A Healthy Diet, What Does That Really Mean?

 

One of the best things I think we can do for ourselves is to eat a healthy diet. But one of the things I think that confuses most of us is – what is a healthy diet? There are so many definitions of what’s healthy – low-fat, low-carb, Paleo, vegan, Mediterranean, raw, and the list goes on. It can be confusing, I’m not a nutritionist, but I do eat what I consider to be a healthy diet and so does my family. So I thought I would share with you what I believe is healthy. Our diet is healthy when it gives our bodies the nutrients it needs, does not give our bodies too many calories – too many calories leads to obesity over time and not include eating unhealthy things like too much saturated or trans fat, nitrates, excess sodium, and chemical colours and flavourings.

My diet is for the long term, not just day to day, it always balances out over a couple days – to me that’s healthy, eating healthy food daily means a good nutrient-to-calorie ratio.  Our bodies at minimum need essential amino acids – protein, healthy fats, some carbs for energy, and a bunch of vitamins and minerals like iron, calcium, Vitamin D, sodium, potassium with fibre and of course plenty of water. Food that gives you those nutrients, without a lot of empty calories, it’s usually healthy. For example, I love spinach –  it contains fibre, protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper and Manganese. I love spinach salads and eat them every second day. But everything should be in moderation, I eat bread (gluten free – as I have a gluten sensitivity) without any guilt because it’s only very small part of my diet, while the rest of my diet is full of nutrient ‘dense’ foods. My family and I eat mostly whole foods, not processed out of a box. Yes, we do eat cake and muffins but homemade from natural and organic ingredients. When cooked, almost all of or vegetables or meat is either steamed and or grilled.

Greens

Green leafy vegetables contain vitamins, minerals and fibre. Kale, spinach, broccoli, bok choy, green bell peppers, romaine lettuce are some of these.

Red, Yellow & Orange Vegetables

Eating these colourful vegetables will give you nutrients – lycopene, potassium, vitamin C and beta-carotene. Carrots, squash, tomatoes, red and yellow bell peppers, sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin and corn.

Onions & Garlic

A necessity in our diets as they have been shown to have cancer-protection properties, be creative and find ways to add them to you meals. Just a little bit can go a long way.

Nuts & Seeds

Eating walnuts, almonds, cashews, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, chia and sesame seeds, quinoa will give your body the healthy fats and proteins it needs.

Protein

Fish and poultry are great sources, and red meat in moderation. Skip the processed meats like sausage, bacon, corned beef and sliced deli meats which are full of chemicals.

Fruit

All types of berries, apples, peaches, apricots and plums, oranges, mangos, papayas, pineapple, bananas and fresh coconut.

Healthy Fats

Our bodies need healthy fats – olive oil, fish, avocados and grapeseed and flaxseed oils provide these.

Whole Grains

Brown rice, steel-cut oats, amaranth, and quinoa – which actually isn’t a grain.

Dairy Or Not

There’s no doubt we need calcium and vitamin D, and dairy does provides those as well as protein but we don’t need to consume dairy everyday. Almond, rice and coconut milk along with goat’s cheese are amazing substitutes along with GMO free organic soy milk (but only for females – there many, many studies proving the males should not drink soy)

Drinks

I may have coffee in the morning, always herbal tea throughout the day and red wine at night. But no matter what, I drink my minimum of 8 glasses of water everyday.