Proper nutrition involves products from all food groups – protein, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates and foods rich in essential nutrients such as vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and others.
Healthy Nutrition and Food Choices
Our bodies use nutrients for energy or fuel, and proper nutrition and balanced diet are the key to good health and long life. Imbalances, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, overeating and excesses cause diseases and problems such as osteoporosis, overweight, diabetes, and cardiovascular problems. Healthy and proper nutrition and exercise, on the other hand, help avoid ailments and common diseases. The problem is that busy work schedules and long working hours affect our health. Many Canadians don’t have enough time to go shopping on a daily basis to buy fresh, seasonal produce and local products. More and more people consume processed and precooked meals that are loaded with empty calories, sugar, and other simple carbohydrates and are empty of nutritional value. Proper nutrition means eating foods rich in monounsaturated fats and omega 3 fatty acids, whole grain foods, lean protein, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Vegetables and fruits are packed with healthy fiber, minerals, and vitamins and are low in calorie content. They are also ideal for snacks and breakfast. Whole grains are also essential for proper nutrition and lower the risk for cardiovascular problems, colon cancer, and other diseases. It is a good idea to incorporate high-fiber cereals and snacks and whole grain breads and pasta to balance your blood sugar levels and cholesterol. Lean protein is also good for health and helps reduce bad cholesterol and the risk for heart disease and other cardiovascular problems. Good sources of lean protein include soybeans and other soy products, dairies, eggs, and frozen edamame. It is also found in meats such as ground sirloin, chicken tenderloin, pork chops, and others. Stay away from bacon and red meats.
More Tips for Good Health
While drinking plenty of water is a must, it is a good idea to have a glass of warm water before breakfast. You can add honey or lemon. Ditch tea and coffee and drink warm water first to hydrate your body and lymph system and improve digestion throughout the day. Water helps flush out toxins and other waste products and aids healthy weight loss. You may also want to add spices to your meals and menu. Spicy foods improve digestion and metabolism and contribute to balanced nutrition. The list of spicy foods includes hot sauce, Serrano peppers, salsa, and cayenne powder. Bitter and sour foods are also good for health, for example, buttermilk, lemons, sauerkraut, and others.Read More
There are many reasons why you are not losing weight (or are actually gaining) while on a low carb diet. Stress, eating processed foods, and lack of sleep and exercise are some of the reasons.
A low carb diet is based on healthy fats, proteins, fiber, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. The most important thing is to have a balanced menu. If you only eat high-fat foods, this is not only unhealthy but you may gain weight. Another reason why you are not losing weight is that you are not cutting back on carbs. Some people are more carb-sensitive. Read more…
Eating Processed Foods
Processed and fast foods are unhealthy because they are packed with sugar and simple carbohydrates. Besides weight gain, there are other harmful effects such as higher risk for stroke, heart disease, and diabetes. Processed food also contains more calories and sodium. Better stick to healthy fats, vegetables, eggs, fish, and lean meats. Good sources of fats include nuts and seeds, plant oils, cold water fish, and veggies such as olives and avocados. Healthy sources of protein are wild salmon, pastured chicken, grain-fed beef, and pastured eggs. There are unhealthy sources as well – egg substitutes, fish sticks, frozen chicken, grain-fed beef, and others.
Stress is another factor that may explain why you are not losing weight, regardless of the diet of choice. The body is constantly in a “fight or flight” state which is associated with increased levels of cortisol. Some studies have shown that high cortisol levels are responsible for cravings and hunger. There are ways to cut back on stress and relax. For example, you can try breathing exercises, yoga, and meditation.
Lack of Sleep
Studies have shown that lack of sleep is associated with weight gain and overweight. Even if you are eating low-carb foods (recipes here), you will be less motivated to stick to the diet and to exercise regularly. Plus lack of sleep makes you feel hungrier and eat more. There are ways to improve sleep. Do something relaxing, like meditation, listening to music, or reading a book before sleep. Avoid coffee, physical exercise, and alcohol before sleep. In fact, doctors recommend avoiding coffee after 2 pm.
Not Exercising Right or Enough
Exercising regularly is important, whether on a Low GI, Weight Watchers, Caveman, South Beach, or another diet. The calories burnt are not the most important factor. When exercising, you build muscle mass. Regular exercise will make you feel better and motivated to follow your diet. There are plenty of workouts and types of exercise to choose from, including low intensity, interval training, weight lifting, and others. The type of exercise depends on your body type, health status, age and sex, and other factors. Weight lifting, for example, is a way to build muscle mass and balance your hormonal levels. If you have a sedentary lifestyle, however, you may want to start with low intensity exercises (e.g. jogging or walking).
Using sweeteners is OK. Some diets even recommend using sweeteners, unless you have too many. Some of them contain few or no calories. The problem is that they may increase your appetite and some studies have shown this to be true. They can affect your appetite positively or negatively, making you lose or gain weight. However, studies show that artificial sweeteners also contribute to weight gain when consumed over a longer period.
Other Reasons for Not Losing Weight
Even if you are getting enough sleep, have a balanced menu, and avoid sweeteners, there are other reasons that may keep you from losing weight. These include certain medical conditions, having cheat meals, not eating enough vegetables, and giving up quickly. Lack of planning is another reason why you are not losing weight. You need to change your eating habits and plan your menu ahead of time. Otherwise you may hit the drive-thru, closest fast food joint, or vending machine. Getting into a routine may lead to diet boredom, especially if you are eating the same foods day after day. It is a fact that most people like variety. A varied and balanced menu helps stick to the diet and offers plenty of nutrients.Read More
Your nutrition is very important to your health and wellbeing, nobody argues that, however most people don’t make the effort to eat right.Read More