by Dr. Rita Louise
America is considered the land of the plenty.
This is especially true when it comes to food. There is no
need in this country to stand in line for a loaf of bread.
Daily, we eat more than a small bowl of rice and glass of
milk. In fact, I remember many a day as a child, if I didn't
want to eat my dinner and I was reminded of the starving children
in Africa. The thought of being without food is beyond the
grasp of many Americans.
According to Jeffrey Bland, Ph.D., the author
of the book Genetic Nutritioneering, the leading nutritional
problem in the US today is that many of us eat too many "empty
calorie foods". It is not that we do not eat enough food,
but instead, we don't eat enough of the right kinds of foods.
So even though we may eat hardily, the chemical elements we
need to maintain health are not being supplied by the foods
we eat. This thought has led some health experts to conclude
that nutritional deficiencies are a major contributor to many
of the chronic diseases that are seen in countries that eat
a Western Diet.
We all need to consume specific nutrients in
order to survive. Our physical body is made up of a series
of organs, glands, tissues and cells that all work together
in an intricate set of biochemical processes. We eat proteins,
carbohydrates and fats because these food substances contain
vitamins, minerals, amino acids and phytonutrients, which
act as the building blocks, cofactors and facilitators of
At the turn of the century, our relationship
with food changed dramatically, with fast or convenience foods
becoming a staple for many. As natural and whole food substances
are transformed from raw food products into canned, boxed,
precooked or instant foods, many of the vitamins, minerals
and phytonutrients are lost. In addition, the use of food
additives, preservatives, fillers, artificial flavorings and
color have transformed something that was once good for you,
into boxes or bags of chemicals that have been sweetened or
otherwise enhanced to make them palatable. It is not unheard
of to buy items to eat that have little to no actual food
in them. They are instead made up of hydrogenated vegetable
oils, fillers, artificial colors and flavors and loads of
chemical preservatives to keep them from spoiling. As for
nutritional value, they have none, or very little.
Today, when you walk down the aisles of the
supermarket, many of the choices available are not "whole"
foods nor natural. They are not filled with the vitamins,
minerals and phytonutrients we need to thrive. Instead, they
are preprocessed, presweetened and laden with artificial flavors,
colors and preservatives. They have very little, if any nutritional
value left within them. Take a moment to inventory your eating
habits. How many of these foods do you eat? Kraft macaroni
and cheese: box-o-chemicals, Betty Crocker potatoes a gratin:
box-o-chemicals, hamburger helper: box-o-chemicals, Spam,
Vienna sausages, Franco-American Spaghetti-O's, Cheese Wiz,
all chemical laden. This is only a small list of products
available to American consumers that we happily and whole-heartedly
The truth is, our bodies were not designed to handle these
non-food. There are no keys in our genetic make-up designed
to utilize these products.
While nutritionists contend that soft drinks,
white flour and other calorie-rich, nutrient-poor foods can
fit into a good diet, in theory, they are correct. However,
they regrettably ignore the fact that most Americans consume
great quantities of these nutrient poor foods and only meager
quantities of healthful foods.
Today, many Americans are becoming proactive
about their health. A great place to start any kind of health
program is to adopt a healthful diet. I feel, nevertheless,
that many are uncertain of what they can do to promote health
and vitality, or feel that eating healthy is an "all
or nothing" proposition. Many health enthusiasts have
led people to believe that in order to be healthy, the only
route is to eat only organic foods, or to become a vegetarian.
In the big picture of things, yes, they are right in their
assertion, but making the transition from the typical American
diet to one a more healthful one tends to seem like an insurmountable
task. Many quit before they even try. There are also those
who want to but just can't financially afford to live this
When creating a healthful food plan for yourself
or your family, here are a few guidelines you can use to help
you as you transition to a healthful diet and lifestyle. First,
while not discussed earlier, we all need to drink at least
8 - 8oz glasses of water daily. Water, not soda, coffee or
other beverage is necessary component in maintaining health.
Other than it's role in the many biochemical processes our
bodies perform, another of its functions is to help to remove
toxins from the body.
When selecting foods, we should eat from a
variety of whole, unprocessed foods…the more variety,
the greater the pallet of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients
we will be ingesting. Try to ensure that you eat at least
one leafy green salad and a piece of fresh fruit daily. While
this is still below the recommended standards, it is a great
place to start. Reduce or eliminate preprocessed, prepackaged,
chemical laden food as well as foods that are high in refined
sugars, including white bread and white rice.
When preparing meals, I always ask myself,
is any of the food I am serving fresh? Fresh fruits and vegetables
have enzymes in them that are essential to good health. Fresh
fruits and vegetables are the best, followed by frozen ones,
with canned foods following poorly behind. Food processing
of any kind destroys vitamins and phytonutrients, so frozen
foods while still having some nutritional value, are nutritionally
inferior to fresh. Canned foods have little to no nutritional
value left. Limit canned food purchases to items such as tuna,
tomatoes and beans.
Many of us don't always have time to cook hardy
nutritious meals. When time is short, I look to my crock-pot
to do the cooking for me. If that is out of the question,
it is a time in which you will have to choose "the lesser
evil". For example, you are running late and don't have
time to cook dinner, instead of opting for fried chicken or
a greasy burger, select roasted chicken or opt for a hearty
salad instead. When looking for something quick and healthy
to make at home, prepare sandwiches served on whole-wheat
bread or in a whole-wheat pita with lettuce and tomato. Try
serving it with a few slices of fruit. If something pre-made
seems to be the way to go, select foods that feel good, or
at least seem like the best choice for your health and well
Following the same vein, we are not perfect
and sometimes a Quarter Pounder with cheese will just hit
the spot. Whether you eat this meal at home or out, the point
is, be aware that you are eating devitalized foods and try
to limit it to a once in a while kind of thing. Now granted,
while eating healthy may be your plan, give yourself permission
to have bad weeks too. At times, we all end up eating on the
run. So don't get discouraged. I like to think of it this
way, each time you eat a healthful meal; you are improving
your health that day. Thinking of it this way affirms the
changes that you are making.
When looking for a quick pick me up, many of
us turn to snack foods such as cookies, candy or chips. Selecting
healthy snack foods can be a problem all by themselves. There
are, however, many healthful alternatives that you can eat.
Go-Gurts - these handy yogurt snacks are always a pleaser.
String cheese never lasts long at our house. Baby carrots
and ranch dressing is another favorite. Remember the little
gold fish? They are baked, not fried. Even nuts, although
high in fat, they are also high in protein and other nutrients
our bodies needs. While many snacks do not fall into the same
category as fresh fruit, there are many food items that can
be bought or prepared that you can feel good about eating.
Weeding through all of the total junk to find a healthy food
choice can be time consuming but well worth the effort.
Taking the first steps toward a healthy lifestyle
is always the hardest. At first, you may feel a bit intimidated
by these changes. You may feel as if you are not playing in
the same league as a vegetarian who is eating only organically
grown produce. These simple guidelines, however, will assist
you as you learn to feed your body the proper nutrients it
needs to survive. As time goes on, you will also find that
it will become easier and easier to incorporate healthful
food choices into your life.
About The Author: Dr. Rita Louise
Free your mind, body, and spirit naturally at Medical-Intuitives.com. Whether it is a physical problem, an emotional issue, a problem at work or a problem in a relationship, Naturopath and Medical Intuitive, Dr. Rita Louise, Ph.D. a can help you identify what is really going on and provide you with straightforward guidance and advice. Visit Dr. Rita by going to SoulHealer.com or Medical-Intuitives.com
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