The adage “you are what you eat” is pervasive. While this statement embellishes a little, it’s true for the most part. Food is fuel, but it’s also the way that we get the bulk of our nutrients. You won’t be able to be healthy if you aren’t eating well. Your body needs certain things and supplementing those things only takes you so far. With so many processed, fattening, salt-filled foods available, it can be difficult to know how to avoid the food that is bad for you while embracing the food that is good for you. When you are trying to eat better and get healthier, below is the ultimate guide for eating what your body needs.
Avoid Processed Foods
One of the most important things you can do for your body is to avoid processed foods. Processed foods are a lot worse for you than you might think. They cause all kinds of health problems that even go beyond obesity and diabetes. There is a lot of hype about organic foods for many reasons. Organic food brands provide all-natural and healthy products.
While you should always look at the nutritional facts and look for loopholes in the ability to market a product as “organic,” what the word really means is that the food isn’t messed with. It means that it isn’t genetically modified. It means that there aren’t harmful pesticides used. These foods aren’t processed, adding all kinds of things that are bad for you. When you are trying to eat better, lose weight, and get healthier, you should first start by avoiding processed foods.
Choose to Cook at Home
Eating out is delicious. Who doesn’t like going out to a nice restaurant to eat? The problem here isn’t that the food tastes good, it’s that to make it taste like it does, a lot of salt, butter, fat, and carbohydrates are used. You don’t know exactly what went into making your dish at a restaurant. Instead, you should buy the best ingredients you can and cook at home. When you cook for yourself, you know exactly how much butter, salt, fat, and sugars you are using. You can make strategic choices that help you eat delicious and healthy food. Eating at home doesn’t have to be boring. It doesn’t have to be bland. When you put in the effort, eating at home can be just as delicious and a whole lot healthier.
Stop Eating Carbs
This is probably the most difficult thing for most people to do. Carbohydrates aren’t just everywhere, they are delicious. We love bread, pizza, pasta, pastries, and everything else that turns into sugar in our blood. You’ve probably heard nutritionists and body builders talk about this. Starches are not very good for you. You need grains in your diet, but you don’t need pasta. It’s a difficult pill to swallow, but if you want to get healthier in all kinds of ways, cutting out starches and carbohydrates will improve your overall well-being.
Cut Down on Drinking
Another thing that you pretty much never need is alcohol. Alcohol beyond two to three drinks a week is very detrimental to your body and mind. You shouldn’t be drinking much if you want to be healthy, but the bigger problem is what you eat when you have been drinking. Alcohol begets food and vice versa. Of course, if you’re eating pizza, you probably want a beer. What goes better with pasta than a glass of wine? Stopping by a taco truck after a night out drinking has you drinking the delicious Mexican bottled Coke. The bottom line here is that even beyond the effects of the alcohol itself, the food you eat when you’re drinking is never healthy.
Start with What You Must Eat
When it comes down to eating healthy foods, it’s difficult to supplement. Instead, you should be starting with the foods that you should eat. There are many ways to get the nutrients you need, but eating plenty of vegetables, lean proteins, nuts, and just some fruit is a great place to start. When you start your day by eating well, you can make some room for a treat later. However, you shouldn’t think that eating your vegetables gives you license to eat whatever you want. It’s a tactic that can help you eat what you should be eating first, hoping there might not be much room for the bad stuff later.
Choose Olive Oil & Spices
Whether you’re cooking at home or eating out, you have the choice to opt for healthier ingredients. For example, when you choose olive oil over other types of oil, you are getting a lot more health benefits. Olive oil isn’t as bad for your heart as other oils. Furthermore, when you choose food with spices you get holistic benefits and can enjoy the taste of flavorful food. Whether it’s cumin, ginger, turmeric, garlic, or something else, spices can be quite good for you. There really isn’t a spice that is necessarily bad for you. If you use spices as a way to cut down on sodium, you will be gaining the benefits while cutting down on the negatives.
Get Enough Sleep & Exercise
You might not realize just how much your sleep and exercise affects your diet. When you sleep enough, you won’t be starved for energy. Therefore, your body doesn’t eat as much as you would if you were tired. Furthermore, when you are getting enough exercise, you will want to eat better foods. You don’t want to be weighed down by carbohydrates before or after a workout. Naturally, you will choose healthier foods because diet and exercise are so related.
There are a lot of ways to psych yourself into eating better, but at the end of the day you simply need to do it. If you are trying your best to eat well and cut down on foods that are bad for you, you are making room for healthy foods. Healthy food doesn’t need to be bland. When you put in the effort, you can eat very well.