AM I EATING RIGHT? WHAT A “PERFECT” DIET PLAN WOULD LOOK LIKE
Where I grew up, it was mother who cooked most of the times, before any one of us was old enough to take up the roles to preparing meals, and years went by until there was a duty Rota. What surprised us was the fact that we had almost the same meals while growing; any one of us from our eldest sibling could prepare our usual recipes without much ado, and what was passed on from our mother formed to the perfect way of eating. Back then, there was little information on what would be a perfect meal and looking over the years gone, I have tried to painstakingly correct the notion that mother’s meals are always the best. Unbeknown to us, with hardly an education or title to her name, one way or the other she had a way to balancing the diet. Her idea of the perfect meal was largely influenced by what she would gather around our farm, and in the vicinity including the local bazaar. So much about that, I know most of you are worried as much as I am about the debilitating toll lifestyle diseases are taking on us, with so many deaths attributed to the wrong diets and poor feeding habits.
Obesity, heart disease, cancers and so much about poor feeding and the negative health impact it bequeaths us. Can we really come up with that perfect diet plan, for anyone anywhere in the world?
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, eating healthy food remains an important part of maintaining your health. While there are no specific foods that can help protect you from the virus, a nutritious diet can boost your immune system or help you fight off symptoms. You may not be able to share meals with friends and loved ones, but there are lots of other ways to eat well and support your health at this difficult time.
I share my thoughts on what you may do to make sure that you are not missing out on anything. We all can eat right if we follow on. Many people feel overwhelmed by information on diets, and just want to know what to do. After all, there are so many diets out there right now; most doctors are every bit as confused as their patients. For many years, the American Heart Association has been recommending a low-fat diet with less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol per day, and 30% of calories from fat. But while they pursued this heart-healthy diet, Americans got fatter and fatter. About a decade ago, nutrition experts began to wonder whether we were doing something drastically wrong.
When low-carbohydrate diets like the Atkins Diet came along, cardiologists recoiled at the notion of so much fat. The Atkins Diet actually has 68% of total calories from fat, which in the past would have been considered a sure road to a heart attack. What these cardiologists didn’t take into account was that these low-carbohydrate diets actually led to overall decreases in caloric intake. With the resulting weight loss, cardiac risk factors often improve.
The problem with low-carbohydrate diets is that most people cannot sustain them, and they regain the weight they lost. In addition, experts continue to be nervous about the long-term effects of such a high-fat diet on overall health.
So dozens of other diets compete for Americans’ attention — most without evidence to prove they help people live longer, healthier lives: Glycemic index diets (like the South Beach Diet) that allow carbohydrate consumption as long as they do not make blood glucose shoot up too high. Very-low fat diets that allow less than 15% of total calories from fat. The Mediterranean Diet,
which includes large amounts of plant foods, fish and poultry in moderate amounts, rare use of red meats, and wine in low to moderate amounts with meals.
As good as some of these diets are, and delectable as some of their recipes might be, most people just don’t like following a diet. A few principles of how to eat just might be enough for you to improve your health, and maybe lose some weight along the way.
Here’s the bottom line — four relatively simple recommendations:
- Decrease your carbohydrate intake, especially of refined and high glycemic-index carbohydrates.
- Increase your consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Increase your intake of polyunsaturated fats by increasing the amount of plant oils and fish in your diet.
- Limit yourself to moderate amounts of low-fat dairy products and nuts.
What a perfect plate should look like
Calling all calorie-counters, macro mavens and weight warriors: step away from your calculator (app)! You don’t need it anymore. Instead of tracking, stacking, counting and doing long division, give yourself a break and put that effort toward building the perfect plate.
Think of your plate containing four sections: fruits, vegetables, grains, and proteins. Fruits and vegetables should fill half the plate and grains and protein should fill the other half of the plate. Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in every color to ensure a range of nutrients.
Eating a healthy diet is not about strict limitations, staying unrealistically thin, or depriving yourself of the foods you love. Rather, it’s about feeling great, having more energy, improving your health, and boosting your mood.
Healthy eating doesn’t have to be overly complicated. If you feel overwhelmed by all the conflicting nutrition and diet advice out there, you’re not alone. It seems that for every expert who tells you a certain food is good for you, you’ll find another saying exactly the opposite. The truth is that while some specific foods or nutrients have been shown to have a beneficial effect on mood, it’s your overall dietary pattern that is most important. The cornerstone of a healthy diet should be to replace processed food with real food whenever possible. Eating food that is as close as possible to the way nature made it can make a huge difference to the way you think, look, and feel. I do not want you to feel so worried that you have been eating wrong. The devil is in the detail, so they say. Keep simple and creative. Make your feeding habit as decent as possible by following the simple “perfect diet” plan that I have shared for whatever recipe you think of preparing and you are sure to never going wrong. I would really like to assure you that all is well, but thinking about the politics surrounding dietary plans and what not you should eat, please make it upon yourself to know that the fundamental of great health is largely on what you eat.
Truth is, we all know what eating right is, and we only err because we think we do not need to prepare and pack our own meals at home, or have that sweet tooth for all the wrong sugars. The ball is in your court. You can definitely live within your best diet. I wish you the very best. As always, stay well and healthy.
Have a healthy month ahead.