Healthy Food Diets for Life
Healthy food diets are more than a recipe for weight loss, or a fad that comes around every January 1st and lasts until January 15th (if that). Eating right–eating healthy foods–goes far beyond “on again, off again” crash diets.
Eating right is essential for avoiding all sorts of diseases which are related to food and poor eating habits. Portion control, nutrition information, and most of all good balance is important when you start preparing a diet that will last you the rest of your life.
The key to successfully eating right is to focus in on foods that you love. Are you crazy about strawberries? Make them part of your breakfast several times a week! Do you love Chinese food? Learn to stir-fry and prepare your own Chinese vegetables for meals.
If you’re trying to cram food you hate down your throat, then you’re fighting a losing battle and your diet will never be more than a fad, a crash diete that was doomed to fail even before it started.
The one biggest problem with changing your eating habits is that many people automatically dismiss foods on the grounds that “they don’t like them” or “those are weird” when in fact, they’ve never tasted them, or they’ve never had them prepared in a way they liked. Swiss chard, a green leafy vegetable that is positively loaded with vitamins and antioxidants and other ‘goodies’ gets bitter if it’s cooked too long. Many people try to cook it for twenty or thirty minutes, and decide with the first mouthful that they hate it. (Little wonder; overcooked chard, like overcooked cabbage, is nothing short of nauseating.) But chard lightly stir-fried in olive oil for four or five minutes at the most is a treat for the tastebuds, and not to be missed.
So be sure you’re cooking foods the right way before deciding that you dislike them. And don’t assume that the right way is the way everyone else does it. Experiment with several different styles before dismissing an item. This is the only way your healthy food diet will survive and truly be a long-term lifestyle change.
Healthy Food Choices: Local vs. Organic
There are two new healthy food choices for those who are concerned about eating right, and a new debate has sprung up in recent months about the relative merits of organic food vs. local food. Many people, if they answered without thinking about it, would probably assume that local and organic are the same thing. But, in fact, they are not. Not all organic food is grown locally; not all local food is grown organically. So what is local food, what is organic food, and–most pertinent question of them all–which is better?
Local food refers simply to food grown locally. The standard definition is usually considered to be food grown within 50 miles of the place where it is eaten, although some definitions call for a stricter 30 miles, and others are lax and allow for 100 or even 200 miles.
Organic food, on the other hand, is food grown without using herbicides, pesticides, and chemical fertilizers. Much organic food originates in California, which means it isn’t local for most of the country. It also means that in order for your “organic” food to be shipped to your grocery store, the company must use huge amounts of fossil fuels to store and transport this organic food, sometimes all the way across the country. The food, when it arrives, is no longer at its peak of freshness, and even though you might not ingest any chemicals in eating it, the earth has.
Looking at it strictly from the standpoint of what you put into your mouth, the organic food would at first seem to be better. Broadening our view to take in the damage done to the earth by transporting it so far shows that this may not always be the case. But even taking the narrow view holds some surprises; advocates of eating locally rather than organically would say that because food depreciates, in a sense, when it’s no longer at the peak of its freshness, the food you put into your mouth no longer has the same nutrient content as the local food, which hasn’t traveled as far, but has been grown using chemicals.
In the end, which of the two options is better is purely a personal choice. Only one thing is certain. Of the two healthy food choices, the best choice is finding organic food grown locally, and eating that.