Everybody except for babies and some small children have the ability to make a choice as to what he or she will eat. And every choice has its consequences. Although the circumstances may be somewhat different, we see the consequences of food choice way back in the beginning of time. Ever heard of Eve, the wife of Adam? She chose the wrong food and suffered the consequences. If we choose the wrong foods, we will also suffer consequences, in this case….ill health. It is therefore important for us to know how to eat for health.
Let’s look at Nutrition
The science of nutrition is a topic that is very current. It is nowadays pushed as a major factor in medicine and preventive medicine. There is an overall increase in general awareness of nutrition and its importance to life and health.
So what do we mean by the term “nutrition”?
The dictionary will tell you that nutrition is the process of providing or obtaining the food necessary for health and growth.
You probably already know all about nutrition or at least you know much more than you even realize.
- I am sure that all of you have heard about the food pyramid.
- You have all heard the term balanced diet.
- You have heard about cholesterol, both good and bad and its role in heart attacks.
- It is common knowledge that the breast is best (for babies).
As a matter of fact I think that most of you have already heard quite a lot about nutrition and the benefit of good nutritional practices. Unfortunately that’s where a lot of us have left it, right at the “heard” part. Yes you have heard about it, but the question is, what are you doing about it?
We just need to get rid of the bad habits
Attaining and maintaining healthy nutritional practices is not something that happens overnight. Let’s say for the past 10, 20 or 30 years you have been enjoying your white bread and other highly refined, processed foods. You fry everything you eat and consume very little fruit and hardly any vegetables. You can’t survive on less than 3 pieces of crispy, fried chicken each meal and a gallon bottle of soda is always at hand.
Let’s say this is what your general eating pattern used to look like and then you suddenly change to one small piece of baked skinless chicken or better still, some lentil stew, along with brown rice and a large serving of raw or lightly steamed vegetables for lunch or dinner. For breakfast you have whole wheat bread with maybe scramble tofu or some cornmeal or oatmeal porridge without condensed milk and you substitute your soda or Kool-Aid for water or unsweetened fruit or vegetable juices. If you make this drastic change, chances are that you will be one very unhappy person and it is unlikely that you will be able to stick to this new regime for very long. Maybe some persons can make this drastic change and stick to it but this is rare.
How to eat for health
Successful dietary modification comes gradually. Choose one area at a time that you would like to change. For example, you might start by cutting down the amount of oil that you cook with. When your taste buds have gotten used to that, you may then decide to add more vegetables to your diet. You can then decide to substitute whole wheat flour for white flour, cut out added sugar out of your fruit juices etc.
One thing you can be assured of is that you can succeed with these modifications because the human body is very adaptable to change. You will find yourself eating and enjoying things that you used to dislike.
I can testify to that.
Early in my adult life I didn’t used to eat brown bread. I didn’t even like it touching my white bread.. Now, if I have to eat a piece of white bread it is like something is missing. Another amazing thing for me is that one of my most favorite protein food now is tofu. It’s truly amazing because I used to hate the stuff. But now give it to me baked, give it to me fried, give it to me curried, give it to me scrambled; just give me my tofu.
The human body truly adapts easily.
Remember taste is something learned. We feed our babies some mashed up tasteless thing, according to our estimation and taste buds. There is no salt or sugar added. Just a bland, semi-solid, unappetizing…..thing. But the baby is smacking his lips and enjoying it immensely. So one day you decide to try baby with some of your nice tasty food and what happens? He spits it out immediately and screws up his face. But you continue giving your baby your kind of food and he eventually starts enjoying and even crying for it.
The same principle applies to us bigger children and adults. Anything you want to eat, your taste buds can get used to the change and you will even start to enjoy it no matter how much you dislike it now. The choice is yours.
So what should you eat?
There is not a “special diet” that you need to go on. You just need to follow this simple principle and you are well on you way to eating for optimal health.
First: Ensure that as much as possible, your meals consist of whole, unrefined or minimally refined foods from the following groups.
You will be amazed at the wide variety of foods that are available from these groups.
Second: Reduce or totally eliminate from your diet, foods such as animal products, high fat foods, sugar, refined foods, processed/packaged foods and junk foods.
Many studies show that a starting a plant based diet is the best choice for optimal health.
Make the change to healthy food choices and enjoy a happy, healthy life.
Feel free to share your journey to health with us in the comments section below.