I’m in the middle of a series on how to care for body,mind, and spirit in order to optimize health and well-being. There is more tolife, and I’ll come to such things as time, money, and relationships in futureseries, but caring for body, mind, and spirit is a prerequisite for everythingelse.
This week’s tip focuses on eating right. Eating right is ascritical as exercise for optimum health. It’s really not hard to do, once youbecome aware of the principles. Eating right is a matter of eating the rightquantity and quality of food in the right way. Do that and you will greatlyimprove your chances of living a rich and full life. Fail to do that and youare likely die prematurely from disease or deterioration. What will it be foryou?
The right quantity has to do with calories. The ratio ofcalories in to calories out determines whether you are maintaining, losing, orgaining weight. Forget metabolism, although it plays a role. Most men shouldeat no more than 3,000 calories per day while most women should eat no morethan 2,000 calories per day. It could be significantly less if you have asedentary lifestyle; it’s seldom significantly more unless you’re extremelytall or a professional athlete.
The right quality has to do with food type and preparation.Most of us fail to recognize that modern life expectancy has increased in spiteof rather than because of our diet and exercise. Heart disease and cancer, forexample, are most often triggered by these two factors. Here are some tips forhealthy eating:
- Avoid fried foods, fast foods, and refined sugar.
- Minimize intake of saturated fat (fatty meat, dairy products, eggs) and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (margarine, shortening, commercial chips, cookies, pastries, and snacks). Read labels.
- Consume healthy fat from olive and canola oil, flaxseed, fatty fish (salmon, tuna, trout, herring, mackerel), raw walnuts and Brazil nuts. Avoid corn, safflower, sunflower, soybean, and cottonseed oils.
- Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. If you must snack, snack on fruit, not chips and crackers. Eat at least one green salad every day. Avoid overcooking vegetables.
- Eat as many vegetarian meals as possible. Get protein from fatty fish and soybean products.
- Eat as much fiber as possible, ideally 36–56 grams per day. Psyllium husk is a great, non-caloric source of fiber. Other good sources: oatmeal, broccoli, beans, potatoes, prunes, and whole grains.
- Avoid coffee and alcohol. Make filtered water, and lots of it, your beverage of choice.
The right way to eat is slowly. The slower you eat the lesslikely you are to overeat and the more likely you are to enjoy your meal. Don’teat in the car as you race from point A to point B. Snack on a piece of fruit,if necessary, until you can sit and savor your next meal. Eating 5 smallermini-meals per day is better than 3 larger meals. Be sure to not skipbreakfast. Chew your food thoroughly to keep the upper digestive tract workingwell.
These simple tips are guaranteed to improve health andwell-being. It’s not that we don’t know how to eat right, but modern life worksagainst our consistently doing so. Hurry, hurry is no blessing. And many nastythings come disguised in attractive packages. Coaches assist people to slowdown, discern the truth, and take these tips seriously. Do these things, livelong, and prosper.
May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC