How do you decide which of the many diets and foods are good choices for you? There are so many conflicting theories and thoughts on what we should eat to be happy and healthy it is difficult to know what to do. Since I am frequently asked about nutrition coaching and the optimal foods to eat to be fit, healthy and strong this post will outline my current thinking. Since being healthy is a top priority for most of us, we must continually be doing research and thinking about our current digestion, metabolism and nutrition requirements. After evolving over many years with many approaches and considerable trial and error these discoveries seem best for me and led to my current strategy. Hopefully these insights will help you make better choices and establish healthy habits.
In 1999 being vegetarian sounded great to me and I followed it for ten years. Unfortunately without adequate information and a mastery action plan I lost too much muscle mass, strength, tone and weight followed by some health related issues. Today there is better access to more helpful information, resources and role models to help one follow a variety of customized nutrition programs centered around a diverse plant based diet. Unfortunately many of the veggies I ate in the past were not organic so I actually consumed a higher dose of agriculture chemicals that are serious health hazards and which harmed my health and contributed to thyroid issues. Being a healthy vegan or vegetarian can be a challenge in today’s world of highly processed and refined foods made with lots of carbs and added sugars. While it is easier to access nutrient dense organic whole foods, avoiding harmful chemicals is still a big challenge. Even most grains are a major concern due to the use of Genetic Engineering (GE) and glyphosate used as a crop desiccant, harvesting technique and herbicide. Processed and refined carbohydrates such as canola, corn, rice, potato, soy, sugar and wheat are a recipe for diabetes, obesity and syndrome X. Unfortunately this food group makes up about 80 to 90% of the diets of many people and the canola, corn, cotton, rice, soy, sugar beet and wheat is Genetically Engineered (GE).
Unfortunately most of the animals product choices currently available are unhealthy due to poor husbandry practices which includes: antibiotics, CAFO’s, feed additives, hormones, GMO feeds, stressful substandard accommodations and unsanitary packaging and processing procedures. While accessing organic animal products is a bit easier and healthier most Americans eat too much animal products for optimal health. Consuming too much animal products is unhealthy for people and the planet. Animal products should be free range, grass fed and organic which requires more pasture land and procedures than are sustainable for the rapidly growing global population. The consumption and conversion of foods by animals into usable products is fairly inefficient and thus produces less output of usable foods for humans. BTW Bones and organ meat are valuable food items but too much is being fed to pets instead of people.
Commercial dairy is one example of a product that is not necessary for most people and is prepared, processed and produced in ways that are harmful for humans. Most dairy cows are abused and over used so their life span is cut short from a normal 20 years to 4 years and they end up as cheap hamburger meat at fast food chains. Most dairy bulls (males) end up as veal which is tragic. When I gave up dairy most of my allergies and sinus issues disappeared for good. Organic chicken and eggs would be a much better and efficient source of food that could be a sustainable alternative to dairy cows and milk. While wild animal venison is a good option there is not enough protected land left for large populations and cattle ranchers do not like the competition.
It seems best to follow a middle of the road approach referred to as organic paleo light plant based diet plus maybe some organic chicken, eggs and small wild fish if they serve you. Plant based diet means wide variety of fresh nutrient dense organic whole foods that include all the colors of the rainbow. A large percentage should be consumed raw or a lightly saute. This includes a diverse selection of beans, berries, fruits, greens, herbs, melons, nuts, roots, seeds, sprouts, squash, tubers and sea weeds.
Fantastic Fitness Fuel & Fun Foods
Here are examples of fitness fuels and fun foods:
- Good fats from: avocado, coconut, chia, extra virgin olive oil, flax, hemp hearts, nuts & seeds are very healthy and provide lots of energy.
- Amaranth, mushrooms, quiona, wild rice are healthy and could fill a good portion of meals.
- Berries, fruits and melons are good if you focus on the lower sugar ones the most. It is better to eat whole foods and avoid juices.
- Some bananas, mangoes & oranges are good especially when used in a smoothie with some good fats, greens and seeds.
- Greens like amaranth plant (callaloo), cruciferous veggies, moringa, mustard, sesame, taro leaf are delicious and nutritious.
- Sprouts are a great source of energy, nutrients and protein.
- Roots and tubers like beets, cassava, carrots, sweet potato, taro and yucca are a great source of nutrients.
- For a fit and strong dad, mom, runner, student or worker these food suggestions work very well.
- BTW: Chia and hemp seeds may be some of the most beneficial foods to consume consistently.
- FYI: Raw beans, grains, nuts and seeds must be soaked in water first and the water discarded before consumption or cooking to remove anti-digestion enzymes & lignins.
We are very lucky today there are many new food options being introduced that were not as easily available in the past. Here are some of the many easy choices available: almond flour, cacao, cassava, chia, coconut flour, coconut water, flax flour, maca, medicinal mushrooms, pea protein, quiona and sea weeds
In honor of the recent Houston Marathon runners I am sharing my fitness fuel and fun food suggestions that helped me train for and complete four marathons. These fitness fuel and fun foods were a big part of my running and training nutrition support and still important for fitness today. Foods that heal include:
- Avocado with sea salt
- Blended raw nuts and seeds elixirs (Almonds, Brazil nuts, chia, flax, pumpkin, sesame and walnuts pre soaked in water)
- Smoothies made with almonds, banana, berries, Chia seeds, greens, orange, pumpkin seeds and walnuts are a superfood secret.
- Water with honey, lemon or lime juice and sea salt. (Beverages to avoid are Gatorade, Powerade and Red Bull)
Foods that harm: Best to avoid isolate whey powders (dairy, antibiotics, GMO feed & hormone issues) and soy (GMO & phytoestrogen issues) protein powders. Also avoid carbohydrate loading of processed and refined foods like: breads, cereals, granola bars, pasta, white potato, white rice.
Healthy Habits & Habitats
In 2018 Morningstar NEWS will focus 50% on Healthy Habits and 50% on Healthy Habitats. As we research and role model proven principles for a fantastic future we are eager to share these words with wisdom. Our vision is attracting a wide variety of eco conscious people to help design, build and live in a more sustainable way. We invite ideas, insights and inspiration to help us focus our planning and progress. Sharing solutions, strategies, suggestions and systems will help us all design and develop better eco communities.
Where is Your Gap?
What actions, behaviors, beliefs and decisions regarding your habits and habitats are impacting your happiness and health? What is your motivation for making better choices to avoid health hazards and adopt healthy habits? Investing in our health helps protect our wealth. When we are happy, healthy and holistic we naturally shift to a more sustainable ecological, economical and environmental friendly lifestyle.
Mastery Action Plan (MAP)
Our daily habits and habitats directly impact our happiness and health. There is a wealth of wisdom showing the benefits of conscious choice for a happy and healthy life. What are you willing to do different today to embrace better choices in 2018? Creating a healthy habits code of conduct and mastery action plan will enhance our quality of life. Our happiness and health benefit from healthy challenges, changes and choices.
Call to Action
What comments, commitments or concerns come to mind regarding healthy habits and habitats?
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