Your Diet: Friend or Foe?

You are Hungry.  You Eat.  Rinse & Repeat.  But when you get hungry, what exactly are you eating?  Are you eating to fulfill your body’s requirements of proper vitamins, nutrients, and nourishment?  Or are you eating until the hungry signal in your brain stops?  The reality is that many people are eating whatever is around so they no longer feel hungry.  Imbalanced diets and “food” with no nutritional value are significantly contributing to poor health (including diabetes and cardiovascular disease) and wellness.  

Artificial “Food”

A variety of prepared food, whether from the grocery store or a restaurant, is loaded with salt, sugar, and high in fat.  Whether it is “pink slime”, corn based “chicken” nuggets, entrees with 1000+ mg of sodium, or the massive amounts of sugar consumed per meal, artificial “food” is available in overabundance.  The inexpensive prices of these items also contributes to their popularity on the market.  Also remember that it is not just fast food, restaurant meals, or the prepackaged microwave/baked meals that are of concern.  Pasta sauces, barbeque sauce, ketchup, mustard, mayo, and other condiments are often high in salt, sugar, and fat as well.  

But wait, there is more.  Refined grains is also a significant problem.  White bread, white rice, and non whole wheat pasta all contain refined grains which means they contain less fiber than their unrefined counterparts.  Why is this important?  Your body takes longer to process foods high in fiber and thus you feel fuller longer.  Refined grains also turns to sugar in your body almost immediately, and excess sugar in the body turns to fat.  That also includes many cereals, chips, and crackers.

Balance

A “proper” diet, as defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, should consist of a quarter each of fruits, vegetables, grain (whole and refined), and protein (meat, eggs, nuts).  Of course everyone wants a cookie or chicken nuggets every now and then, but artificial or low fiber foods should not make up the majority, or even half of your diet!  Be sure to have a fruit, vegetable, protein and grain with every meal, or at least 3 of the four.  For example, egg omelette w/ spinach and kale (protein & vegetable), strawberries (fruit), and whole wheat bread (grain) is a healthy balanced breakfast (even with the high cholesterol of eggs).  An imbalanced breakfast is a bagel with cream cheese and orange juice.  While a bagel may count as a grain depending on the type, there is no whole fruit or vegetable, or significant protein.  You can eat a balanced diet and spend the same (or less) with artificial food, and it will still taste good!

What do you eat everyday?  Is what you eat friend or foe?

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