What we eat, when we eat and how we eat, contributes a lot to our well-being. In today’s high demand world, we all focus on convenience including what we eat. People no longer carefully consider what they eat. It is very clear that today, human beings are depending on a diet that is very different from that our ancestors survived on thousands of years ago. Our diet has been changing drastically with modern food processing techniques. You will see a big difference in the food values of processed food that comprises our diet today, compared to the diet of our ancestors who were only hunters and gatherers. There are such “primitive” populations of people around the world that are still living as hunters and gatherers; they eat natural foods and know nothing about modern food processing techniques. It is not surprising to hear that, such groups of people, are in excellent health and are rarely threatened by some of the diseases that are constantly killing a number of people in the modern world today. Whereas I don’t advise anyone to think of living primitively in order to prevent any kind of disease, we can learn a lesson from such communities of people.
Processed foods look much easier to eat and satisfying. For example, it’s convenient to open a bottle of juice or a can of packed food, than it is to buy and prepare a fresh meal of Irish potatoes. To some extend, lack of knowledge of what we should eat is what drives the need for convenience in food selection. The price of ignorance in every area of life is very expensive and when it comes to our health, it is worse. Diseases like diabetes, obesity, heart diseases, high blood pressure, gout and ulcers are threatening a number of people all over the world. However, I don’t say such diseases are completely as a result of poor feeding habits, our eating habits contribute a lot to our immunity.
It’s very clear that when we talk of health and disease, majority will think of treatment instead of prevention. Proper feeding habits would be the first thing to consider before thinking of any counter medications. I have a feeling that, good and healthy foods, eaten at the right times is a strong preventive mechanism to a number of diseases which we all see threatening the world today.
A holistic diet is one comprising of food that is close to its natural state as much as possible. It is life-giving. I agree that, in today’s set of things where everything is almost managed by the clock, it is not easy to maintain holistic nutrition, but this is something to do with your health and well -being. You have to make a choice. It is very inconveniencing for example, to eat unprocessed boiled fresh maize than to eat porridge. It is much easier for you to pick and open a bottle of packed mango juice than it is for you to go out to the farmers’ market, buy fruits, cut them and make your own juice.
Organic foods are constantly being replaced by improved varieties and to some extent genetically modified. How do we expect to jump the consequences? It’s tricky.
We are meant to eat food in its natural state. But a number of these healthier choices have been neglected as we look for convenience. Studies have shown that, when people live on a diet that is as close to that of our ancestors (hunters and gatherers), they lose weight, become lean and register an improvement in their overall health. Convenience in modern society, however, seems to overshadow our health needs and isn’t this very risky? This work is all about uncovering the truth and you can slowly start replacing some of these fast convenient diets with holistic ones. Do it persistently, and with time, it will become your habit. I have not said you should forego any kind of food if it has been part of your diet. But check carefully how such food benefits you. If you are to change your diet after reading this page, please first consult your medical doctor or nutrition advisor before you can make further steps.
You may find the following guideline important to you while reviewing your diet.
• Drink enough clean water: (I have described the importance of water to your health in the above discussions)
• Eat whole, raw foods: Avocados, bananas, and watermelons are to some extent still being eaten in the right way. Fish, potatoes, and eggs in most communities are still being served whole.
• Watch your food portions: Do not eat food to clean the saucepan.
• Reduce your sodium intake: Avoid processed foods, and avoid adding raw salt to food already served to you. Over-consumption of sodium is the lead cause of hypertension.
• Eat healthy fats: Saturated animal fats from red meats and dairy products are not good for your health. Good fat nourishes and strengthens cell membranes; we all need fat in our bodies every day. Good fats include; Omega-3 fats and Monounsaturated fats.
• Go organic: Always choose organic foods; avoid food that can be carriers of hormones, pesticides, antibodies and herbicides. Organic foods are those produced without the use of fertilizers. They are grown with the addition of only animal or vegetable fertilizers to the soil.
• Reduce your intake of refined flours. White flour looks attractive to the eye, and it is one reason most people will make it their choice when planning their diet. But the reason it looks white is that it has been stripped of its fibre and most of its nutrients. It is not good for your diet especially if you are trying to control your sugar intake.
• Try as much as possible to utilize the farmers local market. Get a time off your duties, and visit the local farmers market. You will be surprised how much fresh food that has been surrounding you.
• Always read on the list of ingredients: If you can’t avoid processed foods, at least always read on the list of ingredients before opening that product into your mouth, and check what you are putting in your body. Do not be fooled by the artwork of the packaging material.
• Eat meat and dairy products with caution. Too much of these can congest the organs and cells.
There are foods you can strictly avoid and make it a point throughout your life. In the previous sub-sections, I have mentioned that any success achieved, if it cannot lead one to a perfect health and continuity of life is useless. You can make it a point to reduce or eliminate some certain types of food in your diet including;
• Sugar: Whereas you could have heard that sugar is a source of fuel in the body, added sugar is not that useful to you, it is instead dangerous to your body. It is highly fattening and can be a lead cause of diseases like obesity, and diabetes.
• Artificial Sweeteners: There are a number of products with artificial sweeteners. Studies have shown that, although artificial sweeteners are calorie-free, they can cause obesity.
As we look for convenience, we start eating food from serving centres like restaurants. These are only moneymakers and in most cases will focus on profit and not your health. Stay awake; avoid highly fried foods because you will not be able to identify which kind of fats they used to fry it. Choose fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean meat.
Can you take a few minutes and make your meal plan for this week in the table below try by all means to avoid processed foods as shown above. Plan in advance where you will find whole, organic foods. Look around for the local farmers market, and make use of it. You can change your life forever.
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May God bless you as you plan your meals today.