We Are What We Eat
We have all heard it said that we are what we eat, but most of us probably do not quite believe it. However, it is true. Our body is as clean as the food we feed it.
The nutritional content of what we eat determines the composition of our cell membranes, bone marrow, blood, and hormones. Consider that the average adult loses roughly 300 billion cells to old age every day and must replace them. Our bodies are literally manufactured out of the food we consume.
David Katz, M.D. Prevention Magazine
This is why clean food should be an urgent priority and junk food is neither risk-free nor harmless. With each bite, we determine the state of our health when it comes to preventable diseases.
Everything we eat and drink directly affects our cells, which need specific vitamins and minerals depending on the role they have to perform.
What do I mean by clean foods?
Clean foods are minimally processed and as direct from nature as possible. They are whole and free of additives, colorings, flavorings, sweeteners, and hormones.
What are best are the foods with one-word ingredients, such as spinach, blueberries, almonds, salmon, and lentils. The longer the ingredient list, the more room there is for manufacturers to slip in things like, chemicals, sugar, salt, harmful oils, and unneeded calories.
I try to follow a simple rule when selecting my foods. This rule is that the closer to nature we eat, the fewer calories it will take for us to feel satisfied. They have lots of fiber and fluid, a high ratio of nutrients to calories, and free of added flavors.
Clean foods send signals to the brain that we are full and have been fed sufficiently. This means that I do not consume too many calories. By eating clean, I can control my weight permanently without feeling deprived or hungry or having constant cravings.
According to Dr. Katz, of Prevention Magazine, processed foods often have low amounts of fiber and water; a high ratio of calories to nutrients. They also have a mix of tastes from added sugar, salt, and flavoring that overly stimulates the appetite center in the Hypothalamus.
20 Food Guidelines
To follow are some general dietary guidelines that I have found that help me to achieve good health. I may not be able to do them all at once, but just like everything else, good eating becomes a habit. Therefore, I keep at it.
Also, do not expect to live your life by these rules every day, but the closer you get to following them the more your body will forgive you if you have a day off and a bit of a binge.
- Start each day with a cup of warm water. Add lemon juice or fresh ginger. This helps get the digestive system moving and rids the body of waste and toxins
- Eat three meals a day, at regular times if possible
- Snacks are optional – only eat them when you are hungry and do not confuse hunger for boredom. If you have eaten well at meal times snacks should not be needed.
- Never eat to the extent that you feel stuffed – always stop eating before you feel full
- Don’t overdo the calorie
- Eat fruit and/or vegetables at every meal
- Make the food on your plate as colorful as possible – this will ensure that you are taking in a broad range of vitamins and minerals
- Some of these should be eaten raw every day – in the form of salads, juices, smoothies
- Two-thirds of your plate at lunch and dinner should be vegetables with the remaining third a good source of protein
- Eat a good source of protein with every snack and meal – a portion of protein should measure approximately the size of the palm of your hand
- Starches (grains and potatoes) are optional at meal times and should be used in small portions
- Eat a variety of whole, natural, unprocessed foods and try not to eat the same food every day.
- Try to prepare food from scratch to reduce the amount of preservatives and chemicals entering your body
- Be aware of pesticides and other chemicals used in food production – read labels
- Replace all white starches (bread, pasta, rice, bagels) with whole grain varieties or skip them all together
- Avoid genetically modified foods (GMO’s) by eating organic whenever possible
- Avoid commercially processed foods as much as possible – remember low fat or low sugar labels mean “overloaded with chemicals”
- Chew your food completely. Eat slowly and enjoy your food
- Share meals with family and friends whenever possible
- Drink 50-100 ounces of water a day. This will depend upon how active you are, as well as, the climate in which you live.
Try to stick to these guidelines as much as possible, but no need to become obsessive.
What difference does that make? Nothing less than this: Our forks — and our feet — are the master levers of medical destiny. David Katz, M.D. Prevention Magazine
Remember: Our body is only as clean as the food we feed it.
Eating clean can mean the difference between reducing our risk of any major chronic disease or not. Since our bodies are replacing billions of cells every day, we can use clean food as the source of these building materials.
When your body is so clean, you get to notice even the slightest differences in how you feel. You have the opportunity to notice and make corrections to your diet. We only have this one body. We can prematurely use it up or treat our bodies as they were meant to be treated; with respect and dignity.
What will you put into your body today? Will you try some of the suggested guidelines? I would love to hear what changes you made.