My Top 10 Health Recommendations: Diet & Nutrition Advice Anyone Can Follow
(excerpted from “The Weight Loss Guide: A No-Nonsense Approach to a New You”, updated Oct. 2009)
One of the most difficult things to do, it seems, is to eat healthy. There’s just so much conflicting evidence as to what’s healthy and what’s not. Watch the news and you hear “low fat” is best. Go to the bookstore and you see the newest low-carb diet book.
So who’s right? Who do you believe?
Regardless of what the government, the media, or the latest diet guru says, there are certain truths that hold up under scrutiny and are easy to remember. I’ll summarize with a Top-10 List anyone can use to improve their diets, maintain a healthy body, and control their weight. These aren’t perfect, but they’ll do ’til something better comes along.
- Drink at least 64 ounces of water every day without fail. When exercising or physically exerting yourself, drink a lot more. Soda doesn’t count and neither does coffee or tea. For athletes, I often recommend 8oz per waking hour and frequent drinks while exercising. Water should be bottled or filtered, not tap water.
- Take a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement daily, preferably one that’s food-based (as opposed to synthetic) and broken into multiple dosages taken throughout the day. Supplementing with an essential fatty acid blend such as flax and fish oil would offer significant additional benefits.
- Incorporate fresh organic fruits and vegetables into as many of your daily meals and snacks as you can. Buy fresh over frozen whenever available and don’t overcook them. Emphasis should be given to leafy green vegetables and fiber-rich items such as beans and berries (among many others). If trying to lose weight, eat more vegetables and less fruit.
- Make it a habit to eat five to six small meals throughout the day as opposed to three huge meals.
- Skip fast food altogether. Better yet, prepare all your meals at home.
- Drink no more than one alcoholic beverage in a single day. A glass of red wine is the healthiest choice while hard liquor with high-calorie, high-sugar juice mixers is the least best choice.
- Skip all processed and bleached-flour breads, cookies, crackers, chips, pastries, etc. Whole grains are not as nutritious as fibrous vegetables and nuts.
- Read labels and avoid any product with any variation of the words “hydrogenation”, “hydrogenated”, “shortening”, “margarine”, “interesterified fat”, “Monosodium Glutamate”, “MSG”, “high fructose corn syrup”. Also decrease your intake of artificial sweeteners (aspartame, sucralose, etc.), preservatives, and just any “artificial” anything. Stick to whole, natural organic foods.
- Choose only lean organic meats, avoiding any processed meat products. Choose wild-caught fish first, poultry second, red meat last. Also, be sure of the source of your fish to avoid mercury contamination.
- Exercise daily. Walk, do calisthenics in front of the television, join a gym, take the stairs at work – whatever it takes to get your body moving and breathing hard. Casual strolls around the block are a nice start, but you should be sweating and raising your heart rate to get the most out of your exercise. If you don’t feel as if you’re exerting yourself, you’re not.
These are things anyone can do, so give them a shot! You are in charge of “you”. Of all the things that are out of your control, what you and your family eat and whether or not you exercise is certainly well within your realm of oversight.