Hello and welcome to the first series on this blog. A Simple Pledge is just that, pledges that we need to make to commit to a life of health and happiness. This will be a 10 part series to help you find balance in your day to day life.
A Simple Pledge to focus on healthy nutrition
A nutritious life begins with the delight of adding a few brightly colored fruits and vegetables to your plate. Every person needs nourishment to grow and survive. Even your car needs fuel to run and the body is no different. The food we eat not only fuels us but it awakes the senses. Nature has given us the best of its best when it comes to the food we eat. We now know that the most beautiful foods are also the best ones for our bodies.
A good meal can make a memory filled with lovely colors, aromas, textures, and flavor. With that said, food is obviously more than just fuel. It also provides energy, commonly called calories. Many experts have long understood the connection between food and energy but more recently athletes have been jumping on this train. Communicating the positive effects of eating better. Even Popeye knew what was up. In fact after the show aired in 1929 spinach became one of the most popular foods among children.
Seems like everyone these days is counting calories but too much of that isn’t a good idea. We need them for fuel. I have heard several “experts” claim that cutting calories to nearly nothing will cause the body to burn excess fat for energy. This isn’t always the case. While you should pledge not to consume 4500 calories a day, going below 1500 can be just as unhealthy. Additionally, it doesn’t matter how many calories you eat, if they are empty. Or if you are not burning any to begin with. Even talking your dog for a walk after dinner will help. The trick here is portion control and some degree of activity. We will talk more about that next time.
Making smart choices with fats is very important. There are fats that the body needs, that we do not make. Making it necessary to get them from the foods we eat. You can read more on that here. Learning to cut out the unhealthy fats in favor of healthier options is a pledge we can all make. Avoid Trans fats at all costs and lower the intake of saturated fats found in animal protein. Search for unprocessed and lower fat options to prepare meals for your family. Your total fat intake should only account for about 30% of your daily calories.
Don’t, I repeat, DO NOT cut out all your carbs. Limiting can help with weight loss but this will also limit your energy levels. We get most of our daily energy from carbs. If you plan to start a new workout plan or exercise of any kind, that extra energy will come in handy. Carbs can be broken down into three main parts; calories, protein, and fat. Choose wisely. Carbohydrates also fuel body functions such as heartbeat, breathing, and digestion.
These are quickly digested and packed with sugar. We should be getting our sugars from fruit, milk, and yogurt. With minimal vitamin or minerals, simple carbs should be limited in place of…..
These take longer to digest and are packed with healthy essentials such as fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The bulk of carbs we eat should be complex. This can include whole grains such as rice, quinoa, beans, and lentils.
Lowering your salt intake has a number of health benefits all on its own. Helping reduce blood pressure and lower the risk of heart disease. This also causes us to reach for herbs to season and flavor our foods. Herbs add their own health benefits to meals. We should strive to use less than 2300 micrograms of sodium per day. It can be hard to find low-sodium foods that are not heavily processed to make up for the lack of salt but it isn’t impossible. Pledge to choose the best option presented to you and you will be on the right path.
Fruits and Vegetables
Just increasing your daily intake can help with health and happiness. Aiding in weight loss and bodily function, you may find yourself with all kinds of reasons to be in a better mood each day. Although 5-6 servings in recommended, just one serving added per day can do so much for you. Simply taking an apple with you to work or having a salad for lunch instead of a burger can be a starting point.
I hope you found this helpful. This pledge series is not designed to turn you into a vegan or vegetarian (or stop you from being one). I don’t want you to go on a diet, I want you to live a healthier life for the rest of your life.
What steps do you take to eat more healthful? Let me know in the comments below.