Nov 08, 2016
TRAIN FROM THE INSIDE OUT
Three Fundamental Nutrition Habits That Will Change Your Life
What you put in your body is as important as how you move it. While there are seemingly a million and one diet plans touting the “right” way to eat, below are three nutrition fundamentals that are a universal recipe for good health.
Pura Vida’s nutrition department offers food allergy and body composition testing, meal planning, support, and supplementation programs to help you on your way. Or visit our class schedule or monthly events for upcoming challenges, cooking classes, and focused workshops.
Lose the Sweet Tooth
When it comes to healthy eating, many of us think about cutting calories, cholesterol or fat from our diets, but sugar reduction may be your best bet for optimal health. And while it’s easy to identify obvious choices like cakes, candy and soda, much of your sugar is actually lurking in less-predictable food choices like ketchup, cereals and salad dressing.
Even if you don’t consider yourself a sweet tooth, you are consuming more sugar than you think, and when you reduce it:
- Your heart will be happier
- Your skin will clear up
- You will reduce your risk of diabetes
- You will sleep better
- You will be less irritable (after you get over your initial sugar detox of course – that would make anyone cranky!)
- You will have less brain fog
- You will drop some lbs
To reduce your sugar intake, try some of these tips:
- Eat real food. If you fill yourself up with protein + carb + vegetables at lunch instead of something you nuke in the microwave or (gasp!) get from the vending machine, you are less likely to crash at 3 pm with a need for cookies from the breakroom.
- Reduce caffeine and alcohol. We said reduce, not abstain! Coffee and booze dehydrate the body and can lead to mineral deficiencies with cause sugar cravings.
- Increase your mineral magnesium intake. On that note, dark leafy greens, raw cacao, nuts and seeds, brown rice, quinoa and avocado are high in magnesium and can stave off your need for a fix.
- Don’t replace sugar with sugar substitutes. The name of the game is to reduce your cravings, and by replacing sugar with sugar-like additives, you are still signaling to your body that it wants sugar.
- Mix and Match. No one said this will be easy, but there are ways you can get your fix without downing an entire package of Little Debbies. Dip a banana in chocolate or combine almonds with chocolate chips. You will still fulfill your fix but you won’t have the same guilt!
Water Does a Body Good
Despite your sardonic claims that “water is just a fad,” and you’re not jumping onboard just yet, you know that water is crucial to your health and should be a priority. A few things to think about.
- Dehydration makes you cranky and less focused.
- Studies show that staying hydrated can reduce risk of colon cancer by 45%, bladder cancer by 50% and possibly reduce breast cancer risk as well.
- Staying hydrated can also help with weight loss. Numerous studies have found a connection between water consumption and losing a few pounds because water makes you feel full.
- Drinking water can reduce pain in your joints by keeping the cartilage soft and hydrated.
- Water also helps prevent headaches, make your skin glow and overall help your body feel all juicy.
So yeah, yeah, yeah – more water is good, but how can you achieve mind over water to make sure you get enough?
- Upon awaking, drink a glass of water with lemon. Get your organs going, utilize lemon’s digestion and cleansing properties and start the day with one glass down.
- Get a new, snazzy water bottle to keep at your desk. Treat yourself to a new fluid companion as a reminder that the healthy you drink a lot of water.
- Give it some zing! Add sliced cucumbers, ginger, limes, lemons, or fresh strawberries by keeping them in a Tupperware at work or freezing them as ice cubes.
- Cut back on the caffeine. Drinks like coffee and soda have a diuretic effect and cause the body to eliminate more water than they bring in.
- Eat water-rich foods. Watermelon, celery, tomatoes, zucchinis, eggplant and oranges contain 85-97 percent water.
The amount of water you need is up for debate, but a simple formula is half your weight. And the more you start drinking, the more you will crave, which creates a healthy cycle of doing your body good.
Whole Foods – Not Just the Market Next Door
“Whole Foods” has become an innocuous term like “market” or “gas station,” but in fact, whole foods is an intentional way of eating, not just the place that you hit next door after your workout!
A whole food is food that looks as it did when it was growing in nature that has been processed or refined as little as possible, and is free from additives or other artificial substances. Our body likes whole foods because it doesn’t have to work as hard to digest them.
Today, so much of our food has been processed with chemicals and preservatives to concentrate flavors, extend shelf life and add convenience. As a double-whammy, many of the food’s nutrients, water and fiber are removed.
Examples of whole foods include:
- Fresh or frozen vegetables with no additives
- 100% whole wheat flour
- 100% whole-wheat or whole-grain bread
- 100% whole-wheat pasta
- 100% whole-wheat pitas or tortillas (the sprouted variety is also wonderful)
- Brown rice
- Buckwheat – hot cereal or flour
- Quinoa (technically a seed, but treated as a grain)
- Steel cut oatmeal
- Whole-grain breakfast cereal like millet or Whole Grain Buckwheat Cereal
- Wild rice
- Canned beans with no added sugar and little to no added sodium
- Canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
- Light coconut milk
- Marinara, no sugar added, low sodium
- Sun-dried tomatoes
- Tomato sauce /paste, no sugar added and little to no added sodium
- Tuna packed in water
- Unsweetened fruit
- Vegetable or chicken stock/broth, no sugar or dextrose added, and little to no added sodium
- Almonds, pistachios and walnuts
- Dried cranberries, fruit juice sweetened
- Raisins and other dried fruits such as apricots with no added sugar
- Legumes such as split peas, lentils and beans of all types (dried or canned)
- Eggs and unprocessed meat (buy organic when you can)
- Balsamic vinegar
- Herbs and spices of all varieties (not the spice mixes like taco seasoning, just the pure herbs.)
- Mustard with no added sugar
- Naturally sweetened ketchup
- Non-fat Greek yogurt in place of sour cream or mayo
- Safflower oil, grape seed oil, walnut oil and extra virgin olive oil
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
Note that acidic products like tomatoes or pineapple are better purchased in glass jars whenever possible.