I'm not saying to cut fast food out completely, I believe the key to being healthy is maintaining good habits and eating whole unprocessed foods, as well as allowing for the occasional treat. It's called balance. But if eating overly processed foods becomes the norm, it can be harmful and have long-term effects on our health.
Signs your diet needs an upgrade
Bad eating habits can lead to different health issues, such as :
- poor digestion,
- unwanted weight gain,
- heart disease.
There are other side effects from an unhealthy diet that althoughless serious can still be uncomfortable or annoying and should be taken into consideration as a sign that something is off. For example :
- bad breath,
- thinning nails and hair,
- premature skin aging,
- getting sick easily and not healing properly.
Is my current diet healthy ?
We've all been told it's important to eat a balanced diet, but what is it exactly? Well, first of all, the exact makeup of a healthy diet will vary depending on individual characteristics. Might it be age, gender, lifestyle and degrees of physical activity, cultural context and locally available foods. But overall, the basic principles are the same.
Since there is no one food that gives you all the nutrients your body needs (vitamins, minerals, etc), you need to diversify the foods in your diet so that you are incorporating different foods from different categories.
- Vegetables: 4 to 5 servings a day are recommended.
- Fruit : 3 to 4 servings each day.
- Grains such as rice, pasta, bread are recommended from 9 to 11 servings a day.
- Protein is recommended from 2 to 3 servings a day (nuts, legumes, beans, sprouts, fish, meat, etc.)
What is an unhealthy diet?
When we think about an unhealthy diet, we think of fast food as the main issue. Of course always eating fast food is unhealthy yet a shocking one in every three Americans still eats it everyday. These foods are high in processed carbohydrates, and saturated fats. So, frequent consumption of fries, fried chicken and pizza is the epitome of unhealthy.
Although there are other diets that can be unhealthy too. For example, extreme diets such as the carnivore diet where all you eat is meat, can be lacking in certain nutrients that are found in other food groups. Going to extremes or eating processed foods all the time will not contribute to a healthy lifestyle.
Simple ways eat and feel better
- Slow down. The pace at which we eat tends to influence how much food we eat. Being aware and taking our time gives our body the time to feel when it is full. It typically takes 20 min for your brain to receive the message.
- Choose whole foods as much as possible. The less processed, the better. Whole grains, nuts and seeds, sprouts, sauerkraut, fresh fruits and vegetables, etc.
- Plan most of your meals and snacks for the week. This can help you curb those unhealthy cravings. We are more inclined to reach for the more processed and quick option when we're hungry and need our food now. Some easy snack ideas; almond butter in a medjool date dipped in dark chocolate, hummus and veggies, apple slices with a nut butter and cinnamon, smoothies and homemade granola bars.
- Season your meals with good salt and pepper. I always use Herbamare herbed sea salt for my savory recipes. It's made from the finest sea salt and organic herbs and vegetables. It's lower in sodium and richer in nutrients than regular salt! It also adds a nice aromatic flavor to any dish. I especially like to add it to my salads and soups and my kids ask for a sprinkle of it on their raw veggies!
- Swap any sweet drink (sodas) with water! The most important thing is to drink water instead of other beverages. This may drastically reduce your sugar and calorie intake. Drinking enough water is crucial for our health.
- Add a nutritional daily supplement to help support your food choices and nutrient absorption. Bio-Strath is an herbal yeast plasmolysate fortifying supplement that is 100% naturally sourced. It has been shown to optimize the absorption and assimilation of iron, zinc, B vitamins and others from a normal, diet by 6 to 10 times. You can use the drops, the elixir (in smoothies) or the tabs!
- Consider changing the way you cook your food. Baking and roasting is a healthier option than frying or grilling. During these types of cooking methods, several potentially toxic compounds are formed, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), advanced glycation end products (AGEs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs). So by baking and roasting, you are avoiding these potential toxic compounds from entering your food.
- Herbal remedy for strengthening the immune system. If your eating habits haven't been the best and you have a tendency to get sick more often, you might want to think about ways to support your immune health. For this, my first go to is Echinaforce, a herbal supplement made from organic and fresh echinacea. It has been clinically proven for its efficacy in preventing and treating the symptoms of respiratory infections in children and adults.
- Supplements. Bringing back homeostasis in the body can be helped by certain supplements. Omega 3 can be taken to help reduce the inflammation that might have been caused from prior unhealthy eating. There is also vitamin D which is a fat-soluble vitamin that is very important for bone health and the proper function of your immune system. In fact, every cell in your body has a receptor for vitamin D, indicating its importance.