Google “diet advice” and you’ll get somewhere around 383,000,000 hits in 0.37 seconds! However, the best diet advice you can get is from a source you might not consider. Before you start your search you want to make sure you understand the basics of diet and nutrition:
1. Protein is important to your body to help you build cells (hair, muscle, et al). You should only have protein make up 10-35% of your diet. So, you only need 0.4 grams/pound of body weight. The source of your protein is the issue. Protein high in fat is not the best for our bodies. Too much of a good thing can be too bad for the body. Be moderate in your meat consumption. Choose protein sources lower in animal fats — fish and chicken. Rumor has it that The Chicken Thigh Union* has hired a marketing source to right the bad rep they’ve gotten regarding their status as “good” protein. They want you to know that chicken and turkey thighs contain vitamins A, K, B6, B12, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, minerals as selenium, phosphorus and zinc. Want less fat? Take off the skin just as you do with the breasts. A portion is 4 ounces folks.
2. Whole Grains are awesome. The Whole Grains Council can tell you more regarding the studies about how wonderful whole grains are for your diet, but you have to recognize that the white or wheat bread you’re consuming probably doesn’t fit the bill. To qualify as a whole grain with all the health benefits you must have all the germ, bran and endosperm from the kernel. The more common forms of acceptable grain are Amaranth, Barley, Buckwheat, Corn, including whole cornmeal and popcorn, Millet, Oats, including oatmeal, Quinoa Rice, both brown rice and colored rice, Rye, Sorghum (also called milo), Teff, Triticale, Wheat, including varieties such as spelt, emmer, farro, einkorn, Kamut®, durum, and forms such as bulgur, cracked wheat and wheat berries, Wild rice. Read the labels.
3. Vegetables and Fruits. The colors of the rainbow. All of them, raw is marvelous but lightly steamed is good too. No cheese, no sauces — just the good food.
4. No Chemicals. We don’t need chemicals in our air, water, on our skin, nor in our hair. We certainly don’t need them IN our bodies. When at all possible stay away from any food that has been processed. This includes boxed and frozen meals, and soda. Do the best you can with avoiding these foods. Time constraints force us to eat fast. Try to find an alternative that fits your schedule and your pocketbook.
5. Sugar, Salt, Sugar Substitutes. These are chemicals too. Eliminate or limit them as much as you can.
Find Your Diet Guru
Armed with the reminders above you can consult your personal guru. Your Body! Start with a notebook and write down all the food you eat. How much you eat. When you eat and how you feel after you have eaten it. Do you know what you shouldn’t eat, but refuse to acknowledge the voice pleading with you to stop? I’m assuming you’re committed to staying healthy. You aren’t worried exclusively about weight loss. Baby Boomers make up 26% of the population, and for the most part we are healthier than past generations. There is promise that we can be a healthier generation with better longevity. We want to do that in style. Start now with a healthy approach to your day.
Remember the old circus manipulation of plate spinning? When you eat foods that make you feel crappy your body has to work harder to keep balance. When it can’t keep up your problem is bigger than a broken plate — you face the distinct possibility of disease. Your body needs the best nutrition possible. You feel best when the foods you eat enhance these processes, not hinder them. Eating foods right for you will make you feel marvelous. Go for marvelous and live out your days in balance. Be Well!
* FYI – The Chicken Thigh Union is not a real organization. It is my attempt at humor!