The last two weeks, we’ve briefly discussed the negative effects that both sugar and artificial sweeteners have on our bodies. In light of the realization that both of these substances can severely impact our health, it becomes necessary for us to figure out what we should be eating instead.
Sugar and artificial sweeteners both hide in a plethora of places, including breakfast cereals, sodas, drink mixes, and energy bars. If your goal is to eat food that enables your body and mind to be healthy, there are a few things you can focus on to make the process easier.
1. Eat real food.
Barring the fresh-frozen vegetables, just about everything in the freezer and/or prepped food section at the grocery store contains preservatives, sugar, sodium, and has very little nutritional value. These foods do not provide your body with good fuel, which means that your body is unable to fight disease and maintain a healthy level of energy. If you want to be healthy, eat real food—lean meats, fresh fruits and veggies, nuts, etc. Please keep in mind, however, that many people have nut allergies, especially to peanuts. Avoid grains, as they are low in nutrients and high in carbohydrates. Our Paleolithic ancestors ate fruits and veggies for their fiber and carbohydrates rather than grains.
2. Eat organic.
Hormones, pesticides, and genetically modified foods can be damaging to our body. Opting to eat organic—especially when it comes to the Dirty Dozen. The Dirty Dozen are the twelve fruits and veggies most known for testing high in pesticides. They include apples, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, grapes, celery, spinach, sweet bell peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas and potatoes. While we are not sure of all the long-term impacts of consuming pesticides, research shows that they cause cancer and birth defects. Want to give your body the best chance at health? Stay away from chemicals and go all natural.
3. Balance your foods.
It’s important to make sure that you incorporate foods from every food group. Eat fresh fruits and veggies daily. Take advantage of the beneficial fats in nuts and natural oils. Make sure your body can benefit from the fiber of whole, raw fruits and vegetables. A varied diet is the best way to ensure that your body has all the tools it needs to thrive.
4. Drink water.
Soda, energy drinks, and diet drinks are full of chemicals. Our bodies crave fluid because they need water. When we try to meet that thirst with chemical and sugar-laden fluids, we are sabotaging our body’s natural function. Drinking water or tea helps you stay hydrated, which in turn promotes kidney function, good digestion, productivity, and clear thinking. Your body needs water—don’t try to replace it with any other fluids. Not sure how much water you should be drinking? The rule is half your body weight in ounces of water. For example, if a person weighed 100 pounds, they would need to drink 50 ounces of water daily.
It’s not technically part of your eating habits, but getting a sufficient amount of sleep is connected to our ability to eat healthy foods. Inadequate sleep causes stress, which in turn makes it difficult for us to make healthy choices throughout the day. Your mind and body both function infinitely better when they are well rested.
As always, if you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m here to help you live your healthiest life.