Balancing Act–A Few Nutritional Tips
Diets and food trends can be confusing.
I am often asked what I think of particular diets. Honestly, the answer isn’t simple. There are some fabulous diets and there are some scary diets. The reality is our bodies are not static, therefore, our diets need to vary with where we are at in life. However, there are a few simple guidelines that can help you find balance.
Start with the idea of carving your plate in half. Fill half with vegetables and the other half divide equally between your protein source and your starch (starchy root vegetable, whole grain or the occasional refined grain).
Include many different types of foods to ensure that you are getting a vast palette of flavors and nutrients. This really boils down to getting appropriate amounts of foods from each category: Vegetables; protein sources (animal and vegetable); complex carbohydrates (whole grains and starchy vegetables); and small, yet adequate amounts of healthy fats and sugars.
If you’ve met me, you know these are big on my list. Asking clients to eat 5-7 servings a day often makes them gasp. ”You mean fruits and veggies?” Nope, this is just vegetables. Vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals, they alkalize and detox the body, help. It’s not really all that difficult, when you consider a serving is 1/2 cup. Stir fry, soups, even just steaming frozen mixed vegetables and tossing them with a little dressing can launch your intake forward. Make sure that several servings are of greens vegetables every day. Check out the Simple Wilted Greens for an easy recipe.
It doesn’t matter if you are vegetarian, carnivore or flexarian–humans require protein to live. It is the major building blocks. Protein is found in meat, fish, dairy, soy, eggs, lentils and legumes, nuts and seeds and whole grains like quinoa. Again, variety is important. Each protein source carries its own energetic value. Soy, for example, is damp and cloying, and too much in the diet will create phlegm and dampness. Animal meats are hot, too much and your will acid ‘hot’ disharmonies. Most lentils and legumes are neutral and have the added benefit of high fiber–it’s a wise thing to add or increase your legumes if you don’t already eat them.
Fats are essential to health, but a little goes a long way. Keep saturated and transfatty acids like margarine and vegetable oil to a minimum. Stick with minimally processed and quality products (like Spectrum Organics) for olive oil, grape seed, and sesame seed oil.
Nature’s dessert is fruit. Avoid refined sugars as much as possible as they spike the blood sugar. Use whole sugar forms like honey and maple syrup, still keeping them to a minimum in the diet. Opt for whole fruit when possible but still keep the servings of fruit to about 2 day.Just a little balancing can go along way.
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