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Diet and Nutrition

You must have heard the saying, "We are what we eat"...well then, what else are we?! We need to think about this each time we open our mouths to put something in, each time we go to the grocery store....

Let us be very selective. Let's consider the important food groups that are fundamental to our well-being. There is milk, meats, grains, fruits and vegetables. These foods all contain one or more of the nutrients our bodies need, which are carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. The basic recommended serving per group by the USDA are milk 2-3 servings, meats 2-3 servings, grains 6-11 servings, fruits 2-4 servings and vegetables 3-5 servings, per day. However, on Thursday, June 2nd, 2011, a new version of the old food pyramid based on the USDA 2010 Dietary Guidelines was unveiled by First Lady Michelle Obama called simply MyPlate. It is in the form of a plate which is divided into four sections with a portion to the side, all representing what a balanced meal should look like. According to MYPlate, vegetables and grains should be in the majority and the same portions, while fruits and protein should be a little less and eaten in the same portions. Dairy which is represented by a cup to the side of the plate should be eaten in the least of all portions. This new MyPlate is very attractive and is designed to get more vegetables in the diet in contrast to the old MyFoodPyramid which had vegetables at approximately half of what this new MyPlate vegetable portion is. It is always important to speak with your doctor or dietitian (especially if you have specific health problems) about helping you decide on a food plan that is well balanced and suitable for you. You are unique and individual and as such, you may require more of certain foods and less of others, depending on your current health status and how active you are, amongst other things. The USDA Food Pyramid is a great tool to use to help assess or customize your daily food group intake.

Eating meals rich in protein (fish, meat, eggs, poultry), nuts, seeds and fresh raw fruits and vegetables, will ensure our bodies a higher proportion of natural vitamins and minerals, and less synthetic. Let us try to use the most natural ingredients in our diets. We should not be frying our foods, but if we have to, let us use natural oils - olive, corn, sunflower seed etc. Also, let us use more honey, whole grain and wheat (especially wheat germ).

When many of us hear the word vegetable, we cringe but in order to have a complete nutritious meal, vegetables must be included in our diets. Including vegetables in our diets does not have to be dull and distasteful. In fact, it can be a very pleasant experience if you combine them with fruits for a blend or use them to make smoothies. The aim is to get the nutrients from the vegetables into our bodies, and if juicing them or making smoothies with them will help to accomplish that, then so be it. I have been doing this for over eight years now and it has allowed me to include vegetables that I normally would not eat - in my diets. This incredible smoothies recipe book shown below, has helped me accomplish my goal of including any and all vegetables in my diets. It is also very convenient to have handy for kids who are picky with eating vegetables.

              Healthy and Delicious Smoothie Recipes
The Raw Food Transition Program

For many of us, it can be very difficult to stay away from super unhealthy foods and junky snacks even though we know they are bad for our health. It is so much easier to order fast foods; they are cheaper, and easily accessible. The good news is if you are reading this right now, you can change all that unhealthy habit starting now. The key is to try and quit them gradually and not all at once. You can start by eliminating the French fries and replacing it with carrots; then you can stop ordering fried chicken and start baking your own chicken; and later throw out the bags of unhealthy chips, and fill up on some grapes and apples to munch on. These are a few simple yet powerful ways you can start improving your health. Take it one step at a time and be patient, as you allow yourself to make the transition from unhealthy to healthy habits in your long-term commitment to a healthier you.

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