Posted on: 12/07/2022 Posted by: helpagama Comments: 0

Everyone is plagued with this topic since decades. What do I eat or not eat to stay slim? Should I turn vegetarian? Should I eat eggs? How many times a day should I eat and at what time? Do I need to follow a diet? Can I eat healthy without a diet? Should I eat avocados and protein bars? What is a healthy eating plan for a week?

The confusion is partly justified as this is the one thing we put in our body, and expect to keep us functioning. Relax! It’s as simple as it has been made to feel complicated. There are a few things you have to keep in mind to ensure you are eating healthy, and no, it does not mean eating the same ten things every single day. You just have to moderate your food consumption across various food groups and just a few things need to be limited and avoided.

Myths around Eating Healthy :

  • Fats and oils are to be avoided at all costs:

Absolutely not. The right kind of fats are healthy and are, in fact, recommended to be consumed in our diets. Moreover, if the body is starved of fats it lands up storing more going into panic mode, and you may see bloating and weight gain despite reducing your consumption of fats. We shall explore this in more detail.

  • Skipping a meal:

Skipping a meal will only lead to a decline in your energy, and further health complications. Further, your metabolism will be affected and you may not be able to digest effectively what you are eating.

  • Eating multiple meals a day:

Your metabolism is a mechanism by the body that is active at certain times of the day. Forcefully activating it more than its regular cycle will lead to long-term damage. This technique may show short-term results, especially for young people as the body is resistant to adverse circumstances at that age, but as you grow older long-term effects may be severe including loss of appetite, weakness, indigestion, and improper bowel movements.

Unhealthy Foods That You Should Avoid

The so-called ‘healthy’ foods which are commercially marketed these days have questionable health benefits:

  • Cereal, Protein Bars, Granola, etc.:

Marketed as being ‘organic’, ‘healthy’, ‘super-meals’, and ‘nutrition-packed’, these foods are many a time high on sugar and salt content. Granola and protein bars contain nutrients that are from their ingredients, but the binding that makes them into a bar, and the added sugar to make the ingredients inside taste better can be high as compared to what you should be consuming on any given day. Cereals also turn out to be calorie-dense and sugar-rich.

While these may be an option to be considered once in a while when you don’t have time or access to a full meal or a hygienic meal, they should be avoided regularly.

  • Dried Fruits and Candied Fruits:

Dried fruits are very high in sugar content as they are sweetened while drying. Especially the candied dried fruits that are coated in sugar are even unhealthier if consumed regularly.

  • Flavored Yogurt:

A popular breakfast fare on hotel and restaurant menus, these, in fact, contain high amounts of unwanted sugar. A simpler option would be to take regular Greek yogurt and mix it in with fresh fruits. A little bit of honey can be added if sweetness is required.

  • Fruit Juice:

Avoid any kind of fruit juice unless it is squeezed in front of your eyes and served immediately. Juice is marketed as a health drink and sells like hotcakes. But, the thing you should know is commercial and packaged juice may contain lesser juice than you think. To maintain its shelf life and ensure low costs and a consistent taste companies add lots of sugar, preservatives, and other things. This makes the nutritional value go down and can make you gain empty calories due to the sugar content and unhealthy preservatives.

The best kind of juice is fresh-squeezed, or just have coconut water (the freshly cut one, not the bottled one) which is nutritious and cools you down on a hot day.

  • Energy Drinks:

Did you see a can or a bottle that markets itself as a boost of energy, or a sports drink that claims to provide athletes with the stamina they require to get through their intense workout or running session?

Just like soft drinks like cola and flavored sodas are known for containing high amounts of sugar, so do energy or sports drinks. The truth it seems is that there is no shortcut for delivering a high amount of nutrients without them having adverse effects. The feel-good effect and the energy rush are mostly because of high amounts of sugar and maybe caffeine content.

Vegetarianism is another concept floated for health conscious people. Let us it understand

The types of vegetarian diets and their effects.

  • Vegetarians who do not consume meat, but eat eggs and dairy.
  • Vegetarians who consume only dairy and plant-sourced food.
  • Vegans, who do not even consume dairy or anything remotely originating from an animal.

Many people have been seen converting to vegetarianism or veganism as a way to offset their calories and eat healthily. While shifting to such a diet may have some benefits in increased consumption of fiber and vitamins that are in those foods, a few drawbacks are prevalent for people who aren’t following this since childhood. Firstly, a person who has been eating meat all his life needs that level of protein and has that kind of digestive power to allow him to be healthy while continuing consumption. Sudden switches to a meatless diet will result in health issues temporarily like sluggishness, digestion issues, and lower energy levels. It would be advisable for a meat-eating person to eat leaner cuts of meat instead of cutting meat. Also, soy burgers and fake meats are good options based purely on protein, but the lack of moisture and fat content in them makes for a misbalance in the diet. As a result bloating and dryness could be experienced with a sudden change in diet. This could be combated by consuming other forms of healthy fats like dairy for vegetarians or avocados for vegans, yet the process takes trial and error and years of getting used to.

Born vegetarians are definitely safe and healthy from the above-mentioned drawbacks and can enjoy a healthy life with protein sources such as soy, dairy, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, and others.

Eggs are healthy to consume for most people. Unless prescribed by your gym instructor or a workout program, two eggs are considered a healthy amount for daily consumption.The next most important topic in healthy eating is fats.

Healthy and unhealthy fats:

Let’s discuss some sources of healthy fats that are mostly natural, unrefined, saturated, and unsaturated:

  • Avocados
  • Ghee
  • Tallow
  • Lard
  • Virgin Coconut Oil
  • Cold Pressed Sesame and Groundnut Oil
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Animal fats had been made the black sheep of the modern food industry due to some research on the unhealthiness of saturated fats. But comprehensive research and study done in recent times conclude that there was a miss in the link. The unrefined saturated tallow and lard were used decades ago as our primary cooking oils and have various health benefits for our bodies and our heart health. The latest refined vegetable oils are high in unsaturated fats, but they also contain polyunsaturated fats, which can generate free radicals in the body and be harmful to health.

For vegetarians, cold-pressed sesame and groundnut oil, extra virgin olive oil, and virgin coconut oil are the best options. Season-wise the former should be used in colder climates, and the latter in hotter climates.

How many meals a day should you eat?

The most common misconception is that we need to alter the cycle we have been following for centuries. Three meals a day is enough! For most people at least. The body produces digestive energy three times a day. First is when you get up, so that you have fuel to start the day post-restoration of your vitals when you slept. The second one is the lunch in the day, and the third is dinner. Generally, the meals should go from heavier to heavy, to lighter. The lighter meal in the night enables you to rest better and ensures you don’t get bloated or have excess energy.

Speaking of a centuries-old diet, two meals a day is also a system that has been followed since the Aryan civilization existed. This diet is also applicable to people who can adjust and whose energies or digestion doesn’t get impacted negatively by this. This is a very famous diet pattern practiced in several countries and claims to aid in weight loss and health maintenance. Trial and error and consulting a doctor can be used to decide whether to have three or two meals.

Snacks are a good way to satisfy cravings in between and keep you going, but try and keep these to simple foods like salad ( without heavy dressings ), vegetables, coconut water, natural fruit juice, a cup of tea or coffee, and maybe a glass of milk during the day. Any processed snacks aside from the occasional unflavored wheat biscuit should be avoided.

Key takeaways:

This article aims to cover foods solely based on their health impacts, and while some people may have beliefs, religious or otherwise, we would recommend following the few suggestions and doing your research as to how to substitute correctly for your body’s needs.

Healthy eating is the preventive practice against most known diseases to man. In Ayurveda, it is called root cause treatment. Anything that balances that three ‘doshas’, namely ‘Kapha’, ‘Pitta’, and ‘Vata’, is considered healthy eating and will cause you to lead a healthy lifestyle. The Chinese have similar beliefs of ‘Yin’ and ‘Yang’.

The point that can be taken away is that eat food that is closest to nature, avoid commercial processing as much as possible, and also, avoid pushing your body against nature’s cycle to ensure a healthy lifestyle.

 

 

 

 

Leave a Comment