Food for Thought
Everyone has their own interpretation of nutrition. For some it can mean ‘the nutrients we need to eat’. For others, ‘I want to lose weight’. And for some ‘what I eat affects my health and wellness.’ One thing is for sure, what we eat affects our body. Some people are lucky not to see the effects immediately while others report physical changes such as discomfort, intolerances, fatigue, or even expansions of the mid-section almost instantaneously.
Nutrition is simply: what you eat! However, it is the quality and quantity of what you eat that will affect overall health. Let’s take for instance a 16 year old male versus a 52 year old female: while both would have different requirements, there is still a requirement for both to consume all food groups on a daily basis. The basis of every individual’s plate should always have a lean protein source (eggs, fish, chicken, etc.), fibrous carbohydrates (whole grains, oats, barley, rye, etc.) and a variety of fruits and vegetables (spinach, asparagus, oranges, apples, berries, etc.). While this stands to be the most important aspect of healthy eating, a lot of individuals fail to capitalize on the effects of a balanced, healthy meal to boost metabolic process.
Another failed attempt at healthy eating is when individuals miss meals. You may not realize that a missed meal can cause an imbalance in metabolic procedures and a lack of thoughtful meal- planning (i.e., you binge on the wrong stuff later). Take home message: don’t miss meals!! Try to get a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner every day, even if the portions are very small.
Be sure not to miss out on fruit and vegetables at any meal as this serves to be the most protective food group against non- communicable diseases and the obesity epidemic. Antioxidants supplied from fruit and vegetable consumption protect and repair cells. This food group is also beneficial in supplying a great source of fiber that not only helps to prolong your feeling of fullness and reduce the need for excess calories but helps with metabolic digestion and enhances healthy gut flora.
So ask yourself, what does nutrition mean to you? We all have our own reasons for eating healthy, whether it be weight loss, weight gain or even disease management/prevention. However, it is when we take on the responsibility to make ourselves self-reliant that we attain our greatest success.
Set a small goal then, once you master that goal, move on to another other goal. Be realistic with yourself, do not set out to be a vegetarian if you don’t like fruits and vegetables. Instead, figure out which option you like most and incorporate them at every meal time. Also, be careful of the media as they influence food trends and the information supplied can be confusing. Choose foods you like in moderation, rewarding yourself on a weekly basis for obtaining optimal nutrition. However, indulge but don’t over- indulge.