80 times. What a crazy number that is! Wow! Just think about it. You can't buy this in stores! If you drink vitamin C with freshly squeezed lemon juice (the lemon already contains vitamin C anyways), you get a huge health boost. 

So what are secondary plant compounds? They are materials in fruits or vegetables that may already have scientific names but are not very well known to most people. Whenever you eat a plant, whichever it is, you get lots of compounds that have healthy beneftis for you without you knowing how they all interact. It's the way nature works. You just have to go with it and have trust.


8. Drink more water than what you're used to



We mostly drink too little. Feeling thirsty is not a reminder of your body to drink, it's already a sign of dehydration. You need to drink more than you think. It all helps, not just for weight loss.

An easy rule of thumb is to drink at least one glass of water per hour. If you need to visit the bathroom more regularly, it's a good sign.

Drinking a lot of water helps your organs get rid of poison, avoid kidney stones and other nasty stuff, and improve digestion.


9. Become grateful for your meal again



I would rather not write a post about healthy eating without mentioning at least one psychological aspect. If food becomes meaningless, like it does for most people who only rely on junk food, there is nothing special to it any more.

Once in a while, it's good to remind ourselves that we should be grateful for what we have. It goes for everything in life, doesn't it? Romance, health, happiness, peace, food. So many things we take for granted, not being aware that billions of people out there suffer of some of the problems related with them.

How do you appreciate food again? I can think of two easy ways. Choose one of them:

Number one: Try some fasting. It is not only meant for losing weight, but also to get connected with your inner self again and to realise what the value of food is. Deliberately suffer from not eating for at least a whole day and night. Some people do this religiously! The next time you eat again, I promise you will be grateful.

Number two: Limit yourself to only certain types of food, like only liquid food, or only meals without carbs. Not only will this be healthy and introduce you to some weight loss techniques, you will also value "normal" food again and not swallow everything without consideration.


10. Become inspired by the tastes of the world



Remember my first point about diversification? Here is something for you to consider that make open new doors for you into amazing new worlds. Try food from all around the world. You would be surprised how many new meals will satisfy your hunger. I bet that some of these meals will even make it on your list of favorite meals.

I bear witness that this is true. There was a time in my life when I believed that Indian food was just hot and not edible at all. Then I got introduced into the mild taste of Indian cuisine, including meals such as Dhal Makhani and Butter Chicken. Since the time I realised how wonderful Indian food is, I always have been keeping a bowl full of Indian spices in my kitchen.

Not only do you discover new meals for variation, you also discover new ingredients that are healthy and would never have come your way otherwise. Think of turmeric, chili or ginger. They all have some sort of health benefit (read more here: Spices and their health benefits).


Conclusion



 Let's recap the best guidelines you can blindly follow for staying healthy:


  • Diversify your food as much as possible
  • Eat much of what's natural and little of what's processed
  • Always have protein in your meals
  • Eat something containing omega 3 at least once a week
  • Consume lots of vitamins and minerals - and don't shy away from using pills
  • Eat fruits and vegetables to get compounds - materials that science hasn't caught up with yet
  • Drink a lot of water to stay healthy and young
  • Learn to appreciate even modest meals again
  • Discover the wide world of food cultures, it's like travelling the world itself!


By the way: If you are also interested in losing weight, then maybe you would like to read this post here: How To Lose Weight The Healthy Way.
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