ASK THE NUTRITIONIST: Where do I start to improve my diet?

Dear readers,

This week’s column covers the last of the top 10 nutrition questions I get. If you missed it, the first week I covered soy products and the controversy around whether they are good or bad for health. Then I covered whether or not we need nutritional supplements Y organic foods. We also explore the health benefits of dairy products and why some people choose turning to dairy alternatives. Then we explore eggs and why they are a great addition to a healthy diet, even if you have high cholesterol.

After that we look plant-based diets and if it is healthy to eat meat. For the last two weeks we explored how to beat sugar addiction and the sugar substitutes I recommend. Today we are going to look at the main nutrition question I get asked: where do I start to improve my diet?

don’t feel overwhelmed

Many clients I see are overwhelmed, even if they have basic nutrition information. They often don’t know where to start to improve their health. Sometimes they have an idea of ​​what they need to do, but they don’t know how to implement it. For example, they know they want to cut back on sugar, but they have no idea what products contain sugar and what to replace them with to improve their blood sugar. So today I want to address some of the suggestions I give that will have a positive impact for most people if implemented consistently.

My preference is to focus on what we want to include, rather than what we want to exclude. This is for two reasons. First, if I tell you not to think of a pink elephant, what do you automatically do? It is the same if I tell you not to eat sugar and wheat. You’re going to obsess over those items and it’ll be hard to think of anything else, especially with ingredients that are so ubiquitous! Second, knowing what to do makes it easier to move forward. He gives you a plan. So today we are going to focus on some things you can add to your diet to make a big improvement in your overall health.

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oversized salad

A very simple step that will benefit most people is to make a large salad with one meal a day. A large salad provides plenty of nutrients and fiber and, if you follow the guidelines below, has a very low impact on your blood sugar.

The optimal salad should focus on vegetables and have a homemade dressing with a base of olive oil or avocado oil. Why? Commercial salad dressings are made with anti-inflammatory vegetable oils that do nothing for our health. Making tasty salad dressings at home is super easy, and extra virgin olive oil is super nutritious and anti-inflammatory. If the salad contains a mayonnaise dressing, the mayonnaise must be homemade with avocado oil. If the salad contains fruit, the fruit should be limited to half a cup. And the salad should always contain a good amount of protein. Following these simple guidelines makes for a perfectly balanced meal.

  • 2 cups of vegetables
  • 1 cup diced savory vegetables
  • 1 cup of protein (sprouts, eggs, meat, seafood, tofu/tempeh, nuts, seeds, cheese)
  • Healthy fats (avocado, egg yolks, nuts, seeds, cheese, or just the oil from the dressing)
  • Oil and Vinegar/Lemon Herb Dressing or Homemade Avocado Mayonnaise with Vinegar, optional sweetener and herbs

Two of my favorite salads are classic nicoise salad and that beet salad and roasted pepita.

funny ferments

Another way to greatly improve our overall health is to add fermented foods, beverages, and condiments to our daily routine. These can include miso, natto, tempeh, sauces, sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi, and many more, but they must be unpasteurized to be beneficial.

These foods deliver probiotics to our intestines, which help us break down food and extract nutrients. A healthy gut biome has been shown to protect against inflammatory diseases, mental illness, and digestive disorders. It is also essential for optimal immune, brain, and hormonal function. Furthermore, the gut biome may be the most important factor in gaining or losing weight easily. In mice, changing the bacteria in the gut changes body weight without altering any other factors. Adding these interesting foods can go a long way to changing our own health outcomes!

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super seafood

Wild-caught seafood is abundant in protein, nutrients, and minerals, from nori to fish and crustaceans. We all know the benefits of salmon, but did you know that smaller fish are known to have less mercury and are packed with omega 3 fatty acids, which are what substantially reduce inflammation in the body? Add shellfish at least once or twice a week to experience the full benefit, including seaweed. This is a very easy addition to your oversized salad, like with the Tuna in Salad Nicoise, above.

they are not offal

While organ meat may not be as popular as it once was, chefs are beginning to realize the importance of nose-to-tail eating and the nutrient density of organ meats. It is also lower in price. If you don’t like the taste or texture, finely shredding the viscera and adding it to other ground beef dishes is an easy way to hide it. Meatloaf, meatballs, burgers, and sliders are easy ways to add organ meats to dishes without overwhelming a dish or drawing the ire of finicky family members. It’s an easy way to get plenty of nutrients for physical and mental health.

quality over quantity

Who doesn’t love a deal? But is it really a great value if the quality is questionable? This is the case for many food products. More expensive does not always equal better quality, as the brand also plays a role, but by reading product labels you will understand when quality is at stake. Buying quality oils, sugars, flours and meats will go a long way to improve your overall health. Sprouted Ezekiel bread or natural sourdough bread for someone with a sensitive digestive system can make a big difference to overall health. Be very demanding and, whenever possible, choose quality first.

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homemade delicacies

Making our sweets and treats in-house helps us ensure that the ingredients are as fresh, natural and high-quality as possible. Homemade cookies, cakes, chips, and popcorn are infinitely healthier than store-bought. This is due to the quality of the ingredients. Last week, I made a list of sugar substitutes that are least likely to spike your blood sugar. Incorporate them into your treats and swap out the ones you buy pre-made. Try almond and coconut flour instead of wheat-based products. Replace vegetable oils with natural butter and coconut oil. There’s not much you can’t mimic with these healthier ingredients. This way you can have your cake and guilt-free too!

protein power

Protein shakes are another great way to add nutrients to your day. They can serve as a quick and easy meal replacement when you’re busy and on the go, and they’re so versatile. They can prevent swings in mood and blood sugar energy and keep you from snacking or losing control when you don’t have time for a full meal. You can make fruit-flavored or chocolate-flavored protein shakes, depending on your preferences. Just look for a protein powder that is naturally flavored with no added sugar! Add to this the milk of your choice and some fruit or cocoa and vanilla with ice. You can also add superfoods and some quality kefir for that fermented food fix! Over time, you’ll notice a decrease in your appetite and waistline when you regularly incorporate a low-sugar, high-protein shake as a meal replacement.

These are just some of the easy things you can add to improve your diet and health easily. I hope you find it useful! As always, if you have any nutrition-related questions, please email me. If you want to read more articles like this, you can find me here.

Namaste!
Nonie Nutritionist