- Ask yourself these three questions, if the answer to all 3 is “yes,” then go ahead and eat:
- Is it healthy for me?
- Is it the right time to eat?
- Is it the right amount?
- Nutrition plays a leading role in gaining and maintaining health
- Eat to live (because it is healthy), but do not live to eat (simply because it tastes good)
- The mental and spiritual are inseparable from the physical, so good nutrition leads not only to improved physical health, but also to improved mental and spiritual health
- Good nutrition doesn’t just happen. It is the result of repetitively choosing that which is best
- The body needs regular set times for meals each day
- The stomach needs about 4 hours to digest the food, and at least 1 hour to rest prior to the next meal, therefore meals should be spaced at least 5 hours apart
- Eat your last meal at least 3 hours before bedtime
- Avoid eating shortly after vigorous exercise or labor
- Eat nothing between meals
- Eat slowly and enjoy your food
- Chew your food thoroughly before swallowing
- Avoid drinking with your meals
- Avoid combining many types of foods at one meal, especially fruits and vegetables
- Give thanks for your food and eat with a grateful/cheerful attitude
- Eat an amount of food that will leave you satisfied, but not full or stuffed
- For weight loss, place on your plate the amount of food you need and don’t go back for more
- Eating too much of even good food is not good for you
- 2 meals daily is better for most people (including pre-diabetics and diabetics)
- Breakfast should be the largest meal of the day, lunch medium, and supper (if at all) very light
Foods to Eat
- Whole grains – (brown rice, oats, barley, whole wheat products, whole grain pasta, corn, etc.) are rich in fiber and nutrients. They can be cooked and mixed with other food groups, and can be eaten with each meal. Eat at least 5 servings (1 serving = ½ cup cooked grain, ¾ cup dry cereal, 1 slice bread) daily. ***(Diabetics may need to limit their intake of grains, depending upon their sugar levels.)
- Fruits – (banana, apple, papaya, mango, berries, melons, etc.) are rich in natural sugars, antioxidants, and fiber and are easily digested. These can be eaten with breakfast or for a light supper. Eat at least 3 servings (1 serving = 1 medium piece of fruit or ½ cup cooked fruit) daily. ***(Pre-diabetics or diabetics may have to limit themselves to low-glycemic fruits [grapefruit, green apples, kiwi, berries] or no fruits, depending upon their sugar levels.)
- Vegetables – (carrot, beet, potato, green bean, cabbage, lettuce, etc.) are full of minerals, starches, and fiber and are excellent for the mid-day (lunch) meal. Eat at least 4 servings (1 serving = ½ cup cooked vegetable, or 1 cup raw) daily.
- Legumes – (peas, beans, lentils, soy products,) are high in healthy proteins to provide the building material for the body. Legumes and whole grains together make a complete protein! Eat at least 2 servings (1 serving = ½ cup cooked beans, 8 oz. soy milk, 4 oz. tofu) daily.
- Natural Fats – (nuts [cashew, walnut, almond, coconut, etc.], seeds [flax, sunflower, pumpkin, etc.], avocado, olive, etc.) eaten sparingly (a handful daily) they provide you with natural, healthy ways of getting your fat intake while at the same time improving your cholesterol profile.
Foods to Avoid
- Flesh Foods – (Pork, beef, chicken, fish, etc.) include those things that could run, fly, or swim away from you if you try to kill them. These are high in saturated fats and cholesterol (even fish), and many diseases (diabetes, heart disease, obesity, osteoporosis, cancers, parasites, bacterial & viral infections, toxins, etc.) are related to their consumption. A healthy substitute is combining legumes and whole grains together to get your complete proteins without the negative health affects of flesh foods.
- Dairy products – (Milk, cheese, butter, eggs, ice cream, etc.) are made from “stuff” that comes from animals. These products as well are high in saturated fats and cholesterol and many similar diseases result from their consumption. Healthy substitutes include soy milk, rice milk, nut butters, flax seed, blended frozen fruit, etc.
- Spices – (black/hot pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, mustard, etc.) cause irritation of the stomach and digestive organs, which can lead to or worsen esophageal reflux, gastritis, and ulcers. Healthy substitutes include herbs such as basi, thyme, sage, paprika, and others.
- Vinegar – (including apple cider vinegar, pickles, distilled vinegar, salad dressings, condiments, etc.) is the result of fermenting (or rotting) alcohol to acetic acid. It, as the spices do, erodes the delicate lining of the digestive tract. A healthy substitute is lemon juice.
- Refined carbohydrates/sugars – (cookies, pies, cakes, sweet breads, pasta, white bread, crackers, candy, chocolates, table sugar, jams, jellies, syrups, white flour, etc.) are easily digested/absorbed into the blood stream and cause a rapid rise in blood sugar. They are also high in calories. This leads to diabetes and obesity. Additionally, refined sugars decrease the immune system’s ability to combat disease. A healthy substitute is to use whole grain products instead of refined products, and naturally sweet fruits in exchange for sugars.
- Fried/high fat foods – (chips, French fries, margarine, oils, shortening, lard, etc.) are high in trans fats or cholesterol or saturated fats, which increase your bad cholesterol, decrease your good cholesterol, and promote inflammation that predisposes people to develop plaques in their arteries. Healthy substitutes include “frying” on a nonstick skillet with light, non-stick spray and using water and herbs for seasoning. Also, baking instead of frying, and using unsweetened applesauce instead of oil in baking recipes.
- Daily drink 1 ounce of water/herbal teas for every 2 pounds you weigh
- Avoid drinking carbonated (soft drinks), caffeinated, and/or alcoholic beverages
- If you are diabetic, pre-diabetic, or overweight, avoid drinking fruit juices as well