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"Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.", Doug Larson
Don't cut out fat, carbs, or eat low calories. You need everything. And all of the reduced-fat and diet stuff is made with fillers and preservatives. In order to not sacrifice taste by taking out fat and calories, they add more salt and other harmful ingredients. The only exception to this rule is low-fat dairy items (low-fat milk, cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, etc.). Dairy items can be made low-fat by simply removing the fat without adding anything else. Low-fat and reduced-fat dairy items should in fact be a consistent staple in your diet (if you can handle dairy, of course). They provide loads of protein, calcium, potassium, folate, etc. for very little fat and calories.
2. EAT WHOLE FOODS (foods in their purest form).
For example, orange juice-NO, an orange-YES. We were designed to eat whole foods. Foods that are in their natural, original state are the healthiest for us. Once food becomes tampered with and changed in some way, it is not only stripped of vitamins and minerals but unnatural, unhealthy substances are added. We were meant to live off of the land and animals. Foods today are loaded with preservatives, pesticides, chemicals, and countless harmful substances. Our bodies don't know what to do with this stuff.
Whole foods are what our bodies were designed to eat. When we were all cavemen stomping around banging sticks, we weren't pulling bags of Cheetos off of trees.
3. AVOID REFINED FOODS.
Chips and cookies (yes, EVEN the 'diet' kind) are processed in your body like sugar. All the 100 calorie snack packs are refined foods. Refined foods offer NO nutritional value and are EMPTY calories. One of the biggest culprits that people overlook is dry cereal. Almost every single dry cereal on the market is total refined crap. Be VERY careful with this stuff. The wording on cereal boxes is very misleading. Turn the box around and look through the ingredients, it'll surprise you.
The average American will eat 12 pounds of cereal each year. Yikes! Try steel cut oats or eggs and whole wheat toast instead. If your in a mad hurry, grab a yogurt and a banana. Almost anything would be better than a bowl of cereal. Again, you can't stay away from everything ALL the time but eat refined foods VERY sparingly. They illicit an insulin surge and leave you hungry very quickly after eating them.
4. EAT WHOLE GRAINS.
Get rid off all the white foods (potatoes, rice, pasta, bread) and replace them with sweet potatoes, brown or wild rice, wheat pasta, and wheat or whole grain bread.
That's exactly how your body processes white foods...as sugar. They hold absolutely no nutritional value, spike sugar levels, make you tired, and make you hungry. You will find that whole grains and wheat taste BETTER. Every single one of my friends and family members who have made the switch agree. It REALLY does taste better. I cannot eat white bread. It tastes like a mushy disgusting mess in my mouth. Gross! Did you know that white foods begin digesting in your mouth BEFORE you even swallow them? Your saliva is enough to already start breaking down these simple carbohydrates. That gives you a pretty good idea that there isn't gonna be much to get from it once it's in your stomach. White foods will not provide any sustenance or nutritional value. Complex carbs such as quinoa, old fashioned and steel cut oats, brown and wild rice, and other whole grains. Whole grains are called complex carbohydrates for a reason....they provide nutrients that stay with you. They also have fiber which not only is vital in a healthy digestive track but keep you feeling full and satisfied for a longer period of time.
5. EAT GOOD CARBS.
All the whole grain foods mentioned above fall into the 'good carb' category. Fruits and veggies do as well. Fruits and vegetables should be eaten throughout every day. The vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants as well as their nutritional value are unparallelled to other foods. There are a ton of them out there, including ones you have never even tried or tasted. Find the ones you like and don't be afraid to try new ones or even try old ones in a different way. Maybe you don't like asparagus by itself, but maybe cut in bite-sized pieces thrown in a stir-fry would be a new favorite.
6. EAT GOOD FATS.
Fish (including most seafood), nuts & legumes, olives, olive oil, avocados, natural peanut butter (Jif and Skippy both are super yummy and are no-stir), flaxseed, etc. Stay away from the 'unhealthy' saturated fats such as any fried food, cheese, ice cream, meat fat, potato chips, all sweets, etc. Many people are still very misinformed about eating fat. Many still believe if you eat fat, you become fat. Your body needs fat to function properly. Just be sure to stick to the good fats.
7. AVOID ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS.
Use a form of Stevia. It's the only natural sweetener out there that isn't loaded with harmful ingredients and DOESN'T illicit an insulin surge. All of the artificial sweeteners on the market (except Stevia) are processed in your body like regular sugar. Your body doesn't compute any calories from it but your body, primarily your pancreas, registers this food item as sugar.
This wrecks havoc with your system and causes the sugar 'crash' afterwards, which leaves you hungry and tired. One of the biggest pitfalls is diet soda. Diet sodas not only cause these unwarranted insulin surges to happen, but countless studies have proven that they actually increase hunger. Artificial sweeteners have also been proven to trigger sugar cravings. It's not worth it. Try the Stevia (Truvia is another option).
It seems there is so much information out there and often it becomes overwhelming to take it all in and figure out where to start.
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