The beginning of the year is a very busy time in the pharmacy industry and now is when I can best use my clinical nutritionist experience to help people as they struggle to get back on track with their nutrition. This year, I challenge you to make a resolution to avoid diets. Year after year you feel the same shame about the holiday gluttony in which you just partook. I encourage you to open your mind a bit and consider taking control of your health, and simply make a lifestyle change. I propose you enjoy food with its abundant energy and life-giving qualities to the fullest.
Know ahead of time making a nutritional lifestyle change is not a fast process. Quick fixes are not constructive for the body. Know you will have to work for results, but you are worth your investment. Start by simply taking action. For example, drink one less soda each day, take a few raw carrots, some spinach or cherry tomatoes to work for a snack, walk the dog an extra block.
Food is for life and you are what you eat. We cannot live without food, yet some of it is killing us. As a clinical nutritionist, I prefer to not write meal plans for my nutrition clients for three key reasons. First: Every person’s body is bio-chemically unique and their nutritional requirements vary. Second: I want my clients to take responsibility and make their own choices so that they will own them and fully implement them in to their lives. Third: I encourage my clients to learn to listen to their bodies as the body communicates its needs.
Here are a few general tips for maintaining good nutrition, particularly as you get your diet back on track in the new year. Always start your day by eating some form of protein, which starts your body’s engine and gets your metabolism running. Plus, as you begin to incorporate physical activity in to your lifestyle, you will need to increase your protein intake to support the extra energy your muscles are expending. My favorite protein source is the miraculous egg. You can read more about the egg at my favorite Internet site regarding food, World’s Healthiest Foods (www.whfoods.org). My suggestion for a healthy consumption style is to eat less food more often throughout the day (approximately five mini-meals is best).
Next, I strongly urge you to eat much more of a whole-food, plant-based diet, including such healthy items as raw veggies and fruits, sauerkraut, tofu, nuts and legumes. Raw foods are important because they provide more nutrients. Also, you will get an adequate amount of fiber from raw goods that will help control the body’s cholesterol and eliminate toxins. If you perceive that raw doesn’t taste good, fake it ‘til you feel it and you will eventually come around.
In order to maintain a healthy diet, you must also consume complex carbohydrates, especially as you increase your physical activity. And by complex carbohydrates I mean whole grains like brown rice or breads from sprouted grains, sweet potatoes and carrots. Avoid simple carbohydrates such as refined sugar and processed flour products like white breads and pastas.
And if you need more motivation, take a look at a recent food study from the Department of Physiological Science at the University of California Los Angeles. The study found that a high- fat, refined-sugar diet will literally make you less intelligent, not to mention the metabolic upheaval your body goes through. This kind of diet is like a drug, but you don’t have to be ruled by it.
However you decide to remove refined sugar from your life, know that it will be uncomfortable during the transition. You may experience headaches and irritability for a short period of three to five days, but in the long run your mind and body will be metaboli- cally and physically stronger.
My charge to you is to become an expert in your own health this year. No one else can do this for you. In this day and age there is an ocean of information and you are smart enough to swim through it for the truth.
Good luck and healthy eating!