The only thing we are truly certain is fact when it comes to nutrition and dieting is that the term “fact” is subjective. Studies are published by “credible” sources that say coffee is good for you only to have another study the next day released that says coffee is in fact bad for you. Fat is bad, but there is good fat. Carbs are bad, but we need them. You should never cheat on your diet, or a cheat day is beneficial. Let’s face it, we are exhausted. And for that reason, I pay little attention to that type of conjecture.
But the New York Times posted an article that is worth reading – Simple Rules for Healthy Eating. This puts it in plain English, without all those fancy rules. See if you agree…
1. Eat as much unprocessed foods as you can for better nutrition, and cut back on the processed stuff. Fresh fruit and veggies are always better than processed ones. Focus on things that have not been been cooked, prepared or altered in any way. Brown rice over white rice. Whole grains over refined grains. And while not everything is practical to eat “made from scratch” like dried pasta, you can pair it with healthier, unprocessed foods.
2. Eat home-cooked meals as much possible, taking into account Rule #1. Eating at home allows you to take control over the ingredients and avoid processed ingredients. You are also less likely to overeat.
3. You can use salt and fats, including butter and oil, as needed in food preparation (yay!). The caveat is that overused word – “moderation.”
4. When you eat at restaurants, try to keep the above in mind. Eat at restaurants that are creating all of their items from fresh, unprocessed foods.
5. Drink a lot of water, and some alcohol and coffee. You can find a study to show that everything either prevents or causes cancer so don’t get caught up on them – if you really want that glass of wine, most “studies” show you’ll be fine. Just don’t go crazy.
6. Treat all beverages with calories in them as you would alcohol. This includes every drink with calories, including milk. They’re fine in moderation, but keep them to a minimum. You can have them because you like them, but you shouldn’t consume them as if you need them.
7. Eat with other people, especially people you care about, as often as possible. This has benefits even outside those of nutrition. It will make you more likely to cook. It will most likely make you eat more slowly. It will also make you happy.