I, for one, don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions! So many are made, so many are broken! What is the point if it is not defined and doable!
It’s like the diet that becomes the uncontrolled yo-yo! Many of us (me definitely included here) have been there, done that! Rather than a New Year’s Resolution, I prefer to think in terms of a commitment to myself, for myself!
If you have followed this blog (still in infancy, and having just come off of Christmas holidays), you will know that I have taken up studying holistic nutrition as a means of making a commitment to myself! Sadly, I often let life get in the way and fall off the wagon many times (sugar and stress – best friends in my world!), but I do try to remain true to a lifestyle commitment that I made when I first signed up for the course!
One of the early lessons is premised on 10 basic principles, or the 10 Commandments of a Healthy Diet (taken from Elson Haas textbook – Staying Healthy with Nutrition). The keys are whole, live, natural, good quality foods.
1. Natural Foods – you know what I am talking about – avoiding the processed and manufactured foods, especially those whose primary ingredients are no longer recognizable or pronounce-able!
2. Seasonal Foods – these hold the highest possible nutritional value and remain in harmony with the natural cycles of the year. For example – a hearty stew may be better suited to a cold winters day, whereas a juicy watermelon is more likely to quench your thirst on a hot summer afternoon!
3. Fresh Foods – fresh from the garden will have the maximum nutrition. While this isn’t always possible, over processed foods become dead foods – live enzymes that benefit the body are destroyed by the processing and manufacturing process.
4. Nutritious Foods – goes without saying, if you are looking for a better balance in life, a variety of nutritious, foods loaded with vitamins and minerals are more likely the way to go!
5. Clean Foods – keep them chemical free, avoid GMOs (Genetically Modified) – afterall, tomatoes were not supposed to have fish proteins!!! Also under clean foods is proper storing and handling – need I say more?
6. Tasty and Appealing Foods – there is a little science behind this one – if the food is not appealing, and you don’t salivate, your body doesn’t produce the necessary digestive enzyme – amylase – crucial for proper absorption.
7. Variety and Rotation – how else are you going to get a variety of nutrients. If you only eat the same food all the time – you only get the same nutrients, so mix it up!
8. Food Combining – can be a heavily contested topic, so I will limit comment to this – can be labour intensive, is not suited to everyone but it can decrease the stress on the digestive system.
9. Moderation – don’t go crazy – you can have the naughty goodies …. in moderation. Some suggest the 80/20 rule – as long as you eat well 80% of the time, you can indulge 20%. You be your own judge, but I know when I try to go too perfect, the thump on the ground as I fall off that wagon always hurts more! You just can’t always be perfect – especially when traveling – did someone say fish tacos!!! (A little taste of the naughty in Jamaica – how’s the food?)
10. Balance – need to have balance in macronutrients (protein/fat/carb) and micronutrients. Basically, if you are following Haas’ guidelines, you should find balance in your nutrition.