Ruxandra Ana Maria
Many years back I saw on the shelf of a library, a book called ‘You Are What You Eat’. The title made an instant impact on me, making me want to know more and buy the book, which I did.
Now, after many years of studying about nutrition and exercise, I realise that the title of that book is very apt, because what you eat will really show on your body.
I once watched a documentary called /Super Size Me/ where a man decided to take up a challenge and eat only junk food for 30 days, from a popular fast food restaurant. He did all his blood tests before starting the 30-day challenge, and he did the same after. He started in super healthy state, fit and full of energy and at the end of 30 days, he was overweight, with huge liver problems, and he almost became impotent, not to mention his energy levels were really down and he was feeling lethargic all the time.
That is why it is very important to pay close attention to all the foods you eat because these foods will have a strong impact on your health, on your body shape, on your energy, as well as on the way your brain and body function. You simply become what you eat!
The body that you have now is an accumulation of what you have eaten so far and the way it functions is related to the kind of food you consumed:
- If you eat food with poor nutritional contents like overcooked vegetables, know that these are not healthy anymore because through overcooking the veggies lose their vitamins and nutrients they are supposed to contain.
- If you eat fried food, as much as it is delicious, it is equally toxic.
- If you eat foods with a lot of sugar, your energy level will fluctuate and during the day, even your mood will go up and down.
- If you eat junk food, it will definitely not do any positive thing for your body, and actually will do more damage to your body and mind, so better not eat it or limit it to once in one or two months.
If you are not happy with your body or the way it functions, know that anytime you can turn it around. The impact on your body if you take quality food in right quantities taken daily can make a very big difference that can be seen very fast.
But what does eating healthy mean? Sometime back, someone offered me a dark chocolate, urging me to take it because, as that person said and I quote, ‘it is very healthy and you can eat as much as you want it will not make you fat.’ This is a myth! Even if something is healthy, eaten in big quantities will definitely have an unhealthy impact on the body.
Another example was when someone else cooked a meal for me with a huge amount of oil in it. When I questioned the oil in it, that person told me that it is very healthy because olive oil was used!
We need to understand and remember that even if something is healthy, consumed in huge quantities will turn it unhealthy. It is similar to the use of medicines. When we are sick and take medicines they make us feel better, but if we take the wrong dosage they can make us feel worse.
Another myth that is going on is that products in the market marked as ‘sugar-free’ are healthy to eat. When I was offered a sugar-free chocolate, the person offering told me that I can eat it because it is very healthy and will not make me gain weight.
I want you to know that most of the products that are marked ‘sugar-free’ are designed for diabetic people who cannot eat sugar, but this does not mean that these are healthy options. Most of them contain a high amount of fructose which eaten in large quantities can have laxative effects or they might contain artificial sweeteners which are not healthy for the liver.
Another thing that I notice in supermarkets is that many products have written ‘diet’ on it, but when I look at the fat and the sugar content, when I look at the ingredients, nothing in that ‘diet’ labeled product is actually suitable for dieting or can even be considered healthy.
We need to understand that just because a product has the words healthy, diet or sugar-free written on it, it does not mean that it is actually true, and it definitely does not mean that it will make us healthier or fitter.
So what should we eat to be healthy?
I never encourage suppression, therefore I always suggest a balanced diet. If one craves for fried or sugary foods, then they should eat it but the quantities should be controlled. I always suggest a diet where 80% should be a healthy clean diet and 20% whatever one wants to eat.
So what should the 80% portion contain?
1. Fruits – any seasonal fruits in the right quantities. Do not eat 2 mangoes and 3 bananas at one meal just because you think they are healthy. This is unhealthy because of the quantity. One fruit a meal should be enough, or a small fruit salad combining two or more fruits.
2. Vegetables – it is very important that the vegetables should not be overcooked. It is a better practice to cook them on the pan, rather than in the pressure cooker. In this way, their nutritional content will not be lost. Those vitamins and minerals will still be there and eating them will really nourish your body. Also, salad should also be part of a healthy diet.
3. Grains – most of them are healthy, provided they are cooked with the smallest amount of oil, and are not fried. The healthiest options will always be whole grain, wheat, integral, rye, etc. Usually the ones that contain a high fibre content.
Some examples of healthy grain choices you can make is – when you choose flour instead of white flour chosen from those mentioned above; if you want to buy bread, try not to choose white; for rice the best choice will be brown rice; if you want oats, do not choose the white ones, choose the whole grain ones. These are small changes that can have a huge impact on your body and mind.
4. Pulses – they are very healthy and mostly contain a very good nutritional content. But they must be cooked in a healthy way. Adding a lot of oil or butter or ghee will not make it healthier, rather it will make it unhealthy. So use oil in the right quantities.
Based on general nutritional guidelines, one person should not consume more than a spoon of oil/ghee/butter per day, even if they contain healthy fats. More than that can affect your health in the long term.
5. Dry fruits – they are really healthy but again, the quantity must be considered. Because they are high in kcal, eating too many can make a person gain weight, making it an unhealthy option. Therefore watch your portions.
To conclude, I want to share with you a saying: If you want to live long, eat little.
No matter how healthy you eat, big quantities will never make you healthy nor will your body function at the proper capacity. Portion sizes must be the first thing to watch, and then the content of the food as well.
Use the 80% -20% diet and in time it will definitely show on your body, on your energy levels and on the way your brain functions. Food can make you or break you, therefore choose wisely. YOU are and become WHAT YOU EAT!
Ruxandra Ana Maria is the author of the personal development/self help book called Fit Trim Slim, The Easiest And Most Sustainable Way To Lose Weight; she is a humanitarian, women’s rights activist, and a popular motivational speaker and life coach. She focuses on her own brand of powerful, life-changing energy on issues like empowerment, depression, addictions, weight loss, and relationship problems. She blogs at http://ruxandraanamaria.blogspot.com/.