‘Those who think they have no time for healthy eating will sooner or later have to find time for illness’ ~ Edward Stanley
A varied, well balanced diet is a basic requirement for healthy lifestyle living. Without the proper “fuel” your body and mind won’t function at peak performance. A healthy body and mind is paramount if you want to make the most of your life.
A good diet based on solid nutritional principles is essential for good health. By diet I’m not referring to some fad in which you totally eliminate a certain kind of food or try to survive on magic powders. I’m talking about a balanced plan of nutrition that is optimized to achieve health and fitness and provide the proper fuel to power you through your day.
A well balanced nutritious diet, especially one low in fat and sugar, helps to prevent stress, and is essential for the maintenance of good health. A poor diet creates a nutritional deficiency which impairs the health of the body, and the brain, affecting our thoughts, feelings and behaviour. So when starting on a stress management routine it is vital to begin a healthy eating plan.
‘He that takes medicine and neglects diet wastes the skills of the physician’. ~ Chinese Proverb
Your diet has a major impact on your energy levels, how well you sleep, your levels of health and fitness, and on how you perform throughout the day and into the evening. All of which has an effect on your stress levels.
A poor diet will create a feeling of tiredness and sluggishness and can lead to weight gain, which in itself can be detrimental to your health and stress levels. To get the best out of your body and mind you need to eat the right foods, in the right balance, at the right time.
A well balanced diet is essential for you to achieve optimum health. This diet should consist of complex carbohydrates, protein, plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, and lots of water. Saturated fats, sugars and salts should be kept to a minimum.
The Healthy Lifestyle – Healthy Eating Principles
Decide today to move your diet away from fatty, sugary, salty food, to healthy, nutritious foods. Take complete control of what you put into your body; it’s your first line of defence against stress.
‘The wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings. Let food be your medicine’. ~ Hippocrates
If you want to follow a healthy, balanced diet it really is quite simple, all you need to do is follow the principles I’m about to provide you with. All it is going to take on your behalf is the commitment and personal determination. You only get one body so it’s best if you look after it.
The suggestions I am about to give you, are part of my Healthy Lifestyle Eating Plan, and have been adopted by many hundreds of my clients, who have achieved unbelievable results. Of course many have started it with the main goal of losing weight. They succeeded in this. But each and every one of them benefited in other ways as well. For example, many noticed an increase in energy, vast improvements in sleep patterns, less anxiety, more productivity, and yes, a reduction in stress.
One thing I am 100% certain about, is that whatever your age, shape or gender, following the suggestions I am about to give you will bring very positive outcomes to you, and I also know nobody out there would be unable to follow the guidelines. So, if your health means as much to you as how you think you look, and it certainly should, make this change a ‘must do’.
‘You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces— just good food from fresh ingredients’. ~ Julia Child
Here are the principles that I incorporate in my Healthy Lifestyle Plan that you need to follow for a Healthy Eating Nutritious Diet:
Principle 1: Keep Below 10 Grams of Fat per Meal
By choosing low fat options in all that you eat, keeping below 10 grams of fat per meal, you will be maintaining your fat intake well within the recommended limits for good health. You need to be careful because fat can be hidden in foods where you don’t expect it. Always count up the fat portions of each item you eat to ensure you don’t go over your meal limit, get into the habit of reading the nutritional labels on any packaging.
Principle 2: Eat 5/6 Small Frequent Meals per Day – Spread 2 1/2 To 3 Hours Apart
You should eat 6 small meals a day. Just don’t tell my Mum I’m telling you this, because like many of you, the advice we were given as children, was to eat our 3 square meals, and not to snack in between. Well it was wrong. When you eat every few hours, you maintain a good blood sugar level which will give you energy throughout the day; you will experience less hunger pangs and cravings, and food is more efficiently absorbed and processed by your body.
Principle 3: Curtail Simple Carbohydrates and Eat Complex Carbohydrates
Simple carbohydrates are best described as fast releasing carbohydrates, single or double molecules that are quickly broken down and digested into glucose (basic sugar molecule) that the body either retains as glycogen, both in the muscles and liver or quickly releases into the bloodstream to fuel the brain and muscles, which when consumed give you a sudden instant energy boost which doesn’t last for long and these should be limited in your diet. These sugars provide only energy (calories) and nothing else.
Sources of simple carbohydrates include: Bakery Goods, Biscuits, Cakes, Chocolate, Dried Fruit, Soft Sugary Drinks, Sweets, Table Sugar, White Bread, White Rice.
Complex carbohydrates are bulky, low in fat and often high in fibre, these foods fill you up without providing too many calories. Because of their complex structure, the body takes longer to break them down into glucose. Therefore glucose is released slowly into the blood stream over a longer period.
Examples of Complex Carbohydrates: Brown Rice, Cereal, Fruits, Grains, Nuts, Potatoes, Starchy Vegetables (Potatoes; Corn: Peas; Beans), Whole Grain Bread, Wholemeal Pasta.
Load up on complex carbohydrates, avoid simple carbohydrates.
Principle 4: Increase Protein Consumption
Eating plenty of quality protein helps to build strength, develop athletic performance, and maintain health. Proteins are a main constituent of all plant and animal tissues. Our bodies constantly pull together, break down and utilise proteins, and it is important that your diet provides enough protein daily to replace that which is used up. It is essential to have protein in your diet to stay strong and healthy, which is of the utmost importance in your battle against stress.
The best protein-rich foods are those that are low in fat, such as:
• High-protein shakes
• Chicken or turkey breast
• Egg whites
• Fish and shellfish
• Very lean cuts of red meat
• Low-fat or non-fat dairy products
Principle 5: Never Eat Carbohydrates By Themselves (Eat With Protein And/ Or Vegetables)
Each meal needs to provide your body with a nutritional balance. You should aim to divide your plate into four, having a portions of lean (low fat) Protein in one quarter, a portion of Carbohydrates, and portions of Salad and Vegetables. This balance will keep your blood sugar and insulin levels stable which is necessary to get your body into peak mode. This balance also helps control your appetite, so you are less tempted by unhealthy foods.
Principle 6: Drink At Least 8 Glasses Of Water Daily
Drink 6-8 glasses of water per day. Drinking water makes you feel less hungry, has no calories, and has countless health benefits. Make it easy for yourself by carrying a bottle of water around with you. Being dehydrated will make you tired. Drinking lots of water will flush out salts, toxins, waste products, and other residues that can build up in your system and slow you down. You will feel much better just by increasing your daily water intake.
Principle 7: Starve Your Body Of Carbohydrates For 48 Hours Every 2 Weeks
Your body responds to a restriction of carbohydrate consumption by initiating a drop in your insulin levels, and an increase in your glucagon levels. Glucagon is a hormone that brings about an increase in body fat burning as well as removing cholesterol from your body. By restricting carbohydrates, your body will go into a state of ketosis, where your blood sugar levels stabilise, insulin levels drop, and you burn body fat. I suggest that every 2 weeks, eliminate your carbohydrate consumption for 2 consecutive days. Even though 48 hours is a very short time, I have found that these two days every 2 weeks do make a difference. A big reason, is that you are in control, and showing your willpower and commitment to yourself.
Principle 8: Never Eat Carbohydrates Before Bed Time
As your metabolism slows down while you are asleep, eating large meals late at night before bedtime, especially high calorie carbohydrate meals, increases the likelihood that you will be storing many of these calories as fat, while you are sleeping..
It is best to restrict carbohydrate consumption up to an hour and a half before going to bed. So if you retire at 10 pm, then my advice is not to eat after 8:30.
Principle 9: Eat Plenty Of Fruit And Vegetables (Eat Only Fruit At Snack Time)
Increase your daily intake of fruits and vegetables, I recommend you eat a minimum of 5 portions of fresh fruit and vegetables per day, which will provide you with important vitamins and minerals.
A healthy balanced diet will include fruits and vegetables. I suggest 2 to 4 servings of fruit and 3 to 5 servings of vegetables each day. Eating as much of this in it’s natural state as possible, raw, uncooked, is important as it will retain many of the nutrients which are lost during the cooking process.
Five portions a day from the fruit and vegetable group is a minimum and you can aim for 7, 8 or even more! They are low in calories and full of goodness
Principle 10: Keep Salt Consumption Below 2 Grams Daily
Cut down on salt, many foods already contain salt so there is no need to add extra. Research shows that by reducing your salt consumption you will lower blood pressure.. A study by the Food Standards Agency in 2003 found that people’s regular salt intake increases the risk of high blood pressure, which in turn increases the risk of other major health problems..
Principle 11: Reduce Caffeine Intake
Cut down on caffeine. By following the other principles in this section you should no longer need caffeine as your energy booster. You will now be finding your energy levels far exceed what they once were. Too much coffee contributes to feelings of irritability, mood swings, upset stomachs as well as sleep disturbance. The recommended level of consumption is 300 milligrams daily. Aim to have no more than two cups a day, of coffee, caffeinated tea, or fizzy drinks. Instead it will be far better for you to drink Green Tea or Water.
Principle 12: Eat A Good Breakfast
Start your morning off correctly. Start the day with a good healthy breakfast; this can be very beneficial as this is the best time to eat well. Stress seems to affect people most strongly when they are feeling hungry. When your body is not fuelled you tend to feel more worn out, your mind feels more sluggish and then stress strikes hardest. By not eating breakfast you are leaving yourself susceptible to stress.
Your lifestyle does affect your health. It’s time to begin to look toward doing something about it. The choices you make now and in the future will determine how well you will live. By taking the time to learn these tips and implementing them, you can live longer and healthier.
‘If the doctors of today do not become the nutritionists of tomorrow, then the nutritionists of today will become the doctors of tomorrow’. ~Rockefeller Institute of Medicine Research