There are a number of myths about avoiding or solving wellness and health problems.
The first is that if you exercise regularly and intensively enough you can safely eat whatever you like and live an unhealthy lifestyle. The second is that if you have a wellness or health problem the medical community will always be able to give you a pill or surgery to solve it. The final myth is that developing a serious health problem such as cancer is just a matter of bad luck or fate.
Just to make it clear, one right (exercise) does not make up for a wrong (e.g. eating unhealthily), avoiding wellness and health problems is always the best solution and the main influence on the future state of your health (not withstanding accidents) is you and no one else! It is your responsibility because with the right knowledge you have the power to live a healthier lifestyle, feel and look fantastic and massively reduce your risk of serious health problems! The DEAL system gives you the right knowledge.
The next question is what is a healthy lifestyle? Here we look at just two aspects; drinking and eating for the average reasonably healthy person. We are not covering special diets for special groups (e.g. diabetics). The formula for success is simple: become informed about what you should eat and drink and consume more of what you should and less of what you should not:
Drink at least 2 to 3 litres of filtered or bottled mineral (not tap) water every day and limit your alcohol intake to 10 units a week for men and 6 units a week for women. Limit fizzy canned drinks to special occasions only and completely avoid so called high energy or sports drinks. Reduce your intake of caffeine drinks (e.g. black tea and coffee) and replace them with herbal teas (e.g. green tea, peppermint tea).
Boost your intake of vitamins and antioxidants by using a slow masticating juicer to make fresh fruit and/or vegetable juice every day (limit your fruit juice intake to 2 to 3 glasses a day). Depending on which fruit or vegetables you use they are not only highly nutritious but can help you in many other ways as well from detoxing your body to eliminating a sore throat.
Eat as many fresh vegetables (e.g. broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower), nuts (e.g. almonds and brazil nuts as a great snack), legumes (e.g. lentils, chickpeas, soybeans) and seeds (e.g. ground flaxseed, sunflower, pumpkin) as you like and a variety of fruit (e.g. mango, papaya, lemons) if you don’t drink fruit juices every day. Consuming too much fruit every day can cause health problems. The most nutritious and least toxic fruit and vegetables are organic, locally grown and in season.
Add flavouring to your meals with onions, garlic and herbs such as turmeric, rosemary and ginger. Amazingly they are also powerful antioxidants, anti inflammatory and enhance regular detoxification.
Increase you intake of unsaturated fats such as Omega 3 found in for example, wild salmon, sardines, herring (but avoid large predatory fish such as swordfish and tuna), avocado, extra virgin olive oil, walnuts and eggs. Decrease your intake of saturated fats in for example, red meat (eat lean white meats such as chicken and turkey instead), crisps, cheese, sweet pastries and virtually every type of take away fast food (these also contain high levels of harmful Omega 6 fatty acids from sunflower or corn frying oil). Try to reduce the amount of trans or hydrogenated fats in your diet, by eating fewer crackers, chips, cakes, crisps, sweets, cookies, instant hot drinks and processed cheese.
Eat more low Glycomic Index (GI) foods; for example, apples, sweet potato, almonds and brazil nuts, quinoa, wild rice, beans, lentils and oils. Eat less high GI foods; for example, bread (wholemeal or otherwise), white potatoes, red meat, cashews, any type of sugar (including honey), full fat dairy products, any processed foods such as milk chocolate, crisps, any type of snack bars (labelled healthy or not), pastries, sweets and biscuits.
Reduce your intake of sugar (e.g. glucose, white sugar, honey, especially high fructose corn syrup) and man made sugar substitutes (e.g. aspartame) by reading the labelling of products! In general most packaged and tinned convenience food and processed fruit juices are high in sugar. Choose 70% or higher cocoa content dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate, cut down on how much sugar you add to anything. Beware of breakfast cereals, whether they are labelled as healthy (e.g. Special K) or not because they are low in fat but high in sugar. Porridge oats are a good alternative.
In addition to making healthier choices about what you drink and eat, how you drink and eat is also important. Some of our main tips include:
Try to avoid regularly drinking iced drinks because they stress your internal organs (e.g. kidneys). Keep your bottled water in the fridge if you want to but let it warm up slightly before drinking it. It is healthier to sip drink slowly rather than gulp them down in one go.
If you drink alcohol (e.g. wine with a meal), make sure that you have water as well, between your alcoholic drinks and/or afterwards. Clearly binge drinking of any form is not healthy! However, you can minimise the damage by not making it a weekly habit, eating beforehand and drinking water as well.
Consciously eat your food. This means carefully listening to what your body is telling you. Only eat when you feel hungry, enjoy the taste of the food by slowly and fully chewing it. There is a 20 minute delay from you stomach being full and the communicating this fact to your brain! This means it is better to stop eating when you almost but not completely full. There is no reason to eat something just because it’s on your plate and no reason to eat at the same time every day just because you always have. Other seemingly insignificant but very powerful changes include using smaller plates, turning off the TV during mealtimes and putting your knife and fork down in between chewing mouthfuls of food….
Eat healthy snacks between meals to keep your energy level balanced and make you less hungry at mealtimes, for example, fruit, nuts (not peanuts or salted/roasted nuts) or seeds (e.g. sunflower).
The secret to success in healthier eating and drinking is to make small but consistently healthier choices. You might start for example by only using 1 teaspoon of sugar in your coffee instead of 2 or have a glass of water instead of a fizzy drink. Lots of seemingly small changes will add up over a period of time. Making any healthier choices is better than making none and the sooner you start the quicker you will begin to feel and see the benefits!