Eat Your Veggies
First, let me mention that 1. I am not a dietician or a nutritionist 2. I am well aware that readers may have dietary restrictions for many different reasons. The following are simply guidelines for healthy eating. Please check with your doctor or another trained professional if you have any questions or concerns.
Although you may no longer prepare your own meals, the information below can provide you with guidelines as to why you should eat an abundance of food within certain categories and restrict your intake of others.
Fruit and Vegetables
Fruit and vegetables, especially the darkly coloured ones, provide a wide range of nutrients.
Vitamin A keeps your skin and mucous membranes supple and smooth as well as being good for your eyesight. (Your mom wasn’t wrong when she told you carrots helped you see in the dark.)
Vitamin E is found in green, leafy vegetable and is important for healthy nerves and muscles.
Calcium is important for healthy bones, and while it is available in milk, cheese, yogurt, etc., it is also available in dark leafy greens like kale and broccoli. Calcium is also in sesame seeds and almonds.
Magnesium is also important for healthy bones and can also be found in those dark, leafy vegetables.
And these are only a few of the aforementioned vitamins and minerals.
There has been a lot of talk lately about the benefits of removing gluten from your diet. You may or may not find this helpful, but before you do, check out the information available online and talk to a trained professional. It’s important to do our homework—even when formal education is long behind us.
Whole grains provide fibre, vitamins, and minerals. They lower blood pressure and cholesterol and improve the body’s ability to process needed nutrients.
Meat and Meat Alternatives
The protein found in meat and dairy is considered “high-quality protein or complete protein.” While protein can also be found in plant-based foods, it is often incomplete. Therefore, vegetarians and vegans must be especially careful to make sure they are getting all the protein they need.
The human body needs the right balance of proteins to move, think, hear, and see. If it’s a bodily function that’s part of healthy living, it’s likely connected with an adequate amount of protein.
As mentioned above, dairy products are a source of complete protein. Most people know dairy products are a good source of calcium, but they may not know that the body needs Vitamin D to absorb the calcium. In Canada it is added to milk.
While some people are lactose intolerant and experience pain or discomfort after drinking milk or eating ice cream, the addition of “friendly bacteria” to things like yogurt and buttermilk makes them more digestible.
The debate is still on about how much water we should actually consume in a day, but one thing is for certain, many people do not drink enough of it.
Water, of course, flushes waste from our body, but it does so much more than that.
Our bodies use water to . . .
– Digest food
– Produce energy
– Build tissue
– Send messages between cells (so we can see, think, etc.)
– Regulate temperature
– Keep moving body parts lubricated
As you likely know, coffee and other caffeinated drinks don’t count because they actually leach water from our systems. It has been suggested by some that for every cup of coffee or tea a person drinks, they should add eight ounces to their water intake over and above the daily minimum.
Satisfying your sweet tooth too frequently can lead to many problems; so, as the saying goes, “Everything in moderation.”
I’m not suggesting you give up your favourite treat, but with a little research, you can find some wonderful, healthier alternatives.
Plus, fresh fruit is wonderfully sweet and supplies an abundance of health benefits while giving you your “sugar fix.”
Even though I don’t have difficulty eating a variety of foods, sometimes I enjoy making my own smoothies.
Here’s what I do:
Add yogurt, unsweetened fruit juice (frozen or fresh fruit), and a half scoop of whey protein powder to a blender.
Voila! I have a healthy breakfast or snack that tastes so decadent it’s hard to believe it’s overflowing with health benefits—as well as flavour.
For more information on healthy eating, I recommend the book from which I gleaned much of the information in this article, Nutrition for Canadians for Dummies: A Reference for the Rest of Us!