Part 1 is here
In order to attain optimal health and fitness, a healthy diet must become a part of your lifestyle. It’s also essential for achieving your body weight, tone, and muscle goals. Your psychological health benefits as well. Healthy eating can help to reduce or eliminate mood swings and depression.
When you see a quantity recommendation of zero, low, or moderate, zero is best.
A super healthy diet is…
- Zero or very low in (saturated & trans) fats, sugar, and salt (sodium).
- Zero or low in all dairy (cow & goat milk) products (milk, cheese, butter).
- Zero in nicotine (cigarettes & cigars).
- Zero or low in caffeine (coffee & energy drinks).
- Zero or low in alcohol including beer and wine.
- High in spring or filtered water. Replaces all other drinks.
- Moderate in green tea. (I make super water by adding decaffeinated cold-brewed green tea, lemon juice, and more.)
- High in 100% fruit juices or mixes. (No added sugar.) Best are those you juice or mix (smoothie) yourself. Those highest in antioxidants are acai berry, blueberry, cranberry, and pomegranate.
- High in 100% vegetable juices or mixes. (Low Sodium.) Best are those you juice or mix (smoothie) yourself.
- High in 100% citrus juices. (No added sugar.) Best are those you juice or mix (smoothie) yourself. Those packed with powerful health benefits include lemon, lime, orange, and grapefruit.
- Zero in sodas, colas, soft drinks, and especially diet drinks of any kind.
- Zero in all artificial sugar.
- High in fruits, vegetables (broccoli), nuts (walnuts), and seeds (pumpkin).
- High in legumes (beans, peas, & lentils) and organic non-GMO tofu.
- Moderate in whole grains. Quinoa, brown rice, bread, and cereals. Sprouted whole grains are best.
- Zero in white bread, white rice, and white pasta.
- Zero, low, or moderate in fish. Wild fish is best. Avoid farm-grown. Salmon is especially good due to its high content of Omega-3 fatty acids.
- Zero or low in chicken (& eggs), turkey, ostrich, and other poultry. Organic cage-free/free-range is best.
- Zero in all red meats such as beef (bulls, heifers, steers), pork (pig – ham & bacon), and lamb (young sheep),
- Zero in all processed meats such as hot dogs, sausage, packaged (baloney), and canned (spam).
- Zero in all fried foods including fried vegetables like zucchini.
- Zero in all high fat, sugar, and salt bagged or boxed processed so-called foods. Examples include chips, salted nuts, candied popcorn, pastries, and candy.
- Zero in all dessert foods like pies, cakes, and cookies. (Once your taste buds adjust, fruit will taste like dessert. 🙂 )
My diet and the above list has evolved from being about 90% vegetarian to 100% vegan, if all the zero recommendations are followed, after watching these documentaries.
Tip: The best way to keep track of the fat, sugar, and sodium (salt) content in the foods you buy is to get into the habit of reading the “Nutrition Facts” label (above) on food products. Laws in the United States and other countries require this label. Reading this label is crucial to ensuring that you have a healthy diet.
If you’ve never followed a strict healthy diet, then this may seem a little overwhelming. It may at first. But once you learn about the benefits and see the results in the mirror, you’ll get excited about it and want to do more!
There may be fitness enthusiasts who are closely following every other aspect of good health practices except for maintaining a healthy diet. Here’s what many of us forget or ignore. As the human body ages, its ability to burn off and eliminate excess fat and other harmful substances gradually decreases. The outcome is increased weight and a weaker performing body. Radically changing my diet was the last step I took. Weight gain and reduced energy were my motivation.
I’ve been closely following the healthy diet menu that I described above for about 10 years (year posted: 2009). I indulge a little occasionally as a reward to myself or while I’m on vacation, but generally, I manage to stay on it 95% of the time. In the beginning, it was quite a struggle because I missed the buttery, sugary, salty, and fatty flavors in the foods I ate. I found that once I was away from these “alleged” flavor enhancers for a while my preferences changed and I started to enjoy the taste of foods without all the extra flavorings.
Here’s a good example. At one point, I could not imagine ever eating a piece of toast without butter. Once my taste buds adjusted to foods without butter and other intense flavorings, I was amazed at the wonderful fragrance and taste of a slice of quality whole-grain bread. The same could not be said of low quality, zero benefit, and cheap breads. This change in the sensitivity of my taste buds also allowed me to appreciate the taste of fruits and vegetables in a way that I never have in my life! Eating a healthy diet became a pleasure.
Today when I go to a restaurant and I get a dish that unexpectedly contains a lot of butter, salt, sugar, or fat I am instantly repealed and sometimes sicken by it. I’ve learned to politely ask the server a few questions about the food when I go to restaurants now. As far as being invited to eat at the homes of family and friends, I just make sure that I’ve made the “cooks” aware of my healthy diet lifestyle well in advance of any invitations.
A healthy diet is the foundation of fitness. If you workout regularly and you want all your hard work to show on your body, you must pay attention to your diet.
If you want to learn more about how a healthy diet can change your life, watch these documentaries.
To your health and fitness.