Diets?? Yes, over the years I have tried many diets, restrictions, and outright dangerous concoctions in hopes to lose a few pounds or feel more comfortable with a shirt off. As I started to age, I realized that I had gained a sense of wisdom about my overall health that I would have once brushed off my shoulder. I realized that every aspect of life, including my diet, is about BALANCE. I am not going to starve or deprive myself of something because of some fad diet that I saw on an infomercial. I have, however developed a few simple rules that I try and follow when making food choices. Here are 5 SIMPLE diet changes that can have a major impact on your health:
1. Sugary drinks are the worst part of the American diet.
Added sugar is just a disaster and the liquid form is even worse. The average can of soda is about 150 calories, almost all of them from sugar, usually high-fructose corn syrup. That’s the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of table sugar. If you were to drink just one can of a sugar-sweetened soft drink every day, and not cut back on calories elsewhere, you could gain up to 5 pounds in a year.
If you change just one thing about your diet, this should be it. Reach for a glass of water instead of a soda. Pour a cup of coffee rather than guzzling down an energy drink. Trust me, you will see the results.
2. Claims like "Fat Free", "Organic" or "Gluten Free" do not mean healthy.
It is hard to keep up with all the health "trends" these days but just because it is a trend does not mean it is healthy. Believe me, coming from a family filled with every allergy you can imagine I understand the need for "gluten free" products. This does not give you a free pass to down 4 slices of sausage crust pizza every night. Remember....BALANCE! This brings me to my next step...
3. Moderation is key.
Remember the theme here...balance. We all need a balance of carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, and minerals to sustain a healthy body. Your life is a marathon, not a sprint. You need to enjoy the wonderful things, especially the great foods that this world has to offer. Enjoy that pizza and wine, have a cookie for dessert, just do it in moderation.
4. Trans-Fats are your enemy!
I know that I said you can eat anything in moderation but if there was one exception to this rule "Trans-Fats" would be it. Trans-fats are liquid vegetable oils pressurized into a thick, toxic sludge that is solid at room temperature. Sound like something you want in your body?
"The science that shows that trans fats increase LDL cholesterol levels is outstanding and very strong. All evidence is pointing in the same direction," says WebMD.
In the Nurse's Health Study, women who consumed the greatest amount of trans fats in their diet had a 50% higher risk of heart attack compared to women who consumed the least.
5. Count your ingredients & eat real food.
My weakness is chips. I absolutely crave that salty goodness and probably more often that I should, I feed that craving. The one thing that I am always very mindful of when reaching for that bag of chips is the list of ingredients. Corn, Lime, and Salt. That's it? Combine those three ingredients with "moderation" and it's not all that bad for you. When I turn the bag over and see a list of fifteen ingredients, half of which are chemicals I could not even attempt to pronounce, I run the other way. Now obviously, opting for an apple or a pear is a better selection but the point is to always be mindful of where your food comes from. Is it something naturally produced from mother nature or produced in a lab? Avoid the latter and it will have an enormous impact on your overall well being!
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