When we talk about healthy eating, it’s not just about following a strict diet regimen, limiting our calorie count, eating lots of “healthy foods” that doesn’t even taste good, or being skinny. In fact, healthy eating is about enjoying delicious meals, maintaining a healthy weight, having a healthy body, strong immune system and feeling really alive.
All you need to do to achieve healthy eating is choosing the right foods to eat, and cooking the right meals that is simple and nutritious at the same time. Below are some pointers to show you what healthy eating is not about and what it’s really about.
What Healthy Eating is “Not” About
- It’s not about eating tasteless and bland food
- There are some people that still thinks of eating bland and tasteless foods is the only way to have a healthy body. But in reality, that isn’t the case after all. When we eat “bland” foods, it means that there are no nutrients in that meal in the first place. What our body needs are nutrients such as carbs, proteins, fats, minerals, vitamins, and enzymes. Don’t think of eating lettuce paired with steamed chicken breast and boiled carrots, how about preparing something delicious and healthy for once? Your taste buds will thank you later.
- It’s not about your calorie intake
- Some people think that being healthy is about eating less and doing lots of exercise. Wrong. When you exercise a lot, you’ll probably end up being hungry. And if you eat less, your body will think that you’re trying to starve yourself which is very unhealthy. You can still exercise more as long as you choose the right foods to eat and get rid of the wrong ones. This isn’t about calories, it’s about the quality of the food instead of the quantity.
- It’s not about the food pyramid
- Government agencies or health organizations posted a lot of “recommended” eating guidelines that are plastered all over the place these days. While some of these advices are pretty good, a lot of it are just made up by them and doesn’t even stay true to some of the most recent scientific studies. What’s even confusing is that different health agencies give different food guidelines, making it a harder choice for you which one to pick that’ll really benefit your body.
- It’s not about avoiding animal fat
- For decades, humans have been eating a lot of animal fat. Until one day, when the 20th century had begun, we were led to believe that animal fat isn’t essential for our body and eating low fat foods is a much healthier choice. This is the time where a lot of food manufacturing companies are producing low-fat products to be sold in the market. However, such products include unhealthy ingredients that’s not beneficial for our body. There’s nothing wrong with eating animal fat as long as it came from quality sources and are consumed moderately.
- It’s not about getting rid of your comfort food
- It’s hard to give up comfort food. But that isn’t the case when we want to eat healthy. In fact, you can still enjoy your favorite mac n’ cheese, pizza, and ice cream as long as you consume it moderately. When you eat them 5 times a week before, make it once a week now. When you eat moderately, your body will tell you that you stop feeding your body with these kinds of food.
- You may want to follow the 80/20 rule if you want to start healthy eating. It’s a rule created by Vilfredo Pareto which means that 20% of your efforts will yield 80% of results. In terms of food, this means that choosing the right meals to eat will give spectacular results.
What Healthy Eating is About
- It’s about getting rid of unhealthy foods
- Try thinking about food as a language. The foods we consume send messages to our entire body even to our cells and genes. When we eat the wrong foods, we send the wrong signals to our body. For example, when we eat a white processed bread to give our body that much needed energy boost, it gives us 2 messages.
- The sugar found in the bread triggers insulin which tells our body to store more carbs as fat
- Doesn’t give us enough nutrients making our body hungry for more and want to eat more.
- This will lead to weight gain in the long run or even diabetes if not prevented. With that being said, eating fake, processed foods sends the wrong message to our body and prevents us from being healthy. If you want to eat healthy, discipline yourself by getting rid/reducing unhealthy foods from your eating habits.
- It’s about consuming the right foods
- Now that you’re done getting rid of unhealthy foods out of your diet, it’s time to enter in the healthy ones that sends the right message to your body. Our genes haven’t changed much for years and this means that we are still Paleolithic hunter-gatherers. Which means that our body is meant to follow the diet humans have been doing for the last millions of years, not the ones that are being practiced for 150 years or so.
- Whole plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds should always be included in our diet. Same goes for animal products such as meat, fish, animal fat, and organ meats. Now these are foods that you should consume every day. This also applies for carbs, fats, and also protein as well.
- It’s about knowing your body
- The saying “one man’s meat is another man’s poison” is definitely true. Even though all of us have the same genetic makeup, each of us is still different when it comes to eating food. With that being said, you may find a particular food delicious for you, but not for others. This is why no one size fits all are being implemented in some diets.
- When you want to start your healthy eating journey, you must know your body first and determine what’s healthy for you and what’s not. Your body will absorb food differently than other people. Some will do better with more fat in their diet, and there are others that cannot. This is why a lot of diets are made that can suit for different people. If you’re comfy with a vegetarian diet then go for it, if you’re not feeling Paleo diet is for you, then don’t. At the end of the day, there isn’t a single diet in the world that’s perfect. All we need to do is listen to our body.
How to Design a Healthy Eating Plan
- Most people fail to follow their healthy eating diet plans because of lack of organization and proper planning. When this happens, you’ll end up devouring boxes of pizza, pasta, or any other kinds of unhealthy foods for the week. And this is the thing that we really want to avoid.
- Planning your meals is a recipe for success for healthy eating. Stop for a moment and think about what to eat that will benefit your body before going to the grocery. Don’t go too much over the top, just take things slowly and let the process do its thing.
- Food choices
- Healthy eating is a slow process that can be learned one step at a time, and it goes far beyond what food you put on your plate. It’s not just giving “fuel” to your body as if it was a gas tank. It’s not also about chugging down everything while watching your favorite TV show, or browsing social media, without really knowing what exactly you’re eating.
- In reality, eating food is something that you enjoy doing, that can bring satisfaction and happiness to your stomach. Healthy eating also means making real meals such as breakfast, reduce snacking on unhealthy foods, drinking lots of water, chewing your food thoroughly, and eating until you’re 80% full. Not just that, it’s also about sharing your experience with others, and educating your children (if you had one) about what foods to eat to by healthy and strong. To sum it all up, it’s about enjoying the moment while having a happy stomach.
- Cooking food the right way
- Some people tend to overlook how they cook their food, when in reality, this is also one of the most important aspects when it comes to healthy eating. How you prepare your food is important to make the nutrients in foods available and healthy. For example, study shows that cooking broccoli in boiling water for more than 10 minutes will kill enzymes and destroy its vitamins and antioxidants. Another example is baking salmon until it’s fully cooked will alter its omega-3s. Poached egg is healthy, but fried egg will turn your cholesterol levels unstable.
- The list goes on and on when we alter our food. The more we alter our food, the less nutrients we get from eating such. Cooking food may be one way to make it more digestible, but you need to know the right way how to cook such to retain its nutrients.