WELLNESS: before reviewing our Wellness Strategies, here are some Tips for Optimum Health & Weight.
To be really healthy, we need to employ the “8 P’s”. That’s shorthand for our simple strategy of plant-based eating, portion control, physical activity, practical thinking, planning, positive attitude and prevention to help achieve our health and weight goals. Give them a try and make health your priority (strategy #8).
1. MOVE TOWARDS A PLANT-BASED DIET
One of the most effective ways to reduce your risk for cancer and other health problems, feel better, look better and cut down on bad calories is to move towards a diet that is mostly plant-based. This doesn’t mean you need to become a vegetarian, although a low-fat, high-fiber vegetarian diet is certainly a healthful option. It simply means you need to eat more of a variety of vegetables and fruits, grains (especially whole grains) like bread, rice, pasta and cereal, and legumes, such as beans, peas and lentils. These foods help fill you up with minimal fat and calories, a big plus when you’re trying to manage your weight (of course, be wary of high-fat toppings and larger-than-needed portion sizes). A mostly plant-based diet also supplies an abundance of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals and other disease-preventing substances. We know from hundreds of studies that those who eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and grains have a much lower risk of virtually every disease known to man. We should remember why we are supposed to eat — to build and maintain a healthy body: “we are what we eat“. These days we eat for almost every reason but that, so we would do well to get back to eating so that we build a better body than we have today; and it’s never too late to start.
Shopping for healthy food these days is a real challenge. When we are in the supermarket, we try to stay around the outside aisles, where there’s less temptation (have you ever noticed that the “bad” stuff is down the center aisles?!). On the road healthy eating is always hard, but we’ve found that we can even establish healthy fast-food habits ! For instance, Wendy’s has a delicious, healthy “wrap” called Classic Greek Pita — try it! Taco Bell also has a veggie “wrap” — it has more fat than the pita but far healthier than a burger!
To eat for health and weight control, make plant-based foods the focus of each meal. Every day:
Eat seven to thirteen servings of fruits and vegetables. A medium piece of fruit, a half cup of cooked or raw fruit or vegetables, 6 ounces of juice or 1 cup of raw leafy greens is one serving. For the best nutrition, include plenty of dark green and bright orange and red choices like broccoli, kale, spinach, brussel sprouts, squash, carrots, tomatoes and red peppers.
Eat seven or more servings of “other” plant foods. A slice of bread, a medium potato, a half cup of cooked cereal, rice, pasta or beans, or 1 ounce (about a cup) of ready-to-eat cereal is one serving. Choose beans and whole grains like oatmeal, barley, bulgur wheat and brown rice more often than muffins and breads made with refined flour.
Eat fewer fatty foods. Choose low-fat or non-fat dairy products. If you eat red meat, limit your portions to no more than three ounces cooked per day (the size of a deck of cards). Use oils and fats sparingly, and opt for olive and canola oils in place of butter, hard margarines and shortening.
Drink alcohol only in moderation, if at all. Calories can add up, so cut down on alcohol or don’t drink at all. Alcohol is linked to an increased risk for several cancers, even in moderate amounts. If you drink, keep it to no more than one drink a day for women and two for men.
Drink water in preference to other beverages. Water is the most important drink, yet most of us don’t get anywhere near the 8-10 eight-ounce glasses that we need every day. Make sure you install a water filter, so you’re drinking water that contains no harmful chemicals and tastes good – most people don’t drink water because it tastes so bad. Bottled water may be ok, but it’s far too expensive and not as good as your own water filtered at your faucet.
All of the advice above applies just as much, if not more, to our children.