The Chinese have known for more than 5000 years that everyday food is medicine. (They had never heard of the Golden Arches!) Scientific research in our time has also confirmed that disease prevention and staying healthy depends, in large part, on good eating habits.
Individuals who wish to improve their diet, often ask how to go about doing so. The answer is quite simple: In the absence of a few basic, clear, and doable strategies, diet improvements cannot be realized. The following are some suggestions which help lead to success in this endeavor:
1) Eating in restaurants frequently is health-defeating. Make time to prepare nutritious meals: reprioritize daily activities by trimming overcommitted schedules and spending more time at home.
2) Drastically prune how much time you spent on T.V., cell phones, computers, and their electronic cousins. (Some people don’t realize that all of these devices include an ON/OFF button, wink, wink…) Once schedules are streamlined, they should be vigilantly guarded so that no new time-robbers are able to sneak back in. Anybody having difficulty implementing the two strategies outlined so far, should wear a plastic wrist bracelet that reads: “What would great grandma do?”
3) Practical and efficient kitchen strategies can make the difference between success and failure: Cook double batches of basic ingredients or dishes, such as whole grains (rice, bulgur, millet, or quinoa etc.), stews, soups, meat, or fish. This eliminates the need to cook an entire meal from scratch each day. Cooking lentils and some types of beans is quick and easy and can also be done in larger quantities and used for a variety of dishes. Wash vegetables and fruit for several days and refrigerate in sealed bags.
4) Food shopping habits have a greater effect on wellness than many realize. With a little thought and planning, the task can be accomplished with, (gasp!) only one trip per week, saving enormous amounts of time, energy, and money. How? Throughout the week accumulate a shopping list. Keep a piece of paper in the kitchen and if a particular food item is used up or is running low while you are cooking promptly add it to your shopping list.
5) Presented below is Ingredient List for Healthy Eating. It includes basic and inexpensive ingredients that should always be part of your kitchen inventory. They are available from any supermarket and are the building blocks of numerous healthful dishes and snacks. The list also helps you prevent letting unhealthy nutrition-poor “food” somehow somersault into your shopping basket… Print out the list (in large print), and tape it inside a kitchen cabinet door. Before grocery shopping check the Ingredient List for Healthy Eating, your pantry, and fridge and add to your shopping list of the week what’s necessary.
Friends, we simply must accept the fact that preparing nutritious meals and snacks is a necessity of life, and that not everything can be condensed into a pill or a click of a mouse. The food industry has convinced millions of us that replacing fresh whole foods with highly processed, mass-produced, fast food, junk food, precooked “convenience” food, or eating out is the way to go. We can see the consequences of such lifestyle choices all around us. Take charge of your health; empower yourself to exercise your right to choose health over disease! It’s never too late to start.
INGREDIENT LIST FOR HEALTHY EATING: (avoid buying canned or precooked frozen food).
Veggies and Fruit: apples, avocado, bell pepper (any color), butternut squash, cabbage, carrots, celery, cucumbers, garlic, ginger root, green beans, kiwi fruit, lemons, Romaine lettuce, olives, onions (all types), potatoes, sweet potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, zucchini, seasonal fruit, fresh herbs.
Dried and Ground Herbs and Spices: dried basil, dill weed, Italian seasoning, oregano, and tarragon. Ground cayenne, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, ginger, curry, nutmeg, salt, and pepper (brands greatly vary in prices).
Miscellaneous Ingredients: olive oil – cooking (pure) and extra virgin; wine vinegar, mustard, eggs, walnuts, sugar-free peanut butter, low-fat plain yogurt (add your own fresh fruit and/or nuts, if desired), Chickpeas (garbanzos), black eyed peas and lentils. Chicken, turkey, fresh or frozen catfish and/or tilapia fillets, rolled oats (oatmeal), and crumbled feta cheese.
“Mission Nutrition” Tips and Recipe from Judy E. Buss, Health Columnist, Nutritional Cooking Instructor.
Excerpted from Judy E. Buss’ article, first published in the “Feeling Fit” Magazine, Sun Coast Media Group newspapers, Florida.
Stay tuned for more Judy E. Buss’ “Mission Nutrition” words of wisdom and recipes.