Healthy Eating

Healthy eating

Here are a few of my guidelines for healthy eating. Obviously, they are not very strict and allow for some indulgences. However, if you focus your meals around vegetables and practice mindful eating, then healthy nutritious cooking will become a way of life.

Balance and Healthy Eating

Healthy eating
Healthy eating

Think about balance in your daily eating habits. I recommend a diet that focuses mainly on fresh vegetables accompanied by a few healthy meats, fish, eggs, cheese, grains and fruit. 

Balance between different types of food is important to get a full range of nutrition. If you focus on veggies there will still be room in your diet for added proteins, yummy comfort foods, breads, occasional sweets and even wine.

Focus on Vegetables for Healthy Eating

Vegetables for healthy eating
Vegetables for healthy eating

Don’t be afraid to try out new different varieties of vegetables or prepare them in different ways. Fresh veggies are great in crunchy salads, warm soups and nourishing stir fries. It is easy to add veggies to scrambles eggs, breads or even in a smoothie. Fresh veggie sticks dipped in hummus or ranch also make a great snack.

At dinner I typically make a fresh green salad and one other cooked vegetable. Opting for the extra vegetable instead of a carb like bread, rice, pasta or white potatoes. This helps make a lighter meal. However, there are times when I will splurge. It is really all about balance.

Mindful Eating

Be mindful whenever you eat. Think about what you are eating, and when or why. Do you reach for snack when your are board, stressed, sad, frustrated, or thirsty? 

Make sure to listen to your body. Your body will generally tell you what it needs. With greater body awareness comes more mindfulness.

Be mindful of every bite that you put into your body. Think before you grab a not-so-healthy snack. Maybe it is not what your body needs right now. If it is, then by all means enjoy it. Whatever you are eating, slow down and actually enjoy it. Don’t just passively consume.

Hydrate

cup of tea
Herbal and green tea are great ways to hydrate

Remember to hydrate. Drink a glass of water often, in the morning, before bed, and throughout the day. Also supplement your water intake with healthy beverages such as green tea and other herbal teas. I enjoy hot teas on a regular basis in the cold season and will lean toward iced teas in the warmer weather.

Exercise

Walking is great exercise
Walking is great exercise

Exercise has so many benefits. Even just a little bit of light exercise maybe 20 minutes a day, 3 to 4 times a week can have great results. Being fit and exercising regularly will make you feel happier, is good for your muscles and bones and it helps your skin stay healthy. 

As you exercise it releases hormones in your body that help give you more energy and can help with weight loss. Exercising will also help with brain health and memory as well as reducing your risk or heart disease.

If you don’t already have a regular exercise routine I recommend that you add an energizing walk or some strengthening yoga into your schedule. 

Be Grateful

I follow my husband’s hispanic tradition of saying “muchas gracias” after eating a meal. In this simple statement you are saying “thank you” to the person who prepared the food, to the person who bought it, the earth for growing it, and the higher being for providing it.

Wether you say grace before the meal, muchas gracias afterwards, or whatever your own tradition is, it is important. Even just an unspoken thought of thanks will do wonders. 

Being thankful for our food is humbling and helps keep us connected to land and the systems that provide us with food. While there are so many food-insecure people across the world, if you are lucky enough to have food, remember to be grateful.

Fermented foods

Homemade yoghurt
Homemade yoghurt

Incorporate fermented food into your diet on a regular basis to improve your digestion and overall gut health. Ferment foods also help boost your immune system and promote a healthy body weight. Some fermented foods to try include yoghurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, and miso.

Try my easy homemade yoghurt recipe.

Avoid MSG

Monosodium Glutamate  (MSG) is a flavor enhancer and preservative that is often added to canned and packaged foods, soups and processed meats. While considered “safe” by the FDA, MSG is known to give people headaches, sweating, facial pressure or numbness, heart palpitations, chest pain, nausea and weakness.

Because MGS has a bad rap food manufactures have started calling it other names

such as hydrolyzed protein, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, monosodium salt, monohydrate and monosodium glutamate. 

It is also known as monohydrate, monosodium L-glutamate monohydrate, sodium glutamate monohydrate and UNII-W81N5U6R6U. As if that were not complicated enough also look out for L-Glutamic acid, monosodium salt, monohydrate.glutamic acid, and autolyzed yeast.

Canned food is a great time saving option to cook with but make sure to read the labels and choose carefully. MSG is hidden in many canned and packaged goods. So be on the look out and avoid them when possible.

Don’t Microwave

I know that many of us are dependent on microwaves in the same way that we need air to breathe, but you might want to reconsider it. There is evidence that microwaves are hurting our health. 

Microwaving your food does several things. It produces free radicals in your food, these are cells which can grow into carcinogens, potentially causing cancer. Nuking also alters the chemical composition of you food, making it less nutritious. 

While I’m sure that occasional microwaving will not make a large impact in our bodies, using it on a regular basis and adds extra toxins that accumulate in our bodies over time. 

While there is a microwave in my house (my husband wants to keep it) I almost never use it. Reheating food on the stove top or in the oven is worth the extra trouble for me. Consider for yourself wether the risk outweighs the benefits. 

Here is a very good article about the health risks of microwaves complete with sited sources and scientific evidence.

Cooking Spices
Cooking Spices

I hope that these healthy eating tips give you some ideas or reminders about great ways to take care of your body. Remember that these are just loose guidelines. Nobody is perfect so don’t stress too much about strict rules, just try to achieve balance. 

Listen to your body. Hundreds of thousands of years of evolution as made you, as a human being, a  physical masterpiece. So take the time to nourish your body, mind and spirit.