Why Eating Healthy Is Better Than Dieting

Being On A Diet Doesn’t Mean You’re Eating Healthy

Let's make one distinction very clear before we start, eating healthy and dieting are not the same thing.

The two phrases are used interchangeably these days and at a glance they may seem synonymous but in reality they’re poles apart.

The definition of diet can mean either “the kinds of foods that a person habitually eats” or "a special course of food to which a person restricts themselves, either to lose weight or for medical reasons".

And it’s the presence of the “word” restriction in the second definition that is at the crux of the whole healthy eating/dieting debate.

Consider the difference between having to weigh and measure your food or eliminate whole foods when on a restrictive diet as compared with healthy eating which is more about finding a balance (unless you have to eliminate certain foods for medical reasons).

Short Term Solutions vs Long Term Sustainability

Today you won’t find the word “diet” on it’s own, it’ll be wrapped up in a miracle package that promises you everything.

They’re generally short term in nature and impractical to be following in the long run.

If you’re looking to improve your eating then creating sustainable long term habits will be crucial.  Any diet needs to be flexible to your lifestyle not the other way around. It should add to your life not take away from it.

A good diet will offer long term solutions, empower you with knowledge and help you to find ways to incorporate healthy eating into your lifestyle.

Reframing

As soon as you start a diet you have to commit to a rigid set of rules around food groups, meal times or portion sizes.  Healthy eating is about being more mindful about choosing the best foods for you each day and sometimes that means having some biscuits.

If you feel you need a biscuit, then have it and enjoy it, but in the context of healthy eating also being able to connect with why you felt you wanted the biscuit.

A healthy approach to eating focuses on adding good foods rather than the battle between what you can or can’t have.

You want to create a mindset that looks at food as a delicious and wonderful experience for yourself and your body and not the typical diet approach which will label foods as high fat, high salt and relegated to the banned list.

Don’t limit your food choices with sets of arbitrary food rules that don’t add anything except taking away the joy of eating.

Is Eating Organic Food Better For Me?

Is Eating Organic Food Better For Me?

1822262.png

Firstly let’s define what organic means.

It is a farming process that grows and produces food without using synthetic chemicals such as pesticides and artificial fertilisers. The use of genetically modified components or exposing food to irradiation is not used.

The term organic can also cover animal products like eggs, chicken, and beef.

This has lead to an increase in demand for organic products.  Walk into any supermarket and you’ll notice how much more shelf-space is being taken up with organic items.

It would make perfect sense to conclude that choosing organic food over conventionally grown products would be a healthier because of the processes used and the way it’s marketed.

But Does Organic Live Up To The Hype?

Several studies have been conducted to compare the nutritional content of organically grown food and conventionally grown produce, and most have shown no significant differences in key vitamins and minerals.

However some research has shown small differences in some organic foods with regards to:

  • Lower nitrate levels.

  • Higher Vitamin C levels.

  • Higher levels of selenium.

Although organic foods do have fewer pesticide residues than their conventional counterparts,  the levels in both foods are well within the levels for safe consumption.

It is also unclear whether the pesticides used in organic farming are safer than those used in more conventional farming methods.

What Does That Mean For You and Your Health?

You don’t have to eat organic to maintain your health according to current research.  

Organic products are generally more expensive than conventionally grown food products.  It takes longer to produce organic food as it is more labour intensive and the yield is lower.  Conventional methods are more time efficient and produce more which keeps costs down.

At the end of the day you have to balance the extra cost vs the perceived benefit of lower pesticide and chemical use.

If cost is not an issue then organic will provide you with some small extra benefits but not buying organic won’t mean your health is going to be hugely impacted.

Will I Feel Better Eating Gluten Free?

Will I Feel Better Eating Gluten Free?

1959786.png

Throughout the years certain foods and ingredients have been targeted as the cause of various health conditions.

The latest recipient of this wrath is Gluten with many believing that it will solve a myriad of health problems when it’s eliminated from their diet.

We’ll discuss whether going gluten free is going to make you feel better and whether it is necessary for a healthy diet.

What Is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and oats.

The Number 1 Reason To Avoid Gluten

If you have Coeliac disease then a gluten free diet is the only long term treatment. Drinking or eating anything containing gluten will cause an immune reaction. Common symptoms are inflammation and damage to the intestinal tract.

Another condition similar in symptoms but without the intestinal damage is gluten sensitivity or non Coeliac gluten sensitivity.

What Going Gluten Free Really Means

Eliminating gluten means more than just giving up breads, cereals, pizza, and beer. It is also present in foods like frozen vegetables in sauces, soy sauce, some foods made with natural flavourings, vitamin and mineral supplements, some medications and surprisingly toothpaste.

The one detail that you need to be aware of when getting rid of gluten is that you can set yourself up for nutritional deficiencies.

Whole grain breads and cereals are good sources of vitamin B. Avoiding gluten may mean you need to supplement with a multivitamin.

Whole grain wheat is a major source of fibre which is crucial to keep the bowels working properly. Most people’s diets are chronically low in fibre so taking away whole wheat can make it worse.

There are other sources of fibre like brown rice and quinoa, fruits and vegetables, and beans but you’ll need to be proactive to make sure you’re getting enough.

At The End Of The Day…

Choosing to go gluten free is going to be expensive, quite challenging and outside of needing to do it for medical reasons there is no health benefit that’ll be gained from it.

If you feel that you might have a health issue with gluten then your first step should be consulting your GP so that it can be assessed properly.


How Can I Start Eating Better?

A simple question that can leave you scratching your head because you don’t know where to go next.

The amount of information available can make it seem overwhelming but it doesn’t need to be.

I’m going to help you find your starting point so you can get moving without all the confusion or the need to overhaul your life.

Start Here

To begin with you’re going to look at what’s missing from your current diet.

As much as you’d like to ignore the fact, there will be nutritional deficiencies.

The solution is not to take extreme measures, like going on a diet or ditching carbs.

A simpler approach is to assess what you’re lacking.

What’s Missing?

The most common nutritional deficiencies are:

  1. Water (low level dehydration)

  2. Vitamins and minerals

  3. Protein

  4. Healthy Fats

We’re not talking a complete dietary overhaul but a focus on simple strategies that balance out your diet so that you get:

-A little more protein

-Sufficient vitamins and minerals

-The right amount of healthy fats

-More water

Embrace The Process

This is a step by step process to build your optimal eating habits.

Your starting point will be the area that is the most challenging for you right now.  Take a look at the list above and highlight what you feel is your biggest roadblock.

Adding a little more protein could be as simple as adding some yoghurt as a snack, or an egg to breakfast.

Having an extra vegetable with dinner is an easy way to get some more vitamins and minerals.

Healthy fats are found in foods like avocado, olive oil and nuts. A small handful of nuts or a spoonful of avocado can be just the boost you need.

This is not about being slow it's about being systematic and addressing the things that are holding you back right now.

The awesome thing is, once they're eliminated you're progress accelerates quickly.