Health doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are some tips for good health that you can start right away. Make a goal to try one tip per week.
Tips for Good Health
1. Don’t skip meals.
Skipping meals wreaks havoc on blood sugar and hormones. Cortisol & insulin are elevated, and this biochemical response, if repeated often, results in poor metabolism & turns on your fat storage mechanism. Ideally, eat 3 good meals per day with no snacking. Until your metabolism is regulated, you may need a snack between lunch & dinner (and maybe between breakfast and lunch). You can skip a snack but try not to miss a meal.
2. Combine a protein, a healthy fat, a non-starchy vegetable and a starchy veggie (or gluten free grains in moderation,) at every meal. A ‘balanced meal’ doesn’t mean equal amounts of protein, fat and carbohydrate. It means using foods you can use to rebuild your body and balance your hormones. The best ratio depends on your individual metabolism.
3. Eat unprocessed food. Can you pick, gather, milk, fish or hunt the food you’re eating? Perhaps someone does that for you, but avoiding foods that are processed, damaged or full of toxic chemicals is always your best option.
4. Make protein a ‘building block’ of every meal, and make your plate half veggies of all types. Since protein is the basis of your meal, choose meat, fish, poultry, or eggs that are as fresh as possible and do not contain chemicals, hormones, or preservatives.
5. Add ‘good’ fats to each meal: olive, coconut, avocado,butter, ghee, animal fats. Good fats are described as saturated fats or mono-unsaturated oils that are cold-pressed, pure-pressed, expeller-pressed. Avoid all damaged fats known as ‘trans-fats’ (“partially hydrogenated” or “hydrogenated”). Olive oil and butter are healthy fats but can be damaged by excessive heat, so use coconut oil or butter for high temp sauteeing. Most margarine and those spreads you get in tubs contain trans-fat or chemicals, so avoid.
6. Eat real carbohydrate at each meal: Can you grow, pick or harvest this food? Anything that is not a protein or a fat is a carb. Fruits, veggies, and legumes are the best choices. Organic foods reduce your ingestion of toxic chemicals such as pesticides. Too few or too many carbohydrates in your diet will create hormone imbalances. Learn the correct amount of carbohydrate for your metabolism.
7. Eat non-starchy vegetables freely. Many of the essential nutrients you need to regenerate body tissues such as vitamins, mineral and fiber are found in non-starchy vegetables.
8. Snack if you must. Often I recommend a snack between lunch and dinner if more than 4 hours apart.
9. Take a pharmaceutical-grade multivitamin and mineral supplement. Unless you are eating sufficient quantities of organic foods produced in nutrient-rich soil, it is very possibly you are not getting the required vitamins and minerals your body needs for even ordinary metabolic repair.
10. Drink enough water EVERY day and cut down on the coffee! No coffee after 12pm.
11. Engage in stress relief or regenerative exercise like yoga or pilates to balance out the cardio. (if you don’t do cardio, start taking 20 minute walks).
Helpful Hints to Remember
1. I prefer that you buy foods that don’t have labels, but if they do, READ THEM. Avoid ingredients you cannot pronounce.
2. Eat raw food every day — veggies & fruits. At each meal, eat a variety of raw vegetables with your cooked foods.
3. Avoid overcooking vegetables. Cook just until tender but crisp.
4. Always plan ahead for the week’s meals (on Sunday, make a list and go shopping) and plan for your snacks too! Don’t hit the vending machine.
The Act of Eating
1. Set your table attractively and pick pleasant subjects to talk or think about.
2. Chew food thoroughly, notice the color and texture of what’s on your plate. Don’t eat when you’re upset or for emotional reasons.
3. Avoid distractions such as TV, radio, reading and driving while eating. Make eating an enjoyable time. Take small portions and pause consciously between helpings.
4. Avoid overeating. Eat until you are “eight parts full,” an Ayurvedic principle.
Mary Vance is a Certified Nutrition Consultant and author specializing in digestive health. In addition to her coaching practice, she offers courses to help you heal your gut and kick nagging digestive issues for good. Mary lives in San Francisco and Lake Tahoe in Northern California. Read more about her coaching practice here and her background here.