But let’s stop and think about this for a moment. By doing this, we’re giving our bodies mixed messages and in fact we’re stressing out our systems making it even more difficult for our bodies to do what we want them to do. Drastic changes to our diet harm us more than it helps us and it affects how we feel about and relate to food.
Good nutrition and healthy eating habits should be sustainable for always and it should make us feel good about who we are and what we eat. Healthy eating habits should be based on our individual needs and not on a one-size-fits-all diet and must include ALL the food groups.
So let’s remind ourselves why we should be eating from all the food groups.
Let’s start with carbohydrates. We all know that “carbs” have been under attack for a long time but it’s about picking the right carbohydrates. You need “carbs” to move, play, think and learn and the more complex the carbohydrate the better it is for you since it would be digested more slowly and provide a steady supply of energy. Complex carbohydrates are usually found in combination with fibre and protein which helps with the steady release of energy. Some examples are fresh fruit and veggies, dairy products, beans, whole grain bread, pasta and cereals.
Now let’s talk about protein. I’m sure we’ve all heard of the high-protein diet trends but we need to be careful since animal protein is high in cholesterol and protein without a properly balanced diet can wreak havoc on our system. As a guideline, adults should aim to eat 1/2 pound of protein per ounce of body weight per day. Proteins are very necessary for growth and repair and also affects our behaviour and mood since it acts as a natural anti-depressant. Some of the best sources of protein come from nuts and seeds, legumes, whole grains and dairy products (and for my non-vegetarian friends you can get it from fish, skinless chicken, eggs and lean meats).
Now for the one that everyone tries to avoid – fats. We need fats! It provides energy, it’s part of every cell in your body, it gives you healthy skin and hair, and you need it to absorb vitamins like A, D, E and K. We need to ensure we are getting the right kinds of fat. You can find these in fish, flaxseed, olive oil, avocados, seeds and nuts. In general, naturally occurring fats are good fats. Factory made hydrogenated fats are the ones we really have to worry about. It’s about moderation; not elimination.
So instead of shocking our bodies by drastically changing our eating habits, we can aim to slowly change our diets to reflect healthier, leaner eating habits.
Here’s to happy and healthy eating!