The Importance of a Healthy Diet: When most people hear the word ‘diet’ they think of a temporary change in eating habits designed to lose weight. However this is not how you should think of dieting. Your diet is your daily eating regiment and if you wish to maintain health and fitness it should be consistent everyday of your life. How many people have you known that started a temporary change in their eating habits to lose weight, then went back to their normal way of eating and gained it all back? Perhaps this has happened to you as well…
It’s time to re-define what it means to ‘diet’.
Consider what you eat in a normal day of your life. Do you eat fast-food? Do you drink soda or sugary sports drinks? How much sugar is in the foods you eat? You may not know this, but a healthy diet is much more than calorie counting. A healthy diet is about selecting quality foods and maintaining a consist eating schedule.
Be careful not to DRINK your calories! Did you know that a soda or sugary sport drink can pack on pounds and cause a great deal of harm to your body? Let’s consider what a single can of Coke will do:
In the first 10 minutes: 10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system. (100% of your recommended daily intake.) You don’t immediately vomit from the overwhelming sweetness because phosphoric acid cuts the flavor, allowing you to keep it down.
20 minutes: Your blood sugar spikes, causing an insulin burst. Your liver responds to this by turning any sugar it can get its hands on into fat. (And there’s plenty of that at this particular moment.)
40 minutes: Caffeine absorption is complete. Your pupils dilate; your blood pressure rises; as a response, your liver dumps more sugar into your bloodstream. The adenosine receptors in your brain are now blocked, preventing drowsiness.
45 minutes: Your body ups your dopamine production, stimulating the pleasure centers of your brain. This is physically the same way heroin works, by the way.
60 minutes: The phosphoric acid binds calcium, magnesium, and zinc in your lower intestine, providing a further boost in metabolism. This is compounded by high doses of sugar and artificial sweeteners also increasing the urinary excretion of calcium.
60+ minutes: The caffeine’s diuretic properties come into play. (It makes you have to pee.) It is now assured that you’ll evacuate the bonded calcium, magnesium, and zinc that was headed to your bones as well as sodium, electrolytes, and water.
90+ minutes: As the rave inside you dies down, you’ll start to have a sugar crash. You may become irritable and/or sluggish. You’ve also now, literally, pissed away all the water that was in the Coke. But not before infusing it with valuable nutrients your body could have used for things like hydrating your system, or building strong bones and teeth. This will all be followed by a caffeine crash in the next few hours. (As little as two if you’re a smoker.)
Pretty shocking right? Don’t be fooled by companies pushing their soft drinks on you – they are ALL bad and will result in poor health. The amazing thing is how easily these companies can market their poison to kids. You can see their brands in High Schools and served at High School cafeterias! This is similar to the tobacco industry (back in the 70’s) when it was permissible to promote smoking in TV commercials and even sell cigarette gum to children.
Their was a recent study on American childhood obesity and how children were trapped in a cycle of weight loss and weight gain due to improper dietary habits. In all cases this involved fast food and sodas. The kids were basically addicted to fast food and found the allure of a cheeseburger, French fries and a Coke to difficult to resist. A study later revealed that this type of food has an addictive reaction to the brain similar to cocaine! Have you ever tried to stop eating ALL junk food; such as pizza, burgers, tacos, etc.? If you have you know how difficult it is to resist.
So what is a ‘good’ daily diet? If you are serious about improving your health (and looking great) then you will want to eliminate all fast foods, sugary drinks (soda and sport drinks) and eat only foods your body can use. This means selecting healthy organic (non-processed) foods that are low in sugary and sodium. You will also need to maintain a consistent eating schedule to avoid ‘binge eating’. If you are used to eating fast food then you can expect the first couple weeks to be very difficult as your body will crave the sugary and fatty food that most fast food chains offer. After a couple weeks it becomes easier to resist the temptations.
Healthy diet suggestions: Drink plenty of water. I know it is not the most satisfying drink if you are used to soda, but it will work at as an appetite suppressant and it is calorie free! Oatmeal (by Quaker Oatmeal Brand) is a great breakfast alternative to eggs, bacon, and orange juice. Oats have a high fiber content and low calorie/sugar. Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and nutrient dense, which means they are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Focus on eating the recommended daily minimum of five servings of fruit and vegetables and it will naturally fill you up and help you cut back on unhealthy foods. A serving is half a cup of raw fruit or veg or a small apple or banana, for example. Most of us need to double the amount we currently eat.
Greens: Branch out beyond lettuce. Kale, mustard greens, broccoli, and Chinese cabbage are all packed with calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, zinc, and vitamins A, C, E, and K.
Sweet vegetables: Naturally sweet vegetables – such as corn, carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, yams, onions, and squash – add healthy sweetness to your meals and reduce your cravings for added sugars.
A healthy diet has benefits that go far beyond your looks! Your emotional state and daily energy are greatly influenced by your diet. So by eating better you will look better, feel better and have more energy!