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Nutrition

Definition: nu·tri·tion: the process of providing or obtaining the food necessary for health and growth.

 

What you feed your body is directly associated with your health and well being. The fact is, you are what you eat! A poor quality diet can not only result in unwanted body fat, but what you eat also has profound effects on your immune system, hormones, nervous system, cellular function and GI health.

One of the primary causes of modern day health issues is the typical American diet. What makes it even more concerning is that this Standard American Diet (SAD) is practically forced upon us. The flood of poor quality foods that we experience every day challenges us continuously. In order to stay healthy we need to make a conscious effort almost every moment of every day in order to ensure we consume nutritious food. Otherwise all of the poor quality “food” that surrounds and overwhelms us is almost impossible to avoid. Its in our grocery stores, gas stations and office. Its advertised in our magazines, newspapers and on our television. Unless you’re a hermit living in the woods, you are bombarded 24/7 with the thought and temptation to eat and drink junk. Then on top of that, believe it or not, you are rewarded for this behavior! The intense flavors excite your taste buds and the brain undergoes a false sense of pleasure (dopamine), but only temporarily until you can get some more. Then on top of that you get coupons and “buy one, get one free” deals to encourage you to continue buying it

These products are designed scientifically, manufactured artificially and marketed intelligently.

11798528_mlFood, first and foremost, is to fuel our bodies. It is necessary to help cells grow and function as well as repair tissue. If you go back not even 100 years ago, the concept of eating was primarily a survival mechanism. Only the wealthy ate for pleasure. But now, most of us only eat food if it excites us. And the truth is, most of us have the impression that healthy food is a piece of grilled chicken on a bed of lettuce with low fat dressing. The fact is, real food with real ingredients including health fat is absolutely delicious! But when it comes to sugar and salt, nothing can beat the industrialized food industry. They just know how to push our buttons and keep us coming back for more. This stuff is designed to get you hooked. The science proves this. Modern day products are designed to be unnaturally super flavored in order to captivate you and lure you to eat more. Smart advertising and lax FDA regulations make it possible for these producers to use language that so convincing that we actually feel that we are making healthy choices. But as I mentioned above, these items are not only void of quality nutrition, they can actually cause us harm.

The bottom line is that only REAL food is good for you. You know, the stuff that mother nature intended us to eat. Vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, roots, tubers, fish, poultry and meat. Other items such as dairy, grains and legumes can also be part of a healthy diet as long as they are of good quality and are prepared properly.

Here are a few ideas to help you get started. Since nutritious food is the goal, you need to start with quality 28404273_ml (1)ingredients. Now you don’t need to spend a fortune if you don’t want to, but there are a few thing you shouldn’t skimp on. Purchase good quality fresh vegetables, organic is best. If you can, visit your local farmers market or better yet join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. Better known as a “farm share”. Frozen vegetables are also a very good choice. Canned vegetable on the other hand should be your last option, but not ruled out if there is no other choice. The staples of the vegetable world are potatoes, carrots and onions. With these three items you’ll always be able to whip up something with substance and on top of that they can be kept for a long time before they spoil.

When it comes to protein, the most cost effective way to get your meats, poultry and fish is to purchase it in bulk. You can purchase large packages from most grocery stores, Costco or SAMS Club. You then can freeze individual portions separately and defrost them as you need them. If you have the freezer space, try to get in on an animal share from a local farm. The meat is packaged and frozen for you and by buying in bulk saves you tons of money.

Having a well stacked pantry is also a good idea. Having lots of different herbs and spices available so that you can create a variety of flavors is lots of fun and keeps your cooking from getting boring. You also want to keep a good supply of nuts on hand for the occasional snack. Walnuts, pecans, almonds and macadamias are great in a pinch.

31492159_ml (1)Other products that you should invest in are good quality fats. The best are good quality olive oil (extra virgin for drizzling and light for cooking and frying), coconut oil and good quality butter (Kerry Gold). Industrial seed (Vegetable) oils should be avoided whenever possible. This is because of their highly refined and processed nature and their ability to cause inflammation in the body.

Now when it comes to cooking you have several options. There is no wrong way, just a few methods that should be avoided. Burnt food (poor grilling or frying) and deep frying are not the best for you, even if you love the taste. The most nutritious and convenient methods include braising (crock pot), sautéing and oven baked dishes. For speed try a pressure cooker. Microwaves aren’t a bad choice, but I personally find that the results are fair at best. I use mine primarily for reheating leftovers.

Speaking of leftovers, cooking in bulk is a fantastic time saver. If your cooking for one or a family of five. Never waste the opportunity to make enough food to feed you throughout the week. Just about any food can be cooked and then frozen as well. Investing in a vacuum sealer was one of the best decisions i’ve made for storing food. Soups, stews, chili, casseroles, frittatas, roasted meats et cetera, can all be made at one time and then stored for future use. How much easier could it be to put a nutritious meal together after a long day at work.

Where to start.

  • Choose ingredients over pre-made foods.
  • Avoid sugar and refined grains.
  • Avoid artificial ingredients, flavors and colors.
  • Use wholesome fats like olive oil, coconut oil and pastured butter (Kerry Gold).
  • Try to have a healthy amount of vegetables, protein and healthy fats at every meal.
  • Start slow if you need to and ramp it up as you gain skill and confidence.

You can start today, right now even! Put the junk down and pick up some REAL food. You owe it to yourself.

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