Top 5 Dietary Recommendations to Simplify your Life
I was asked recently to share my top nutritional recommendations. My initial response was the classic “eat food; not too much; mostly plants”. After all, I loath the idea of a life co-opted by menu planning. However, distilling endless reams of nutritional information into a cohesive whole is no small task. Asked to name my favourites, these 5 come to mind.
Make natural, unprocessed foods the basis of your diet. The guiding principle is simple: make your own meals using a variety of foods of all types, mainly of plant origins: cereals, fruits, vegetables, legumes, roots, tubers, nuts/seeds, berries, chicken, fish. Also, eat diversely within each group, and create a wide colour pallet on your plate.
Use minimally processed foods in moderation and in small amounts to enhance the flavour and texture of your culinary creations. Do not be afraid of salt, oil and sugar. In small amounts, they are the magic that transform raw ingredients into a meal. If nutritious foods don’t appeal to your pallet, you simply won’t eat them. In small amounts, these ingredients will enhance your meals into culinary creations you will anticipate and enjoy.
Avoid or eliminate all ultra-processed foods. By this I mean soda, packaged snack foods, breakfast cereal, instant noodles, crackers, potato chips; the list goes on. These confections are sadly ubiquitous; I refer to them as “non-food products”. They are nutritionally unbalanced and leave health, environmental, and social imbalance in their wake.
Learn the basics. A big part of nutritious eating is planning, preparation, and thinking ahead. Construct a weekly meal plan if that works for you, but planning ahead can also mean simply having basic ingredients prepared on an ongoing basis. For example, have vegetables chopped, grains cooked, beans soaking, ready to be combined in creative ways at any time. Try having fresh homemade salsa, various dressings and salads ready. One of the most important basics to master is homemade broth . Make it at the beginning of the week and use it for soups, stews, cooking rice, beans and legumes, or as a snack by itself. Try using a slow cooker and simmer it all day for maximum flavour and nutrition.
Make food preparation and eating an important part of your life. The importance of this cannot be overstated. Food and meals have always been the central hearth around which family and social life revolve. Removing the social piece from eating traditions detracts from the enriching nature of breaking bread together with the people you love. Mealtimes should be about happiness, connection, togetherness and peace. Share in the duties that precede and succeed a meal: food preparation, cleaning, setting up the table. These duties are all points of connection indistinct from the dinner event itself.
My hope is to see people preparing and eating homemade foods together with their friends and families, effectively eliminating the presence of non-food products and the companies who make them. It’s easy to get worried and hung-up on the minutia of nutrition and diet, but if you can follow these basic tenets, the details with take care of themselves.
If you have any questions about your specific situation, call the clinic and book your 15 minute consultation. I’m always available for a chat.