Thursday, August 25, 2011

The new food rules of the new century- Part 2

The new food rules of the new century – Part 2

Continuing from the previously written first part, the following are the remaining 5 more rules. Besides rules related to food and nutrition, I would like to discuss about the benefits and the necessity of exercise in our daily life.

Rule 6: Stop eating before we are full

I would like to share the evidences from various cultures around the globe. The Japanese have a saying ‘hara hachi bu’, which persuades people to stop eating when they are 80% full. The Ayurvedic tradition in India advises eating until we are 75% full; the Chinese specify 70%; and Prophet Muhammad described a full belly as one that contained one third food, one third liquid, and one third air – in other words, nothing. Eat more plant foods instead of meat-based foods is the best practices.

Rule 7: Eat sweet foods as you’d find them in nature

In nature, sugars almost always come packaged with fiber, which slows their absorption and gives us a sense of satiety before we have ingested too many calories. That’s why we are always better off eating the fruit rather than drinking the juice. We need to avoid those highly processed fruit juices and cordial drinks as they give nothing except added ingredients and plasticizers.

Rule 8: Break the rules once in a while

Obsessing over food rules is bad for our happiness, and probably our health, too. Over the past few decades, dieting and worrying too much about nutrition has made us no healthier or slimmer; cultivating a relaxed attitude toward food is just as important.

There will be some special occasions when we will want to throw healthy eating rules out the window. What matters more is the habits that govern our eating on a typical day. “All things in moderation” should always be in our consideration. I will enjoy eating luxuriously at buffet dinner occasionally with friends by showing them my strong appetite on delicious foods but still can maintain my healthy body image now as it’s always about what we eat and what we do daily. I will ensure my daily energy intake balances my daily energy expenditure by walk more. How can we achieve that? I always take stairs rather than taking the lift whenever I am going up or down at my work place. I feel like we are so technologically pampered by using lift until we are so lazy to move our foot or get our backside stand upright. I seldom use lift in UPM, that’s why I always remain fit and thin now. I am 6 kg underweight from my normal weight now, as a result of my daily lifestyles. I will make sure that I will exercise for at least 4 days a week by jogging for at least 30 minutes every time. Our fat will only starts burning after exercising for about 20 min, that’s why we have to strife until after 20 minutes every time. If not, we will feel tired easily as it burned out the glycogen storage easily, making us feel tired easily initially whenever we exercise. Please take good note of that as it is from my own experiences.

Rule 9: Pay more, eat less

If we spend more for better food, we will probably eat less of it, and treat it with more care. And if that higher quality food tastes better, we will need less to feel satisfied. Choose quality over quantity. Or, as wise grandmothers used to say, “Better to pay the grocer than the doctor”.

Rule 10: Avoid food products that contain more than five ingredients

The specific number we adopt is arbitrary but the more ingredients in a packaged food, the more highly processed it probably is.

Hopefully everyone will be benefited from my sharing above. It is always about what we eat and what we do daily. Together we live healthily ever after.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The new food rules of the new century- Part 1

As a nutritionist, I am often inundated by information about the latest disease, the newest cure, the healthiest diet or the best exercise. It’s a lot of information to digest but from my experience, all we really need is a bit of common sense moderation on food consumption and motivation to get our foot moving. Here’s one tip I swear by: avoid food products that contain more than 5 ingredients. I cringe when I see a long list of additives, enhancers and preservatives on food packaging. We were never meant to eat emulsifiers, stabilizers or thickeners, and I don’t even want to think about what it does to our body in the long run. Healthy, wholesome food usually only have few ingredients other than additives.

Hereby I have simplified the mountain of nutritional geek speak into some basic principles. You can heed these ‘personal policies’ of mine that should make everyday decisions easier and your eating healthier.

Rule 1: Eat Food

This is easier said than done, especially when so many new products show up in the supermarket each year, all vying for our food dollar. But most of these items don’t deserve to be called food – nutrition experts call them edible food-like substances. They’re highly processed concoctions, consisting mostly of ingredients that no normal person would keep in the pantry. Today, much of the challenge of eating well comes down to choosing real food and avoiding industrial novelties.

Rule 2: Eat food with variety of colours

A healthy plate of food with the feature of several different colours is a good example that turns out to be good science as well. The colours of many vegetables and fruits reflect the different antioxidant phytochemicals they contain – anthocyanins, polyphenols, flavonoids and carotenoids. Many of these chemicals help protect against chronic disease, but each in a slightly different way, so the best protection comes from a diet that contains as many different phytochemicals as possible.

Rule 3: Eat mostly plants, especially leaves

This one is in accordance with the newest dietary recommendations by many well known nutrition board such as the United States Food and Nutrition Board as well as World Health Organization (WHO). They contain a lot of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, fiber with fewer calories. Plant foods with the exception of seeds, including grains and nuts – are usually less energy dense than other things we eat.

Rule 4: Eat food that will eventually rot

What does it mean for food to ‘go bad’? It usually means that the fungi , bacteria and creatures with which we compete for nutrients and calories have got to it before we did. Food processing and biotechnology began as a way to extend the shelf life of food by protecting it from these competitors. This is often accomplished by removing nutrients that attract the competitors, or by removing other nutrients likely to turn rancid. The more processed a food is, the longer the shelf life, and the less nutritious it typically is.

Real food is alive and therefore it should eventually die. There are a few exceptions: honey has a longer shelf life naturally. Also note that most immortal food-like substances are found in the middle aisles of the supermarket found in United States, European countries and other developed nations. I am still not sure about our country yet.

Rule 5: The whither the bread, the sooner you’d be dead

This suggests that the health risks of white flour have been popularly recognized for many years. As far as we concerned, white flour is not much different sugar. It offers none of the good things (fiber, B vitamins, healthy fats) in whole grains. So, we should eat whole grains and minimize our consumption of white flour.

It is just 5 rules I shared here. I will continue sharing another 5 rules in future. Thanks a million for the read. I hope you will enjoy learning from my own experiences.I welcome any comments from all readers if you have any to share to to correct my points.