Bare-bones nutrition tips

7 Jul

It’s hard to change bad habits, and unwise to try to do so quickly. Quitting a daily chocolate bar/junk fix cold turkey will very rarely be effective or, more importantly for your sanity, pleasant. Let’s not torture ourselves, yeah?

I figure it’s never a waste of time to repeat good advice, and maybe there’s someone out there just starting to work towards better health, who may find this information useful. So here are some easy beginner tips I’ve gathered here and there:

– Bring whole foods into the mix: If you aren’t already doing this, try to incorporate local, organic fruits and vegetables into your diet. Fresh food grown closer to your home, hopefully with few/no pesticides, is considered to be closer to its optimal level of nutrient content than items that have been shipped unripe from far away. Those rock-hard peaches from halfway across the world just weren’t at their peak when they were taken off their tree.

– Carry a metal canteen (not a plastic bottle!) filled with filtered water – bring it to work, carry it while you’re out for the day, etc. Hopefully your place of work has a water cooler where you can refill. Drink at least one canteen-full during your day; try for one in the morning, one in the afternoon, eventually.

– Steer clear of deep-fried or processed food, and anything that contains artificial sweeteners: gum is just bad for you, I’m sorry! And so are fried onion rings, salty snacks that contain MSG (a lot of them do, check the ingredients before you buy!), aspartame-rich sweets, etc. Splenda is not the answer, either.

– While we’re talking about sugar, try cutting back on that too! If you’re hooked on candy/super-sweet baked goods, this is going to be tough. You’ve trained yourself to crave that sugar high everyday, possibly several times a day. I’m not trying to be mean, that’s just what you body is used to getting. So, gradually reduce your intake. If you usually have a sugar-packed dessert every night after dinner, start replacing it with fruit, maple-sweetened baked goods, or a strong decaf tea with a low-sugar cookie on the side. Optimally, you will eventually switch to a regimen that is something like: sweet dessert once a week, fruit mostly, no dessert once or twice a week. In an ideal world, all sweets would be eaten before 6pm, eliminating dessert in your non-special-occasion/not-entertaining-friends meals. But again, it’s not about self-torture, it’s about being happy while maintaining as healthy a diet as possible.

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