Have you ever made a list of all the things you want to do daily or weekly to make a roadmap to a simpler lifestyle? I think we all have at one time or another. It can be called a pillar
A pillar is structural support and on your journey to optimal physical and mental health, you need several pillars to give you the structure and support you need. All these pillars combined make up your lifestyle. Being healthy requires several factors such as:
• Intermittent fasting
The last one may be the most important of all for most of us. It is for me because it is a focal point throughout the day. What we eat has the power to change everything to the better, or if your diet is filled with processed junk food, for the worse.
Developing a healthy attitude towards food by looking at it as a way of fueling our bodies, instead of something to be craved and worshipped, will lessen the power food has over you.
As a chef, I have spent my working career preparing foods for people following various lifestyles or in some cases just eating at random whenever they were around foods. I have found over the years that there are about five groups that seem to offer the best choices for a well-rounded meal plan. The ketogenic diet, the paleo diet, the Mediterrane diet, a low carb diet and going gluten-free. There are others of course but these are the ones I have chosen to concentrate on.
Follow these 10 pillars to adopt a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle and enjoy a positive relationship with food.
1. Go Whole!
Eliminate processed and junk food from your diet and choose whole foods with every meal and snack. Whole food is unprocessed and eaten in its natural state, it is highly nutrient-dense and should be the center of every meal. It is often referred to as eating clean. Decrease the amounts of salt, oils and unhealthy fats, and sugars in each meal, or avoid using them altogether by replacing them with healthier substitutes. Of course, if you are on keto, reducing salt might not be an option but you can switch to Himalayan Salt as a better choice than table salt.
2. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Too much or too little of anything is not healthy, even with foods that are good for you. Moderation is what’s important. Keeping a food diary helps you be mindful of what types of food you usually eat. Then, after a week you’ll be able to recognize which foods keep you full longer and which foods spike up your blood sugar levels, leaving you sluggish and unable to focus.
3. Food is Nutrition
Everything we eat provides us with some form of nutrition, depending on its nutrient composition and the amount consumed. Looking at food as a way to fuel our bodies and minds, rather as just something that fills our stomachs, will give you more clarity. It will also allow you to start respecting your body, and, hence, what you put into it.
4. Stop Counting
You are not just a series of calories, nutritional values or a number on a scale. You are so much more than that. Learn to value yourself and boost your self-esteem by establishing healthy eating habits. Instead of beating yourself up for eating something you feel you shouldn’t have, adopt the following attitude: ‘Today, I paid attention to what my body needed so I ate when I felt hungry and stopped before I felt completely full. I had a healthy lunch then had a small serving of fresh berries for dessert.
5. Love your Fat
Fat is an essential macronutrient which we can’t live without, the key is choosing the right fats in the right amounts. Whole foods like nuts, seeds, avocados. avocado oil and olive oil are all great fat choices and a big part of a ketogenic lifestyle.
6. Say Bye To Diets and choose a Lifestyle
To enjoy a healthy lifestyle, you have to be smart about the choices you make. Don’t follow a ‘diet’ for several weeks, only to regain the weight you lost, instead choose to follow a clean eating lifestyle, not another diet. The ketogenic lifestyle can be clean or dirty. Choose the clean keto lifestyle and develop or find recipes to support it. I have found that gluten-free is part of my keto journey and thus it opens up a lot more possibilities. I do put a lot of planning into my meal choices because I enjoy exploring the many different clean foods that are available and what I can create in the kitchen with them.
7. Make A Good Start
Starting each meal with foods lowest in calories and carbs will help with your mindset for the rest of the meal because it makes you aware of how what you eat during that meal will affect the remainder of the day’s food choices. I know I did say not to spend a lot of time counting calories however, until you have been at it for some time, counting can be a very good way to remain focused on your goals.
8. Eat from these Major Food Groups
• Dairy if your keto, no if your paleo
• Fruit if you are allowed.
• Grains if your paleo, not so much if your keto
• Grass raised beef: free-range poultry, some types of wild-caught fish, farm fresh eggs, seeds, and nuts
• Vegetables, there are some restrictions if you are keto
A well-balanced lifestyle means eating from a variety of whole foods from each group.
9. Be mindful of each bite. This is so important but often overlooked by the very people that are striving to lose weight and have a balanced lifestyle. Eating in a rush usually means we end up eating far more than we should. So, focus on your food, how it tastes, how it smells, and how it makes you feel. In all the studies of people that lived for a healthy 100 or more years, there were found to be five areas where they did better than the rest of the world. One of their secrets to success is that they only eat until they are 80 percent full and then they stop eating.
10. Enjoy it! Revel in healthy eating, be aware of how good it feels to treat your body right and fill it only with real, whole and highly nutritious food. Start with small steps such as giving up all processed meats. No more lunchmeat, not processed bacon (raw bacon is ok if you eat pork) pickled meats, etc; That adjustment alone can take a little extra to get started. It took me a little time to get over eating Genoa Salami. I just need to leave it alone because I am an addict when it comes to a good hard salami and sourdough bread. I have replaced them with healthier choices but they still call out to me when I walk past them in an Italian deli.
For tips on almost instant benefits of eating clean that may surprise you see the article:
Today’s Parting Thought: A Clean Eating Whole Foods Lifestyle offers benefits that you may not know for years but over time your body will thank you by remaining healthy as you age.
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