Simplify Your Eating

Tired of counting the carbs, calories, points and following tedious diet plans? Who wouldn’t be? Diets eliminating an entire food group (such as carbohydrates) and not using the full spectrum of food groups are difficult to follow and make you feel denied of food. That likely leads to a slip. There is good news: you can simplify your eating (and your life) and get results.  No prolonged hunger, no need to follow a set menu plan or count anything.  Just follow my four simple rules.

1. Eat Real Food: There is an abundance of delicious real food out there to choose from. Think of things that are naturally grown: fruit, vegetables, eggs, meat, fish. You will automatically consume the right number of calories and nutrients for your optimal health. Get rid of those artificial boxes chock full of additives and preservatives. See all those artificial flavorings and words you’ve never seen before? Mother nature did not make that, scientists did in a lab! By eating real foods, you will be speeding up your metabolism, reduce cravings and feel full longer.  Real foods spoil. Look at the label and stay away from these big no-no’s:
  • Trans fats: If you see the words “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated,” the product contains trans fats. It’s a fake food. Don’t buy it.
  • Artificial colors and flavors: Many foods experts believe that many of these artificial colors and flavors contribute to cancer and overall body aging.
  • Salt: Excessive salt consumption may raise blood pressure and contribute to stomach cancer. Read any label from any packaged food. Salt is one of the first ingredients.
  • Added sugar: Sweeteners from sugar cane and corn (called high fructose corn syrup) have found their way into nearly every packaged food you’ll find at the supermarket, even foods that you probably don’t think of as sweet. They not only add unnecessary calories, but also contribute to insulin and blood sugar problems.

Go for whole foods, especially vegetables (see Rule #2), first. Flour foods should be what you eat if you are still hungry after having vegetables and protein. Whenever you choose foods made from flour, make them as whole as possible (made from whole wheat, oats, or another whole grain).

Fruit is Mother Nature’s answer to a sweet tooth.

2. Fruits and Veggies First: These are nature’s powerhouse foods. Rich in nutrients and relatively low in calories. If at every meal and snack, you turn to these foods first, immediately you will be consuming the right amount of fiber, vitamins, minerals, nutrients- without counting a single thing! At every meal and snack, ask yourself, “How can I add more vegetables and legumes?” Add veggies and beans to omelets. Have a huge salad every day for lunch or dinner. Add them to soup. The more local your produce, the faster it goes from ground to plate, and the fewer nutrients it loses in transit.

3. Drink Real Beverages:   Wine, coffee, water. You’ll get a lot more satisfaction from chewing your calories than from drinking them. Switch to water. If you don’t like the taste of water, then try the following options: Squeeze lemon or lime into your water; Drink iced green, black, or herbal tea; Mix a very small amount (no more than 1 ounce) of 100 percent fruit juice into your water.

4. Limit Red Meat: Researchers have linked daily consumption (2 or more ounces) of
beef, lamb or pork with an increased risk of disease. Eat red meat no more than twice a
week. If you love red meat, designate one night a week as “red meat night” and follow
these tips:

Make sure any cured meat you purchase is “nitrate free” and red meat “hormone free.”

  • Eat only lean cuts of red meat. The leanest cuts are the round, loin, and sirloin for beef, the tenderloin for pork, and the leg, loin roast, and chops for lamb.
  • Cook red meat medium or medium rare to reduce levels of toxins that proliferate when foods are heated. Braising is even better. Avoid grilling, searing or broiling, as these cooking methods generate carcinogens in the meat.

That’s how you’ll eat for optimal health.  By choosing nutrient-rich foods, you can build a healthier life and start down a path of health and wellness. Small steps can help you create healthy habits that will benefit your health now and for the rest of your life.

 

Eating Real When Dining Out

It’s not always easy having a healthy meal in the hectic lives we lead. Even on a dull day it’s easy to fall on the wayside and sneak in a poor dining choice (or several). We can stock our kitchens full of healthy options, but when we are in the outside world, temptation is all around. Here are some tips to make good choices when dining out.

Thinking Ahead

Are you able to get the menu ahead of time? Planning ahead with a full stomach and without the restaurants tempting smells will help put the focus on making smart choices. When you are able to look over the menu, try and hold yourself accountable for the following:

  • Look for your lean proteins, turkey; chicken; fish.
  • Substitute starches (rice, potatoes) for vegetables
  • Stay Away from the appetizers, free chips, breads.
  • Skip Dessert

    What you put on your plate is up to you.

Enjoy The Experience

Whether you are celebrating a special occasion or relishing in the company of good friends, enjoy this moment in your life. By taking the focus off food and on the experience, you will gain the memories of a wonderful meal and not any extra weight.  If having a glass of alcohol, have it with the meal, and not before. When was the last time you really sat down and enjoyed every morsel of food and conversation? Take this time for yourself. A fine night out does wonders.

Passing Pete’s Test

Did you nibble on a few breadsticks? Sneak a bite (or two) of cheesecake? Guess, what? It’s all mind games. If you tell yourself that you will not have any starch and sugar, you’ll end up eating only a reasonable amount of the stuff. If you tell yourself, however, that you are going to eat a reasonable amount, you’ll probably eat a lot of the stuff. It’s mental. In my three step eating out approach, the cheating is factored in.

So psyche yourself out of snarfing every delicious thing in sight. Realize that the experience of the meal is more important than the actual meal. Stick to the mindful food choices and treat yourself now and again to that tiny bite of mousse. After all, you are only human.