1. Eat from scratch, and I mean, eat from scratch.
No pre-packed, processed crap, which is what our supermarkets foods most consist off. Chopping, mixing, cooking…. that is what you need to do. You will be surprise how much more food you can eat by doing this and how much more nutrition you can obtain from food by cooking it yourself.
Don’t get me wrong, this can take longer than opening a box with a box cutter and sticking it in the oven but by no means I spend hours in the kitchen. In as low as 20-30 minutes you can have awesome dinners cooked from scratch.
In a recent study pre-diabetic people where studied to learn how food could affect their genes. The group was divided in two groups and given exactly the same amount of calories, fat, carbohydrates, protein and fiber for 12 weeks. The difference was only in the quality of carbohydrates they consumed.
They found that the group eating the high quality carbohydrates had smaller fat cells and where more sensitive to insulin, a good thing!!
In this case, this experiment shows how important eating food of highest quality is so crucial. You need to treat your body right, and not like a trash can!! You need to eat real food.
2. Eat plenty of greens, fruits, and whole grains.
In my house we eat a lot of vegetables, fruits and whole grains like brown rice, whole wheat pasta and whole wheat bread. When ever possible eat whole grains, they make a lot of difference. They keep you full longer, because they are digested different than white carbohydrates, they are more difficult to process by the body because they are not simple carbohydrates but complex, they contain much more fiber and more importantly more nutrients.
As far as fruit is concern, I will give you one of my tricks. Sometimes we do not get to eat all of the fruit that we would need or want, so what I do often, almost every day, are smoothies. I buy organic frozen berries like strawberries, raspberries etc and make smoothies. It is a very fast, easy way to get your fruits, and kids love them. I called them ICIES sometimes. I even put flax seed meal or even fresh spinach in them and kids can’t even tell :-). If you want you can also freeze these on ice pop molds for the summer, they are delicious.
3. Buy organic as much as you can.
Hormones and antibiotics in food affect kids even more. I know it can get expensive but do what you can. Dairy, certain veggies and fruits, poultry and meat are most important to get organic.
In my family we love to eat, we don’t deprive ourselves of nothing. Like I said, we keep it fresh and we moderate our servings. If we didn’t exercise we would have to cut our intake drastically, and that we could not tolerate, we love food way too much.
Exercising comes easy for me. I have been exercising since I was little so I consider exercising as essential as eating. If I didn’t exercise I would go nuts. For me exercising is as important as eating!
5. DO NOT DIET, and I mean, DO NOT DIET, IT DOES NOT WORK, AND IT WILL NEVER WORK.
Are you going to be able to be on a diet for the rest of your life? I don’t think so, therefore it will not work. What works is a change in life style. Changing one’s quality of food intake and perhaps exercising in moderation if possible, that works. I can not stress this enough, depriving oneself of food will never work.
I have never experimented with any diets out there. I actually don’t even like the word diet. I have been lucky enough to realize that what really works is eating from scratch (cooking everything yourself), moderate servings, eat real quality food and exercise if possible. All food groups should be eaten and none should be avoided, which is normally what some of the diets out there wants you to do.
When I mention you need to eat real quality food, I mean, EAT REAL QUALITY FOOD. When you read a product ingredient list and see names that you wouldn’t know or have in your house, DO NOT buy it, as simple as that.
I know people are different and what may work for someone may not work for another but following these simple rules will almost work for anyone. This is not a diet it is pretty much just following a healthy eating life style…..that is what works….that is the key…..it is simply the secret!!
A gradual change on one’s lifestyle that could be carried on for the rest of one’s life is what works. You, and you only, should arrive to that healthy lifestyle and define what changes work for you, what ever makes you comfortable. It is normally not about the pounds, although that helps, but about how much better you feel physically and mentally.
6. Get enough sleep.
This is crucial and of most importance.
7. There are only a few things we do not eat that I tell friends, and family to stay away from which are TRANS FATS (AKA partially hydrogenated fats) HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) and MSG (monosodium glutamate) and artificial sweeteners to name a few. Also artificial colors and flavors.
So this is pretty much what I follow. I try to keep food as natural as possible, eat at least 3 meals p/d, cook from scratch and since I have a huge sweet tooth, bake all of my goodies….. I think I could never give up sweets!!
I also exercise 5 times per week for 1 hour minimum doing cardio (like running and swimming), strength training exercises and weightlifting.
My food philosophy in a nutshell:
Eat without depriving yourself of anything. (Processed and junk food does not count though). When eating things such as rice, pasta and bread try to eat the whole grain counterparts.Eat food of highest quality. EAT REAL FOOD. If you want ice cream, eat real ice cream. If you want a cookie, eat a real cookie, and if you want cake, eat real cake. A cake made with 30 ingredients and fake frosting from the supermarket does not count.Eat from scratch. Cooking meals yourself helps you control what it is in your food allowing you to increase its quality to include less sodium, bad fats and tons of sugar.
Don’t skip any meals, especially breakfast. You need to get your metabolism going and start burning calories!! (If you have any questions about this go to the FAQ section for more info).Moderate your servings. This doesn’t mean you have to eat bird portion sizes or gigantic ones either. Use your common sense 🙂 Exercise when ever possible, walk, run, swim, bike etc If you can get a routine even better, what ever works for you.Try to avoid fake foods and try to buy organic and natural foods when ever possible. Do what you can.
Try to avoid soda, even diet versions, and when drinking juices make sure they are 100% juice. Just don’t over drink juice though, 1/2 cup to 1 cup per day is plenty. You don’t want to drink your calories now do you? Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate with H2O and nothing else!! This is not food related but it is very important. You need to make sure you get enough sleep. This is crucial to have your body in balance and allow your immune system to do its job well.
Switching to a healthier life style takes time and effort. Planning is key but once you start, trust me, it gets much easier!!
Don’t go crazy and don’t try to switch everything all at once. Take your time and take gradual steps. If you can, reward yourself in the process. 🙂