|The Lounge | Champions | The Wire | Schedule | Audio | Arcade | The Top Ten | Historical | Email | Video|
Healthy Eating Habits
I read a lot about thetopics of health and especially diets. I have been experimenting withdiets since 1990 and keep journals about myobservations. Over time I tried several very different diets - rangingfrom the politically correct ones to highly controversial, along with dietsof my own design. My general observation is that a healthy diet plays an essentialrole in the overall scheme of well being.
Why eat healthy?
Eating the natural foods humans are well adapted at utilizing, enhancesones ability to cope with the reality of every day life. This in essenceimproves the probability of living a longer, healthier life. Quality food consumption becomesespecially important in the present world of high stress and pollution -making a healthy diet an essential aspect of modern self health care.(Although food is not the only aspect contributing to health or disease, itis significant enough to consider it's effects seriously.)
I think anybody who seriously tried living healthier through a better diet,proper physical activity, adequate rest, and by addressing mental andspiritual factors have experienced a vast range of natural health benefits.Common benefits are overall better health and a sense of well being, better sleep,improved physical endurance and strength, sharper mental abilities and lowersleep requirements. Further more, no or little time and money and energy isspend on doctors, hospitals and health insurance bills.
What is a healthy diet?
Since this article deals with healthy eating, a question remainsto be answered: what constitutes a healthy diet? Unfortunately, there aremore opinions about this than there are health experts. To further complicatethe matter, dietary concepts change over time, leaving most people confused and uncertainabout what or whom to trust. One solution to this problem is to become sufficientlyknowledgeable about the relevant subjects and rely on common sense to draw basicconclusions. Along with personal experimentation, such an approach willenable one to establish healthy eating habits. This takes time and energy, but consideringthe long lasting benefits a healthy diet can provide, the effort is more then well worth it.
In order to determine the minimal basic requirements of a healthy diet, Iconcluded that it is safe to start with the following two objectives:
Looking at the type of diets humans lived on through out pre-history, provides goodinsights into the kind of foods human body should be well adapted at utilizing and dealing with.Further, the diets of certain ethnical groups that are well known for good health -the people of Okinawa(Japan), traditional cultures in the Mediterranean region and many hunter-gatherersocieties - suggest certain health promoting dietary habits. Upon closer examination, two maindenominators emerged:
In the context of present time, one can therefore make two general assumptions in regard tothe question of what constitutes a healthy diet: 1) generally, the less a food is processed the better.2) eat less - eat what is adequate, do not over eat.
Generally, the less a food is processed the better
The reason for this is simple. For 99.9% of human existence, our specieslived on foods that were either raw or minimally processed. The technologyneeded to increase food processing did not exist until very recently.It is therefore reasonable to assume that our bodies are best adapted atutilizing and dealing with the raw or minimally processed foods which sustainedus for hundreds of thousands of years: fruits, vegetables, meats, nuts and seeds.
Often, the more recent the food is, the more likely it is to be less beneficialor even directly harmful - possibly due to lack of full adaptation to such foods.For example, it is estimated that food cooking started about500 000 - 250 000 years ago (depending on the source, the range may vary). Duringthis time frame, it is likely that human species have at least adapted in some way to cookedanimal and vegetable foods. On the other hand, the beginnings of grain consumptionare much more recent. Evidence of earliest known, systematical collecting of grainsfor food goes back to about 23 000 years ago - giving less time foradaptation to grain based foods.
Now, let's fast forward to recent times and consider all the new, human invented,highly processed foods so common today: fast foods, pizza, sweets, chips, conveniencefoods, canned foods, etc. along with the dramatic rise in heart attacks, high blood pressure,stroke, cancers, diabetes, kidney problems (and all the complications that arose from theseconditions) during the past 100 years or so.
Considering the declining health of most westernnations as opposed to good health of the ethnical groups described above, it seems reasonablethat the most recent food inventions are directly harmful to human health.Further, it has been repeatedly observed that as ethnical groups around theworld adopt the modern western diet, their health dramatically declines and they developthe same diseases that are so common to westerners. Not to mention the fact thatthe above mentioned diseases were far less common among westernersthemselves barely 100 years ago.
The more a food is processed - through excessive cooking, pasteurization,homogenization, high heat, mechanical processing, etc, - the less natural and nutritious it becomes to a pointof becoming a harmful burden to the body, rather then a useful and health promoting food. Someindustrial processing practices deprive food of their nutrients to such a high degree that the foodhas to be "enriched" by artificially adding some nutrients back into the food. This is especiallytrue of flours where vitamins are added back in after the processing is done.
A good diet is based on natural, whole or minimally processed foods. A large portionof it should consist of foods that can be eaten raw, such as fruits and vegetables.Fermented or cultured, unpasteurized foods such as kefir, yogurt, cheeses, miso, sauerkraut and picklesare considered highly beneficial. Cooking should be minimal and only applied to foods thatmust be cooked in order to be edible. Ancestral heritage also plays an important roleas certain foods may need to be excluded or emphasized.
Eat less - eat what is adequate, do not over eat
During the past several decades, food in the western and westernized nations becameincreasingly affordable and more readily available then ever before inhuman history. This very fact combined with the enjoyment food consumption brings,results in all too frequent over eating. Which again leads to the above mentioned healthproblems.
In the past, as in the traditional way of living among the ethnical groups mentionedearlier, food consumption has always been significantly lower. Food quality, on the otherhand, has always been higher. Resulting in a lower food intake, but of nutrient dense foods.
Finally, as an interesting note, it has been repeatedly confirmed through laboratory experiments on animals,including monkeys, that cutting down calories considerably lowers their susceptibilityto diseases and prolongs their life up to 50%. It is believed by many,that life long caloric restriction can have similar effects on humans.
Health promoting eating habits
Over time, through reading and experimenting, I gradually arrived at severalbasic health promoting habits that in my experience are the most important:
Good sources of protein:
Good sources of carbohydrates:
Good sources of fats:
I always try to find organic foods to avoid harmful substances like hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, etc.The most contaminated fruits are: raisins, cherries, peaches, strawberries, mexican(winter) cantaloupe, apples, apricots, Chilean (winter) grapes. And the mostcontaminated vegetables are: spinach, celery, green beans, bell peppers, cucumbers,cultivated button mushrooms, potatoes and wheat. Lean poultry is probably the safest meatto eat if not organic.
What follows are weekly meals that closely resemble my diet at the time of thiswriting. When planning meals, the key idea is to have variety in diet and to rely onfood combinations that agree with ones digestion.
TBS = table spoon
I plan meals loosely, 1-2 days ahead. The meal preparation is very simple: meat andeggs are boiled in water, vegetables that need cooking are steamed. Since certain food vitaminsbecome more bioavailable once exposed to low heat cooking, it is a good idea to alternatebetween cooked and raw vegetables. For example,Bio-carotene found in carrots becomes more absorbable after light steaming.I adjust the quantity of food according to how physically active I am during the day.
In addition to the above foods I also take vitamin and mineral supplements anddrink bottled water. I use spices and salt. Kefir and sour milk are made at homefrom organic full-fat, unhomogenised pasteurized milk. Sprouts are home grown as wellfor maximum freshness. Both are very easy to make and require only few minutes ofdaily attention.
Although a healthy diet can enormously improve ones health, it is only one essential partof healthy living. The other parts are proper and adeqaute physical activity,mental and spiritual well being, and adequate rest. All need to be addressed in order toachieve better health.
An important thing I learned while experimenting with diets and other healthrelated approaches is to always pay attention to the signals from the body. It is essential todo this - in order to maintain good health - and adjust accordingly. As one getsbetter at reading the body, it becomes natural to self diagnose a lot of minor problems (which canbecome major if not paid attention to) and remedy them by simply adjusting the diet or other aspects of life.Finally, we are all different - what works for one person may not work for another - thus it'simportant to experiment with ones diet to find out what works and what doesn't.
Disclaimer: This article represents personal views and shouldbe treated as such. Implementation of any ideas containedherein can only be done at own risk.
(If you found this article helpful, you may return the favor by buying a poster of one of my images at www.art.eonworks.com/gallery/gallery.html.)
Copyright © 2005 Dawid Michalczyk. All Rights Reserved. This contentmay be copied in full, with copyright, contact, creation, information and links intact, without specific permission, when used only in a not-for-profitformat. Author's email: email@example.com
Dawid Michalczyk is a freelance illustrator and an artist. He enjoys learningabout health, anthropology and computers. He loves to ride a bicycleand does it almost every day. To see examples of his work and other writingsvisit his website at http://www.art.eonworks.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Fat: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
When it comes to planning a healthy diet, fat is a complex subject. It's useful to understand some basic information.
Fluoride Damages Childrens Bones, Study Says
White-spotted or yellow splotched teeth may reveal more than needed expensive cosmetic dentistry.Children with fluoride-discolored teeth (dental fluorosis) are more likely to have bone damage, according to a study published in the journal "Fluoride.
5 Favorite Summer-Break Tips
You can trust me that I make sure to take care to have as EnergyRich? a vacation as possible (why come back from vacation feeling bloated, a few pounds heavier, experiencing heartburn etc, right?). So I wanted to share my 5 favorite ways (food-wise and fun-wise) of making that happen!Food For Summer Vacation1.
Calculating Your Calorie Needs
In order to eat fewer calories than you need, you have to determine how many calories you actually need. Adults can calculate their approximate energy needs using the following formula:A.
Aggressive Behaviour Seems To Be Triggered By Early Age Diet
The fact that diet directly affects behaviour is no news, on the contrary, this reality has been perceived a very long time ago, as the old saying "a man is what he eats" proves. Studies have been performed to ascertain the degree in which this happens.
Seafood - the Healthy Alternative
Most red and white meats are very fatty and are not a healthy way to eat. Seafood on the other hand offers you a great tasting alternative.
Just The Tea FAQs: Health Benefits (Part III)
The wonders of modern science continue to amaze us with new cures and essential information on healthy living: what to eat, what to drink, what do to; and, of course, what not to eat, drink, and do. All of this is quite wonderful.
Garlic - Join Me And I´ll Show You Why Garlic Can Save Your Life
Are you worried yet about your health? Are you anxious about your heart, or about the possibility of contracting cancer? If so, you are not alone, and your concerns are quite valid. Cancer and heart disease are today's major killers, and as of now, we are yet to find a safe and effective drug, that can prevent these diseases.
How The Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health
When was the last time you consumed soda? Most likely, it wasn't that long ago. You may even drink several cans or bottles each day.
Nutrition - Its Whats Eating You That Counts
"It's not what you eat, it's what's eating you that counts."Before we talk about food, the most important nutrients we put in our bodies are air and water.
The Macronutrient Balancing Act
Finally, dieters and healthy eaters everywhere have reason to rejoice, for there is a clear understanding of which fats, and which carbohydrates should be eaten for optimal health.For too long, healthy eaters with a range of diet or weight loss goals were provided with confusing, sometimes counterproductive information with respect to carbohydrates and fats.
Learn About Food Nutrition Facts
Food nutrition factsFinding food nutrition facts and dietary nutrition used to be almost impossible because of the mountains of facts scattered all about in libraries and books. Lets face it most of us aren't going to cuddle up to a book on vitamins and minerals.
Do You Eat Breakfast?
It is not a myth. Eating breakfast is an important part of attaining and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
5 Secrets of Reading Food Labels Revealed
Whether you're concerned about cancer, cardiovascular disease,diabetes, or simply losing weight, you want to eat a healthy dietand focus on foods that are high in vitamins, minerals, andphytonutrients, and balanced in fats, carbs, proteins.There is only one way to incorporate healthy foods into our dietand that is to make the decision to do it! Practical informationabout the nutrition and safety of the foods we consume isabsolutely vital in making this decision.
Nutrition Tips to Improve Fat Loss
Incorporating these fat loss tips will improve your nutrition program. Start off slowly and add one a week, you don't have to adopt all of them at once.
The Liquid Vitamin Mineral Approach
Liquid vitamin mineralThe liquid vitamin mineral dietary supplement is a must have for maximum vitality and health. In today's fast food environment most of us do not get the proper balance of food for the necessary for optimal health Unfortunately the body only absorbs 10 to 20 percent of the nutrients found in traditional pills and capsules.
A Background to Dietary Fiber
Fiber is the part of the plant that is resistant to hydrolysis (A chemical decomposition in which a substance is split into simpler compounds by the addition or the taking up of the elements of water) by human digestive enzymes and, with the exception of lignin, fibers are complex carbohydrates. These include pectin, gums, mucilages, hemicellulose, polysaccharides cellulose, and nonpolysaccharide lignins.
Seasonings: Add More Than Just Flavor
Besides providing taste, color, and aroma, certain seasonings can also add health to your meals. Herbs and spices contain phytochemicals which are natural health promoting substances and have been found to protect us against diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
What About Potassium?
Information on potassiumWhen you read about potassium and senate document report 264 you'll life should be changed forever. You're going to discover that the biggest fallacy most people aren't aware of is that if we eat a balanced diet, (the four food groups), we get all the nutrients we need to stay healthy and live a long life.
Green Tea and Your Health
Green tea has been used as for medical remedies in China since ancient times. It was said to have many health benefits and be a remedy for many ailments.
Section Site Map - Submit News - Feedback - Comments - Advertise with Us
Copyright © 2006 Luminati Inc. All rights reserved.