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.
- 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).
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
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.