|Funke Koleosho's Tenets to Eating Healthy|
I know many people start the year off by making new year resolutions, 90% of which relates to food and diet. I often think that this is so cliché..and it fails every year. I personally no longer follow diets, because the truth is I love the way I look and feel about my health. Also because based on personal experience and experiences from others, I know diets do not work! What works is understanding what you eat and making a conscious decision to create a balanced lifestyle for you...!
Over the years during the course of researching and writing about food, I have come to the realisation that what we eat is so, so important and directly linked to our health and well-being, I have found so much out about different types of food and food ingredients that I am so careful now about what allow to cross my lips into my mouth and body. I take a view that once it gets into my body, there is no going back in regards to how that food affects or impacts my body, health mind...etc
Those say Your Are What you Eat and Food is Your Medicine" are so right. What you eat defines how you look and what your health status will be. In the same line of thought, food is truly your medicine because nature provides complete range of foods containing the substances (nutrients) you require to be happy, healthy, well and beautiful.
So why do people struggle with their weight and why do people appear to eat things which make then unhealthy?...I personally feel the reason comes in two folds; one is that most people are ignorant and have little or no knowledge about the food they eat. Second is that, those who have some or full knowledge lack the will power or are carefree about what they eat...
I am not a dietitian by profession but I qualify as a food scientist and nutritionist and I know how important it is to take what we eat seriously, and how understanding their scientific make up of food can help us make good and informed choices. I have used this as a basis to for the following tenets which I apply effectively to my eating habits, they have worked for me and I am pleased to share with you...
Funke Koleosho's Tenets to Eating Healthy & Staying Healthy
- Have the Desire: I think eating healthy and staying healthy starts with a burning desire to want to be that... Your desire and willingness to stay healthy makes it a lot easy to achieve your aims. If the will and commitment are lacking, eating healthy and staying healthy will be a struggle! So find a source or sources of motivation to keep you going. This could be from friends or family. It could also be from mundane things such as wanting to look great, radiant and beautiful all the time...! It could also be tied to costs, for instance I have some pretty expensive wardrobe items, and the cost of having to replace them in an event that they become unwearable due to weight gain, keeps me in check. Set some targets for yourself and draw out a plan to help you meet them. Of course motivation could also be for health reasons. Whatever the case, have a desire and conviction that you need to eat and stay healthy.
- Know Your Food: Make a conscious effort to research about food and food ingredients. Find out what their nutritional benefits are and understand how best to prepare and cook them to get the most out of them. If you know how a food item may benefit or impact your health, then you are in a better position to decide if at all you will eat it and if so, how best to and in what quantity and frequency would you eat it. I think this is the most crucial issue to address in ensuring that you are eating and living healthy. Do not follow the crowd when it comes to eating certain foods. Find out why you have to eat it!
- Eat Less Processed Food: Chemical properties of processed foods are miles away from the chemical properties of food in their natural state. The amount of science and technology applied to food processing is unbelievable and outright shocking at times. Processed foods are laced with so much chemical substances, some of which you would not even dare eat in isolation. Most processing techniques applied to food tend to alter their chemical compositions significantly. This fact is hidden away from the public in order to keep a market for these products. There is therefore a huge and calculated cover-up by large food processing firms to twist the truth with regards to what these food actually contain and do to our bodies and health.
They have huge budgets for marketing these products in ways which attract the innocent. What I advocate is to stay well away from factory processed food. This is because they are full of all sorts of things that contribute largely to our ill health. If you must, make sure you read the packaging thoroughly to find out how much processing its undergone and what the nutritional data is. That said, I would also say that you should never make a habit of eating factory processed foods too often.
- Eat More Fruits & Veg: The more you eat your food raw, the more you are assured of gaining their maximum nutritional benefits. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with so much nutrients, in particular vitamins and minerals, which are so important to staying well and healthy. Eat a minimum of five to seven portions of different fruits and vegetables daily.
- Eat More Good Fats: To function properly, our bodies need a daily supply of essential fatty acids which can only be found in oil rich foods such as avocados, nuts and seeds. Stay away from artificial and genetically modified oils like canola. Instead eat more naturally occurring oils that have undergone minimal processing. Red palm oil and coconut oil are excellent and are healthy for you. Olive oil, black seed oil and avocado oil are also very good oils to use in your daily diet or cooking. With regards to oil, I always say not all calories are equal. While oils hold high calories, coconut oil for example actually helps in weight management...!
- Watch Your Portions: Portion control has become a buzz word now on many diet websites, and rightly so. You should take the responsibility to understand the ingredients that make up your meal, and ascertain the right quantities you need them. Really you want to be bulking up on the more beneficial stuff such as fruits and vegetables, and you need to eat less of processed carbohydrates in particular and sugar. If you are not a very active person, or someone who does manual labour related work, your carbohydrate intake should be no more than 200-250g per meal. The rest of your meal should be vegetables, good chunk of protein and some fruits.Where possible or if you have not included them in your main meal, get a good portion of nuts and seeds to nibble on as snacks throughout the day. According to NHS UK, a healthy portion plate ideally should contain 50% vegetables, 25% carbohydrates and 25% protein.
- Vary What You Eat: I love the slogan which says "Eat the Rainbow". This means you should eat foods with different colours and of different varieties. There are so many fruits and vegetables the God has blessed us with and they come in such varied and intense colours. The deeper the colour the more the nutritional benefits. Explore and eat different types and categories of foods. Do not get stock with eating the same food week on week. Reach far and wide with sourcing your ingredients and incorporate them in your diet. Explore and discover tastes and flavours. Look at it this way; different food items offer different nutritional benefits, so limiting yourself to just a few means your are short changing yourself somewhat...
- Plan Your Diet: Make some effort to plan our meals ahead ensuring that you do not eat the same food all week. Make it a habit not to eat same food more than twice a week. Explore and try new ingredients and recipes. Ensure also that your plate is well balanced with the right amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, fats & oil, and fruits & vegetables. The use of a Meal Planner (weekly or monthly) will be really handy in creating structure for your diet.
- Be Active: Most of us live a sedentary lifestyle. From work which is usually on a desk in front of the computer, to home sitting on the sofa in front of the TV. We all need about 1200kcal daily for our bodies to function right. Any additional calories becomes excess and must be expended somehow otherwise it becomes stored as fat! If you are having more calories than required by you body, you need to find a way to use up these calories if you do not want then handing around your tummy and other other organs. Commit to weekly fitness activities such as swimming, running, long distance walking etc. Get up and be active...!
- Cook...! Your Own Food: Cook, cook, cook...!!! There is nothing more gratifying than being able to make your own food. It is one way that you are certain of what is in your food. You choose the ingredients and methods for preparing it. This give you so much control and power regarding what goes into your food and subsequently into your body. I know we live very busy lives now and most people have little time to spend in the kitchen. But I say, when there is a will there is a way. A little coordination and planning will also help. Cooking in bulk and storing is a great idea. Having a great interest in your health and that of your loved ones, is an ongoing motivating factor.
- Make Your Watch Word ... MODERATION: In everything, eat in moderate portions and at moderate frequency.
|According to NHS UK, a healthy portion plate ideally should contain|
50% vegetables, 25% carbohydrates and 25% protein.