Let’s face it; when we are feeling run down or sick, it usually comes on the heels of not eating properly.
Either eating unhealthy foods or not eating enough by skipping meals are the main culprits of a body depleted of its nutrients. In the history of modern civilization, we have never had more food available to us. We are eating more than ever before, yet, we’re starved. Our bodies are screaming at us to eat more real food, yet we feed it chemicals and other fillers and it just doesn’t know what to do with it. How can we make our time more meaningful if our bodies and brains are starved of energy?
Most of us know how to eat properly, but for many different reasons, we just refuse to do so. Here are a few reminders so that maybe one will stick, and we can reclaim the time that we waste feeding our bodies junk and instead, use our time to be more productive and meaningful.
Get away from processed foods
We know foods that have come out of a machine are not healthy for us, yet we are addicted to it, we can’t help ourselves! We are convinced that processed foods are faster, easier and more convenient. But the truth with these “foods” is that while we may save time today, we will pay for it later when our bodies finally break down from years of being fed substances that it never was meant to have. Stick to a diet laden with foods that do not need an ingredient list. For those times when you have no choice but to graze on processed foods, stick to items that have a concise list and know what each item on the list is; the smaller the list of ingredients the better. Would you chow down on a bowl full of sodium benzoate? No, but it is a preservative found in your bread and is considered “safe in small doses.” Just because it is edible, doesn’t make it food!
Eat with a purpose
When you choose food, be sure that it is serving a purpose within your body. Refrain from eating just because you are hungry. You wouldn’t put water into the empty gas tank of your car just because the fuel light comes on, no you feed your car what it needs: gas. Eat foods with the most amount of nutrition with the least amount of calories. One of the most significant issues with western diets is that we eat out of boredom, or the perceived state of boredom. When we continuously feed our bodies with low nutrient food, our brain (the biggest consumer of your nutrients) tricks us into eating more until it gets what it needs. The problem is, we are eating more food than is necessary for our bodies to handle. The excess calories are turned into fat and the cycle of obesity begins. The next time you grab a snack, ensure what you are about to consume might fill a nutrient need within your body. It will thank you for that with focus and energy to tackle the task at hand.
Know your sugar
We all know too much sugar is bad for us, but why? Excess glucose from sugar turns into body fat, it is our body’s way of storing excess energy for later, kind of like a battery. The problem with excess sugar consumption over time is that our cells become immune to insulin. Insulin is the hormone released into our bloodstream that turns glucose (the good part of sugar) into energy for our muscles and brain to use. When our cells become immune to insulin (diabetes), glucose gets poured right into our bloodstream which leads to all kinds of bad things to happen to our bodies. Like everything in life, sugar is excellent when consumed within the confines of a balanced diet.
Look out for protein
Protein is essential for the repair and creation of tissue within our bodies. We should all love protein, but there is such a thing as having too much of a good thing. Our bodies cannot store excess protein, while it does it’s best to use it all, our body turns excess protein into fat, and this process hurts our kidneys and liver. The best practice is to eat protein in every meal and not stock up on it in one sitting. Most of us need about 25-30 g of protein in each meal which translates into just about 2/3 of a can of tuna or 4 eggs. So spread your protein out throughout the day and allow your body a chance to metabolize it into muscle instead of fat.
Befriend the fats
There is a lot of stigmas attached to fat in our diets. We tie the fats that we eat to the fat around our waistline and the ban on trans-fats makes the word “fat” seem rather ominous. But a fat-free diet is one that is not complete. We need healthy fats like omega-3 and omega-6 for proper brain function. Most healthy fats also help in the absorption of vitamins like A, D, E and K. We get healthy fats in avocados, fatty fish (salmon, trout, etc.), nuts and eggs. Fats are our best friend when it comes to overall well-being and should not be avoided.
To give our time meaning we must focus on a balanced diet. Cutting carbs, fat or sugar from your diet only starves your body and brain of the nutrients it needs to function. Instead, understand the food you are eating by reading the labels and questioning just what it is you are putting in your mouth. We have a vast amount of quick information to us at a moments notice, when you need to know what a particular food gives you, or the word that is stumping you on an ingredient list, look it up. Eat with a purpose, your brain, your body and your overall well being will thank you. Give eating more meaning.
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Also published on Medium.