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You Really Are What You Eat

Recent dietary research has uncovered 14 different nutrient-dense foods that time and again promote good overall health. Coined “superfoods,” they tend to have fewer calories, higher levels of vitamins and minerals, and many disease-fighting antioxidants. Beans (legumes), berries (especially blueberries), broccoli, green tea, nuts (especially walnuts), oranges, pumpkin, salmon. soy, spinach, tomatoes, turkey, whole grains and oats, and yogurt can all help stop and even reverse diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and some forms of cancer. And where one might have an effect on a certain part of the body, it can also affect the health of other body functions and performance, since the whole body is connected. With these 14 foods as the base of a balanced, solid diet, weight loss gimmicks and other fly-by-night programs can become a thing of the past in your life.  Conversely, the ill-effects of an unbalanced diet are several and varied. Low energy levels, mood swings, tired all the time, weight change, uncomfortable with body are just a few signs that your diet is unbalanced. An unbalanced diet can cause problems with maintenance of body tissues, growth and development, brain and nervous system function, as well as problems with bone and muscle systems. Symptoms of malnutrition include lack of energy, irritability, a weakened immune system leading to frequent colds or allergies, and mineral depletion that can trigger a variety of health concerns including anemia.  And since the body is connected, realizing that an unhealthy body will result in an unhealthy spirit only makes sense. When we nourish our body with these superfoods and complement them with other nutrient-dense and healthy fresh foods, our spirit will be vitalized and healthy as a direct result. Many modern diets based on prepackaged convenience foods are sorely lacking in many vitamins and minerals, which can affect our mental capacities as well, and cause irritability, confusion, and the feeling of ‘being in a fog’ all the time.  Superfoods can be the basis of a sound, healthy, nutritious solution to curing many of these ailments and more. 

Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

It seems like everywhere you look, there’s a new pill or medicine that will ‘instantly cure’ your sickness, disease or health issue. And while taking a pill to cure what ails you might be convenient and simple, maybe it’s really time to sit down and take a good, long look at what you’re feeding your body, or as it might be, not feeding your body. Are you truly giving your body the nutrients it needs to take care of itself? Most of us find when we take a look at what we’ve been eating that the choices we’ve been making in the name of convenience, simplicity, or saving time have actually been detrimental to our overall health – body, mind and spirit.  Our modern day diet largely consists of excessive consumption of starch, sugar, fried and fatty foods. As a result, diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s and some cancers are becoming more and more common. Healthy foods and good nutrition can not only help keep you fit, but treat disease as well. You may not even have to go to a health food store. You can purchase them right at your grocery store, or make a trip to your local farmer’s market. And if you focus on basing a healthy, well-balanced diet on the 14 “Superfoods,” the detrimental effects of these diseases can be slowed, stopped or even reversed.  And when you nourish your body physically with these nutrient-dense foods, your mental capacities increase, and your spiritual wellness is enhanced as well. In addition, since your spiritual health is optimal, it will shine through to the outside, and people will notice you’re happy, calm, and that your stress levels have decreased dramatically.  So look for ways to cut the junk out of your daily eating and replace it with members of the Superfoods group. Your body, mind and spirit will all be healthier as a direct result.

Color Your Way to Daily Health

It’s important that we eat plenty of different fruits and vegetables every day. Diets rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. Fruits and vegetables provide essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and other substances that are important for good health. Most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories and are filling. You’ve probably heard about the 5 A Day for Better Health program. It provides easy ways to add more fruits and vegetables into your daily eating patterns. It’s vital that we eat a wide variety of colorful orange/yellow, red, green, white, and blue/purple vegetables and fruit every day. By eating vegetables and fruit from each color group, you will benefit from the essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that each color group has to offer alone and in combination. There’s several different yet simple ways to start incorporating vegetables and fruit into your familiar and favorite meals. You can begin your day with 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice, slice bananas or strawberries on top of your cereal, or have a salad with lunch and an apple for an afternoon snack. Include a vegetable with dinner and you already have about 5 cups of fruits and vegetables. You may even try adding a piece of fruit for a snack or an extra vegetable at dinner. Don’t be afraid to try something new to increase your vegetable and fruit intake. There are so many choices when selecting fruits and vegetables. Kiwifruit, asparagus, and mango may become your new favorite. Keep things fresh and interesting by combining fruits and vegetables of different flavors and colors, like red grapes with pineapple chunks, or cucumbers and red peppers. Get in the habit of keeping fruits and vegetables visible and easily accessible – you’ll tend to eat them more. Store cut and cleaned produce at eye-level in the refrigerator, or keep a big colorful bowl of fruit on the table.

Getting Your Nutrition from Real Food is a Good Habit for Life

Many people think popping a multi-vitamin supplement to get their nutrients is just as good as what comes from real foods. They don’t realize that it is far better to get vitamins and minerals from natural foods and juices. Our bodies utilize the vitamins and minerals from real foods more efficiently. And most people find it much easier to select a variety of whole foods they enjoy eating instead of trying to make heads or tails of the entire selection of vitamin and mineral supplements that are available. And any of us who’ve swallowed a multi-vitamin or a mineral supplement can say without a doubt that the taste leaves a lot to be desired Supplements are also difficult for our bodies to break down and use, making it difficult to get the full punch from the vitamins and minerals they contain. Conversely, by consuming plenty of nutrient-dense food to get the equivalent means the nutrients are going to be easier for the body to process and utilize, and less likely to be wasted. We are also processing nutrients throughout the course of the day when we obtain them from food, instead of just getting them from the ‘one a day’ approach. Many of the supplements available today use fillers and binders to hold them together, plus coatings on the tablets themselves. These are products the body does not need and will not use. Some people find they are allergic to the dyes and fillers used in vitamin pills. However, the body uses the fiber that binds fruits and vegetables. Often the “skin” of a vegetable, like the potato, is the most nutritious part. In addition, sometimes the vitamin and mineral supplements can upset our stomachs, making taking them even more difficult the next day. In many cases, combining supplements can counteract their effectiveness and can produce stomach upset when dealing with the taste and smell of some supplements. On the other hand, a variety of fruits and vegetables enhance the flavor of a nutritious meal and their fiber aids digestion. If you’re looking to lose weight, eating fresh food is vital to a weight loss plan. Also, eating fresh fruits and vegetables help hair, skin and teeth stay attractive and healthy. And when you think about it, fruits and vegetables are the original ‘to go’ food. It’s simple to grab for an orange, apple, banana, grapes, or quickly toss a few vegetables together for a salad to take to work. So when you’re looking for well-balanced, healthy, reliable nutrition, don’t reach for the bottle. Reach for the food!

Flush the Fat With Smart Food Choices

Phase 1 of the plan, called The Two-Week Fat Flush, lasts 14 days and is designed to jump-start weight loss. Phase 2, The Ongoing Fat Flush, helps you continue to lose weight, and Phase 3, The Lifestyle Eating Plan, focuses on maintenance. The Fat Flush Planwas designed to increase metabolism, flush out bloat and to boost the fat burning process. At the core of the plan is the commitment to promote a balanced lifestyle and encourage simple healthy habits that seem to have gone by the wayside in our modern and hectic everyday life. Every aspect of each phase of the plan is focused on accomplishing this goal: helpful essential fats, amounts of protein, antioxidant-rich vegetables, moderate amounts of fruits, calorie-burning herbs and spices, cleansing diuretic beverages, exercise, journaling and even sleep are addressed. The Two-Week Fat Flush is based on an average of 1,100 to 1,200 calories daily, and is designed to jumpstart weight loss for dramatic results. It will transform your shape by accelerating fat loss from your body's favorite fat storage areas - your hips, thighs and buttocks. The Ongoing Fat Flush is the next step for those individuals who have additional weight to lose but who also want to pursue a more moderate cleansing program and enjoy a bit more variety in food choices while still losing weight. This part of the program is designed for ongoing weight loss, with approximately 1,200 to 1,500 calories each day. This is the phase that will be followed until you reach your desired weight or size. The Lifestyle Eating Plan is your maintenance program for lifetime weight control. This phase offers over 1,500 calories daily, providing a basic lifelong eating program designed to increase your vitality and well-being for life. You’ll add up to two dairy products and up to two additional friendly carbs. Phase 3 friendly carbs include more choices from a variety of starchier veggies and nongluten hypoallergenic grains. Foods are always introduced one at a time to make sure there are no allergic reactions and you’re your body tolerates the food well.

Jump for Joy and Juice

Juice can actually be considered a natural water source and provides the body with protein, carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals that can be absorbed quickly and efficiently. Fresh juice also contains necessary enzymes, and pigments such as carotenes, chlorophyll, and flavonoids.  Juicing fresh fruits and vegetables provides numerous nutritional advantages that are extremely important to weight loss. In addition, diets containing a high percentage of uncooked foods are significantly associated with weight loss, improved blood sugar control, and lower blood pressure.  Your appetite finds a raw foods diet more filling. Cooking can cause the loss of up to 97% of water-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Since uncooked foods such as juices contain more vitamins and other nutrients, they are more satisfying to the body, so it does not feel starved for nutrients. This means the metabolism will keep running efficiently and keep your weight loss efforts headed in the right direction Juicing kick-starts your body's digestive process and enables quick absorption of high-quality nutrition, which can result in increased energy. This is one of the great advantages of achieving weight loss through improved nutrition. Fresh juices, combined with a well-balanced diet will provide you with the energy needed to burn more calories, fat, and provide you with the fuel you need for physical activity. However, juicing does remove the fiber from these nutrient-dense foods. So be sure to include an appropriate amount of fiber-rich foods in your daily diet. Juicing should be a complement to a well-balanced healthy diet, not a substitute. So with a little planning and creativity, juicing could enhance your well-balanced diet and add some zest. The internet is a great resource for juicing recipes and information, and with the realization that raw foods and juicing is a great health boost, books and magazine articles are touting the benefits and offering recipe ideas.

Organic Foods Equal Improved Health

Organic food is food that is free from all genetically modified organisms, produced without artificial pesticides and fertilizers and derived from an animal reared without the routine use of antibiotics, growth promoters or other drugs. Once only available in small stores or farmers' markets, organic foods are becoming much more widely available Organic foods have been shown to improve your immune system, help you sleep better, shed the excess weight more easily, and improve your blood work just to name a few. Organic food can boast intense, realistic flavors, and a higher vitamin and mineral content. And though logically it makes sense to consume a diet based on organic foods, some worry about the cost. But with careful planning and preparation, going organic is actually quite affordable. And, the peace of mind knowing you and your family are consuming foods that haven’t been treated with pesticides or genetically altered is worth the extra money spent. The pesticides used by conventional farmers can have many negative influences on your health, including neurotoxicity, disruption of your endocrine system, carcinogenicity and immune system suppression. Pesticide exposure may also affect male reproductive function and has been linked to miscarriages in women. Additionally, conventional produce tends to have fewer nutrients than organic produce. On average, conventional produce has only 83 percent of the nutrients of organic produce. Studies have found significantly higher levels of nutrients such as vitamin C, iron, magnesium and phosphorus, and significantly less nitrates (a toxin) in organic crops. So it’s a smart idea to buy and eat organic produce and free-range organic foods as much as possible for maximum health benefits. In addition, the knowledge that you’re supporting the organic foods industry that is dedicated to protecting the environment by steering clear of harmful pesticides and chemicals that can result in the loss of topsoil, toxic runoff and resulting water pollution, soil contamination and poisoning and the death of insects, birds, critters and beneficial soil organisms should help you feel even better.

Raw Foods Diet is Beneficial to Your Health

The benefits advocated from eating such a diet seem endless: lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels, eliminating cravings, preventing overeating, purging the body of accumulated toxins, balancing hormones, maintaining blood glucose levels and reversing degenerative diseases. Followers of a raw diet cite numerous health benefits, including increased energy levels, improved appearance of skin, improved digestion, weight loss and reduced risk of heart disease, just to name a few. Proponents believe that enzymes are the life force of a food and that every food contains its own perfect mix. These enzymes help us digest foods completely, without relying on our body to produce its own cocktail of digestive enzymes. There can be some side effects when you are first starting a raw foods diet. Some detoxification effects may be experienced as your body attempts to shed some toxicity. This may include occasional headaches, nausea sensations and mild depression. If these symptoms persist, you should seek the help of somebody who is experienced with detoxification symptoms. Following a raw food diet means that you have to carefully plan your meals to make sure you don't fall short of essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals. In some instances it might be appropriate to consider taking dietary supplements, especially when just starting out. You'll need to invest in some appliances so that you are able to prepare the food, if you don’t already have them available. A durable juicer, a blender and a large food processor make raw food preparation a breeze. You may also want to look into purchasing large containers to soak sprouts, grains and beans, as well as for storage. A durable juice extractor for your fruits and vegetables The smoothest way to begin a raw foods lifestyle is to slowly transition into it. Try starting off by eating approximately 70 to 80 percent raw foods in your diet. Have fruit and salads throughout the day and a cooked vegetable meal with a salad in the evening. This should help make the transition easier on your body and hopefully lessen side effects associated with detoxification. This is an emotional time as well, so you should allow yourself plenty of time to make the switch. Journaling during the process can help. Before you know it, you’ll be feeling the positive effects of a healthy, detoxifying raw foods diet.