I’m not a fan of dieting. Too many diets that I read are nutritionally unbalanced, wrapped around a single principle, such as grapefruits, and selling something, like a magic pill that melts all the fat away. You can’t google anything without something diet related showing up. They all guarantee quick success while showing you the “biggest loser” pictures. There are no guarantees because everyone has different needs and various problems affecting their health and/or weight.
I’ve heard lots of people tell how they dropped 10 pounds by giving up sodas and candy. Umm, duh? It stands to reason that the less junk you eat, the less of a weight problem you might have. And no, Diet Coke doesn’t cancel out the dozen donuts you scarfed.
Actually, the connotation of the word “diet” is what has gotten a bad rap. A diet is seen as a starve-yourself-silly for three weeks to squeak into that new pair of jeans. The true meaning of a diet is the selection of food, in terms of quantity, quality, and composition. So, in essence, you are what you eat. Did anyone see that coming?
That said, let’s start with some basic food principles to kick off a healthier new year.
- Replace caffeinated, chemical-laced soft drinks with filtered water. Zero calories and free. Can’t beat that with a stick.
- Replace sugary breakfast cereals and pastries with granola and yogurt or oatmeal and fruit.
- Avoid food dyed unnatural colors and opt for real fruits and vegetables.
- Snack on fresh veggies and fruit instead of candy bars and chips.
- Pack your lunch with home-cooked meals and give your bank account a rest.
- Use more herbs for seasoning and reduce added salt.
- Bake instead of fry.
- Buy fresh food that has been touched by as few pieces of machinery as possible. If it comes in a box or shrink wrap, consider it processed.
- Cook at home instead of eating out.
- Stock your freezer with extra meals so you’re not tempted by the nearest fast food.
- Eat less and eat more often. You’ll always feel full and will reduce your food cravings.
- Fruit juice isn’t the same as a whole piece of fruit. Eat the fruit. Skip the juice.
- Use sweetener alternatives, such as maple syrup and honey, rather than sugar or chemical sweeteners. Your body does know the difference.
- Avoid white flour unless you like eating glue. It has about the same nutritional content and offers the same dietary benefits, i.e. sticking your insides together.
- Eat whole grains. Don’t be fooled by products that have been dyed a caramel color to simulate something it’s not.
In essence, if you like food, thank a farmer, not a factory or a chemist.