Food For Thought: Food = Fuel!

How do you view food?  There are so many reasons why we eat.  We eat because we hungry, bored, or emotional.  We even eat when we’re not hungry because we crave something, because food is in front of us, or because it keeps our hands busy.

The whole idea behind sustainable and healthy living is to make a conscious effort in improving and maintaining our health.  Try to change your daily perspective of food.  Think of FOOD AS FUEL.  Food doesn’t just satisfy our cravings, it feeds our body.  It gives us energy, hydrates us, and helps our body function normally.  Every time you eat or drink, think about what it is providing your body.  After a meal, observe and evaluate how you FEEL.  Are you sluggish or do you feel energized?  Listen to your body.  It’s an engine: it needs the best fuel to run as effectively and efficiently as possible.

(Tip #1) Water > Soda/Alcohol
100 extra calories a day causes a 10 pound gain EACH YEAR.  That’s one soda or one beer.  A lot of my friends work out regularly but come home and pop 2-3 beers a night.  It’s not even for the buzz (or maybe it is), but this regular habit provides limited benefits when compared to other drinks.  Although I enjoy a cocktail, I have been slowly weening myself off of drinking alcohol.  This is because it causes me to sleep poorly and not get solid rest at night.  I want to feel AMAZING not tired all the time, especially on my days off.

Water, above all else, hydrates and offers no negative effects.  Try substituting that soda or nightly cocktail for a glass of water.  You’ll consume less calories, gain less weight, and most importantly, you’ll hydrate your body!  Don’t forget that 60+% of our bodies are made up of water.  Also, when I say listen to your body, try looking in the toilet.  If it’s neon orange, your body is showing you that you need to drink more water to dilute the solutes that are being filtered from your blood.  (Yup, I went there.)

TRY THIS: Switch from soda/alcohol to water.  For a couple of years now, I followed a self-regulated rule: for every glass of soda/coffee/alcohol that I have, I have to immediately have two glasses of water.  I get so full from drinking so much water that I successfully limit my intake of any other drink.  It also helps me to get my daily recommended amount of water! Win-Win!

(Tip #2)  Fruits & Vegetables > French Fries
Potatoes are the #1 vegetable eaten every year.  If you know me, you know that I’m a sucker for fried chicken and french fries.  But with all the added oil that these potatoes soak up, french fries are a deliciously bad side dish.  Not only is it heavily loaded with extra calories, but consuming all that extra oil/fat can contribute to heart and breathing conditions which make you feel like poop.  Who wants to feel like poop?

TRY THIS: With every meal, eat a handful of vegetables.  A great rule of thumb is go with darker colored vegetables and leafy greens.  If you are making a simple pasta, throw in some fresh tomatoes, veggies, and spinach.  Instead of having a bag of chips as a snack, have a fresh apple and some crunchy carrots.

(Tip #3) Whole Grains FTW
There are so many health benefits when it comes to switching to whole grains over enriched flour.  Let me first say this.  Enriched white flour is not evil!  Even though the germ of the grain (the most nutrient dense part of the grain) is removed, manufacturers actually enrich the grain with more vitamins and nutrients.  However, the type and amount of nutrients are not the same (or as high) as in whole grains.  Fiber is an exceptionally important benefit to eating whole grains.  It helps lower your cholesterol reabsorption into your body, thus helping to lower your cholesterol levels.  Whole grains and fiber will make you feel fuller without overeating which can cause lethargic feelings afterwards, aka Food Coma.  This category will help you when you’re on the toilet as well.  Fiber make your regular business trip…well…regular.  A dietitian once told me that you know someone is not eating enough fiber when they have magazines in their bathroom next to the toilet 😉

TRY THIS: Instead of reaching for greasy potato chips, try eating some plainly popped popcorn.  You can toss it in some light seasoning.  You’ll have a light snack that is a good source of whole grain and fiber.  Who knew?!  Avoid drenching it in “cheese” or any other prepackaged flavor.

These tips are just a few of the ways that you can make a positive switch to eating healthier.  The primary goal is to get you thinking about what you are putting into your body.  Don’t deny your cravings, but in the biggest scheme of things, you are what you eat.  By making these suggested changes, you’re not only moderating your intake of the “bad” stuff, but you’re increasing your intake of the “good” stuff.  You’ll satisfy your cravings without attaching your food directly to your hips, butt, or thighs.  You’ll also feel more energized to accomplish what you need to each day.  Food = Fuel!

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