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Is a Healthy Diet Really Just Common Sense?

Posted Nov 21 2008 2:25pm

by Brett Blumenthal

Having been entrenched in wellness for the better part of fifteen years, it is hard for me to be unaware of my health and my habits which impact my health.  For instance, I can’t imagine life without exercise.  I can’t imagine eating unhealthy on a regular basis.  I can’t imagine being sedentary.  And, I can’t imagine living life being generally unhealthy.  To some of you, this may sound crazy, while others may understand it and feel the same way.  The fact is, my healthy lifestyle is just that…my lifestyle.  It isn’t a diet.  It isn’t an extreme exercise philosophy.  It is just a way of life.  That said, there are times that I take my lifestyle for granted.  I forget how difficult it is for so many people who struggle with being healthy.  Some of these individuals try every fad diet to lose weight and may even resort to pills and miracle drugs that are marketed as a quick ‘fix’ solution.  Personally, I never quite get it.

Don’t get me wrong.  I understand how some individuals become so desperate and impatient that they resort to these methods, but I just have to wonder, if these same individuals just stopped and really thought about it, would common sense kick in?  Although each person is different and struggles with different metabolisms and health issues, there are common knowledge basics that can make a tremendous impact.  It is really just that simple.

Common sense tells us that we should:

  1. Eat Those Things that Grow on Trees or in the Ground: Have you ever heard of a vegetable or fruit being unhealthy?  Probably not.  Have you ever heard of beans, grains, legumes, nuts or seeds being unhealthy?  Probably not.  These foods provide fiber, vitamins, minerals, protein and healthy fats …all beneficial to a healthy diet.
  2. Minimize Processed Foods and Chemicals: The more a food is processed, the more likely it isn’t good for you.  Why?  Processed foods often have fillers, artificial flavors, preservatives and the like.  All of which are unnecessary to your diet.  And, although I’m sure someone is going to jump allover me for this, there is no reason for you to put artificial anything in your system. If a scientific study is required to prove that a chemical or man-made ingredient is safe, you have to wonder.  Further, so many food companies pay exorbitant amounts of money to run research studies that rule in their favor, that you can’t always be sure that the ‘proof’ isn’t skewed.
  3. Eat Lean Animal Proteins: If meat, chicken or fish is greasy and fatty, it probably isn’t good for you.  Animal fats (not fish) are saturated fats - the worst kind.
  4. Minimize or Cut-out Fried and Sugary Foods: Fried foods are never considered healthy.  It doesn’t matter what it is fried in, the fat content of these foods is way more than a healthy diet should have. Further, we all have a sweet tooth.  It is human.  But we all know that eating a lot of sugar isn’t good for us.  It wreaks havoc on our metabolism and energy levels.  Not to mention, tons of additional calories that pack on weight.
  5. Try to Eat Organic: Yes, I know.  You keep hearing about organic foods.  But let’s face it, the more organic you eat, the less pesticides, chemicals, hormones and whatever else that you don’t need will enter your system.
  6. Eat a Balanced Diet: Any diet that tells you not to eat some type of ‘ macronutrient ‘ (proteins, carbohydrates and fat) is not good for you.  Each of these nutrients are important to your body’s functions and systems.  You should understand how much of each nutrient your body needs and incorporate each of these at every meal.
  7. Learn to Know When You are Full: This is probably one of the most important.  Learn what portions are appropriate for your body weight, and adhere to that.  Overeating, even if you focus on only eating healthy foods, still is a major culprit for being overweight.
  8. Minimize Foods that WE KNOW ARE BAD: There are foods, that no matter how much you rationalize, will NEVER be good for you.  Pies, cakes, ice cream, cookies, muffins, cup-cakes, hot dogs, french fries, potato chips, hamburgers, fried chicken, etc.  You know what foods are bad.  Remember also, that although there are healthier options of these foods, if the regular variety is naturally bad, there is a good chance that the ‘healthier’ versions aren’t really that great for you either.

Although there are other good rules of thumb, these are a good basic foundation to start living a healthier lifestyle. 

Do you believe that healthy nutrition is common sense? Do you have any you’d like to share?


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