Welcome to my new series! First up - 5 Ways To Improve Your Health. I know that is a broad statement but here are some simple suggestions to get you started in the right direction.
1. Cut out processed foods. Processed foods are so simple and quick and readily available but they are so unhealthy for you! They are generally full of "fake" things, unhealthy fats (trans fats), sugar and calories. Almost everything we eat is processed in some way - I have to pick my cucumbers from the garden, etc. But chemically processed foods are what I'm discussing. They are made from artificial substances and refined ingredients. They have added ingredients to make them last longer. They add color so it looks more appealing. Processed foods are the highest source of sugar in our western diet and the main cause of obesity. Why? Because they are good and addictive! Our brains want the feeling we get when we eat something familiar and "rewarding." We are literally having to have the "reward" constantly. BUT... you have to cut them out! I truly no longer eat processed foods and feel horrible when I do. They have no benefit or nutrients and are holding your nutrition back! Just try eating whole, fresh foods for a day and see how well you feel!
2. Eat tons of plants. Growing up, my parents always fought with my brother - "You have to put something in your body green." That would start a huge argument but my parents never gave in. Now, Mr. Crossfitter eats 80% green. (Ok, maybe not that much.) Eating plants each day will ensure you are getting tons of nutrients! TONS. They are low fat, a good source of carbohydrates, full of fiber, lower your blood pressure, reduce your cancer risk, boost testosterone, reduce fat, lower cholesterol and any other thing you might want to add. They also fill you up. So, increase your plants! Add at least one serving at each meal. I mean, why not?
3. Eat all your varieties. (Carbs, Protein, Fats and Veggies) Eating a well rounded diet is VITAL. Ours bodies are made to eat a variety. We need the nutrients from all sources! You can not safely remove all carbs from your diet. You will crash and burn. Fat is good for you. Fat plays an important role in the proper functioning of your body. Protein is our building blocks. Too much of anything is bad, but we need to maintain a good balance. There are good carbs, good fats, good protein sources and so on. Eat like your great grandparents did. Simple, fresh and full of variety.
4. Eat more "good" fats. Good fats are my everything! I'm currently eliminating avocados and I've been in full withdrawal! I walked over to the avocado bin yesterday and just stood there looking at them. Seriously. Fat is a necessary component in our nutritional health. Fat provides much needed coating for our nerves. Certain fats are essential for regulating blood pressure, inflammation, and blood clotting. There are different types of fats and you should know what is needed and so on.
Monounsaturated Fats are are found in many fruits, avocados, almonds, pistachios, walnuts and olive oil. They aid in lowering bad cholesterol and and raise good cholesterol.
Polyunsaturated Fats also fight bad cholesterol. They are in salmon, fish oils, sunflower oils and seeds. They are fantastic sources of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.
Saturated Fats are very misunderstood but are essentially our "bad" fats. Diets high in saturated fat are linked to heart disease but they can be consumed in small amounts. However, avoid Trans Fats like the plaque. Trans Fats are generally man made (not all are though), think french fries, chips, etc. They are great for sitting on shelves in a pre-packaged box.
5. Limit alcohol. This is a no-brainer. Alcohol is loaded with calories. It also makes you snack and want more! Limiting alcohol can cut your weekly intake down significantly.
I know this list is simple and I didn't go into great detail but it's a start for you. I hope you enjoy the up coming series on 5 Ways to Improve.