What do you know about healthy eating?
There is so much nutrition information and diet advice on the internet and in magazines!
And each expert and association tries to lead you in their direction because they know best and their advice is going to help you. Right?
Even though how much you eat is important to some extent (see my previous article on Three Ways to Avoid Overeating), this has gotten way too much attention. While this does affect your weight and energy level, it's certainly not the “holy grail” of health.
Let's focus a bit more on the often overlooked (and proven) benefits of what you eat and drink and how you eat and drink it.
What you eat and drink
The “calories in, calories out” philosophy (i.e. how much you eat) is being drowned out with research on other factors that may be just as important and is only part of the story.
Don't get me wrong limiting calories, carbs or fat can certainly help you lose weight but that's simply not the only factor for long-term weight loss and maximum energy for everyone.
You can eat a ton of veggies and it will be so much better than eating a ton of bread and pasta!
Ideally, you need a varied diet full of minimally-processed foods (i.e. fewer “packaged” “ready-to-eat” foods). This simple concept is paramount for weight loss, energy, and overall health and wellness.
Every day this is what you should aim for:
- A colourful array of fruits and veggies at almost every meal and snack. You need the fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
- Consume all of those essential amino acids (bonus: eating protein can increase your metabolism). It is the amino acids you are wanting to absorb that build your muscles.
- Healthy fats and oils (never “hydrogenated” ones). There is a reason some fatty acids are called “essential” (e.f.a.’s) - you need them as building blocks for your hormones and brain as well as to be able to absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins from your healthy salads.
Use extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, eat your organic egg yolks, and get grass-fed meats when possible. You don't need to overdo it here.
Just make sure you're getting some high-quality fats.
How you eat and drink
Also pay attention to how you eat and drink.
Studies are definitely showing that this has more of an impact than we previously thought.
Are you rushed, not properly chewing your food, and possibly suffering from gastrointestinal issues?
Do you drink your food?
When it comes to how you eat let's first look at “mindful eating”.
Mindful eating means:
- take smaller bites
- eat slowly, chew thoroughly
- and savour every bite.
Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture. Breathe.
This gives your digestive system the hint to prepare for digestion and to secrete necessary enzymes.
This can also help with weight loss because eating slower often means eating less.
Did you know that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full? Yup!
We also know that more thoroughly chewed food is easier to digest and it makes it easier to absorb all of those essential nutrients.
And what about smoothies when you are on-the-go?
Yes, smoothies can be healthy and a fabulously easy and tasty way to get in some fruits and veggies (hello leafy greens!).
A green smoothie can make an amazingly nutrient-dense meal and is way better than stopping for convenient junk food – just consider a large smoothie to be a full meal not a snack.
And don't gulp it down too fast. Try to chew a little bit to mix your saliva enzymes with it before you swallow.
If your smoothies don't fill you up like a full meal does, try adding in ground chia seeds and some almond butter or slices of avocado.
Consider not only how much you eat but also what and how you eat it.