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FEATURES Dec 31 2012 2:09AM

3 Healthy Eating Tips For The New Year

by Fran, HeyFranHey.com
New Year Resolutions: How many of them have you made and how many of them have you actually followed through with?  I think our problem is how many of them we create at a time. While I’m a believer in dreaming big and reaching for the seemingly unattainable, it’s also important to set smaller goals for the sake of your self-esteem and sanity! January is the month where the gym is at its most hectic because everyone is trying to “eat better” and “exercise more”. But why is it these goals seem to fade off into the distance by March? When I transitioned into a healthier lifestyle of clean eating and consistent physical activity, I made sure to ease into it gradually. Moderation may not work for all but it’s a great way to jumpstart your mind and body. Other posts I’ve written have given tips on what to incorporate into your daily diet, like green juices and smoothies and less commonly consumed yet powerful whole grains like Quinoa. This post will focus on what to consume less of in your daily diet. It’s not to make you feel paranoid but to ensure you’re fully aware of the debates surrounding our food industry and healthier dietary options. Here are 3 Healthy Eating tips to take into the New Year!
Refined Sugar
Sugar Cane and Sugar Beets are the two plants our sugar is mainly extracted from. The “refining” process (in order to be mass produced and later packaged) these plants go through removes all of the raw nutrients, vitamins and minerals in order to extend the shelf life in stores. This is why refined sugar is commonly referred to as an “empty calorie”, when consumed, because it has zero nutritional value. However, in order to be properly digested by your body, it absorbs and drains the nutrients already in your system. This is why it is often referred to as a “poison” for the system and why removing it from daily consumption is highly suggested by nutritionists. What are ways to avoid refined sugars? Check your labels and begin to remove food items high in “Sucrose” and “High Fructose Corn Syrup”. Try drinking less soda, less artificially flavored juices, and eating less sugary sweets like cookies and donuts. Challenge your body with a “Sugar Free” week so you can see how much more energy you have! The difference, alone, may convince you. Or try using small amounts of unrefined sugars like raw honey, coconut sugar or agave, instead.
Processed Foods
Processed Foods, like Refined Sugar, are foods that have been altered from their natural state. This process of “refinement” is done for convenience (longer shelf life/cutting mass production costs). The vitamins and minerals have been stripped, resulting in weight gain, insomnia, fatigue, diabetes and endless physical and mental ailments that come along with our cells being depleted of much needed nutrients, on a daily basis. What are ways to avoid processed foods? Chances are, if there’s a barcode, you don’t want it! Try avoiding canned foods that are high in trans fat and sodium, breads and pastas made with white flour, packaged and boxed snacks high in refined sugar, frozen dinners, sugary boxed cereals and processed deli meats. Before you say, “well what else is there to eat?” think of all of the fresh foods you can eat that don’t need to be processed, like fresh fruit, whole grains, local and organic meat/chicken, sweet yams, crisp greens, etc. The closer to its natural state, the healthier and more natural your body will feel after consuming it.
Saturated Fats, Trans Fats & Cholesterol
Speaking of avoiding processed foods that are high in Trans fats, it’s also important to understand the various “fats” on the ingredient label and how they affect your health. Not all fat is bad fat. Eating healthy fats like fish, avocado, coconut oil and nuts/seeds can actually be helpful for your body. These healthy fats, often referred to as monounsaturated and unsaturated fats, help your body maintain energy throughout the day, supple and clear skin as well as a healthy metabolism. The fats on the label we need to avoid are Saturated and Trans Fats, known for increasing bad cholesterol levels and causing heart related complications. These are often used to extend the shelf life and flavor of sweet and fried foods. Anytime you see “hydrogenated oil” or “partially hydrogenated oil”, understand that these are the unhealthy and harmful fats you should be avoiding.


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