Healthy Eating/Healthy Drinking 101

Share

Do you eat to live or live to eat?

Isn’t it interesting that we can put a lot of focus on how we look on the outside based on clothes, looks and other superficial things but deliberatly decide to put ‘crap’ in our stomach? People’s excuses are “it’s cheaper” or “it tastes better” but that’s not necessarily true. In 2012 we have more and more choices (healthy and unhealthy) that it’s possible to find tasty food on a budget. But along with that also comes the fact that it can also be very confusing because you have too much to choose from and a lot of decisions to make based on ingredients, calories, allergy reactions, etc. I’m hoping that this article can at least help you understand the basics of healthy eating.

BASIC FOOD GROUPS

Fat: Even if your goal is to be lean or build muscle, you need some fat to turn it into muscles. Not all fats are bad but you should limit the ‘not so good ones’ to a minimum (like sweets and butter). If you want sweets you can’t go wrong with these fruits: pineapples, apples, grapes, organges, grapefruit, peaches, melons, mangos, pears, cherries.

Healthy sources of fat are vegetables (carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, squash, beans, green beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes) and dairy (non-fat or low fat milk, yogurts, and cheeses).

Protein: There are a lot of protein powder/drinks out there but don’t forget that there are a lot of foods that are a natural source of protein. Red meat, eggs and cheese are a good example.

Also consider legumes, nuts and seeds if you don’t eat meat but stay away from anything made with too much oil and salt. Fruits like dates, raisins, raspberries, and blackberries are also great if you’re vegeterian and not getting protein from meat because they’re rich in iron.

Carbohydrates: Carbs are fuel for your body and everytime you consume them, the excess gets stored for later use, almost like a car with a reserve/emergency gas tank. Make sure you stay away from simple carbs (most of them) and only go for complex carbs. Most things with added sugar are bad for you.

Grains are an excellent source of carbs for your muscles, tissues, organs and energy and have a lot of vitamins and minerals. Buy whole wheat bread, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, oatmeal, grits, pretzels, bagels, etc.

Vitamins and Minerals Supplements: Even when you think you’re getting all your necessary daily nutrients, vitamins and mirals are important to supplement to what your body already produces. They regulate your metabolism and digestion, helps with muscle growth and recovery, fight diseases and viruses, and they actually help with hormone secretion.

There are a lot of vitamins and minerals but here’s a list specifically related to this site:

  • Vitamin C maintains your tissues; for example, if you have enough vitamin C, it’s hard to hurt your tendons. Keep in mind that Vitamin C has hundreds of functions
  • Vitamin D helps with your calcium and helps with bone strenght. Calcium is not naturally produced by your body, so it’s important to have enough in your diet or in supplements
  • Metabolism: Vitamin K assists with that. Vitamin B1 assist with metabolism of carbs, B2 of fat and B6 of protein.
  • Iron is a mineral that help transfer oxygen to tissues
  • Magnesium assists with muscle tone
  • Sodium regulates energy release

For more information on healthy nutrition, check out the USDA Food Pyramid in details.

On the resource page, you can find the food pyramid links for other countries.

HEALTHY DRINKING

Water:

Obviously one of the most important nutrients that your body needs. Most of your body mass is made of water; 75% of your muscles are made of water, so this should tell you how important water is; and when you perform daily activity (breathing, sweating, pooping lol, etc.), your body needs to refuel so that it doesn’t get dehydrated; so it’s important to drink a lot of water throughout the day whether you work out or not.

Water helps remove waste and toxins from your body, heals diarhhea, fever and a lot of diseases, regulates body temperature, lubricates joints, improves digestion, decreases chances of dehydration, promotes healthier skin, etc.

When I was a kid I was constantly in and out of the hospital and one of my main issues was dehydration. As an adult I now understand the importance of water!

Note: if you have a lot of headaches, it might be a sign that you’re not drinking enough water.

Unsweetened coffee and tea:

Tea, especially green tea is good for you for many reasons, and one being that it actually reduces your risk of cancer. I personally love tea because my grandma used to make tea all the time! It’s cheap, it tastes great and it’s good for you, so go buy some! There are all kinds of teas out there.

Coffee (not starbucks!!) also has a lot of health benefits including reducing the risk of diabetes and stroke. There a lot of good tasting coffees on the market. I personally don’t recommend starbucks because of the amount of sugar and calories that are in one drink. If you must put sugar in your coffee, don’t make it excessive and don’t drink lots of sweet coffee throughout the day.

Nonfat/Low-fat milk:

It’s not random that water and milk have existed since humans were on earth! Milk is awesome for you, even when you’re trying to lose weight. Don’t have money for protein shakes for the gym? Drink milk! It’s full of protein and calcium and will help you keep up with your daily activities as well as excercises.

If you’re lactose intolerent, there are a lot of lactose-free milk (always read the labels), almond milk, and soy milk (do your research on the effects of soy and testosterone).

Sports drinks, 100% fruit and vegetable drinks:

Pomegranate is known to increase the flow of the blood from the hearth to the rest of your body, and it tastes amazing! Cranberry reduces the risk of infections like urinary tract infection; organge juice is full of vitamin C and promotes a healthy immune system. When buying fruit juices, just make sure it’s 100% fruit and no additive.

Sport drinks are great for energy, and many other reasons depending on which drink you choose, but usually they’re high in calories, so don’t take more than 1 a day.

STAY AWAY FROM:

  • Soda
  • Sugary drinks
  • Any drink that is packed with high fructose corn syrup

For more information on healthy beverages, check out the Healthy Beverage Pitcher.

 

Neo.