There’s a saying that “If you don’t eat your food as medicine, you will have to eat medicine as your food.” This twist on the original quote from Hippocrates is particularly true today. In our fast food world, so much of what we eat is heavily processed and full of unhealthy additives. We’re either eating empty calories, or we’re eating food so heavily preserved, they’re not even fit for bacteria.
Yes, you need to grab something and go—there’s no time for fancy cooking—but these foods can be more destructive than helpful in the long run. With the rise in the rate of early onset of chronic diseases, it’s time to pay attention to what and how we eat.
Some simple tips for doing that:
– Eat regular meals
As much as possible, avoid long breaks between meals. Don’t starve all day and then eat one heavy meal at night. In addition, try not to skip breakfast. Starting your day with the right fuel reduces your risk of bingeing on junk through the day. Ideally, your breakfast should be the heaviest meal, followed by lunch, and then supper. With healthy snacks in between (about three hours after one meal and before the next), you’ll get all you need to keep you going through the day.
– Eat more whole foods
Choose whole foods over refined options. Cut down on white bread and refined cereals, and opt instead for fibre-rich choices such as bran and oats. Keep fruits and vegetables such as apples, carrots and cucumber handy to snack on in between meals. They sometimes taste sweeter than the processed sugars anyway.
– Buy in season
Unless you’re pregnant with cravings, you have no business looking for soursop in agbalumo season. As much as you can, plan your meals so that you eat foods that are in season. This way, you reduce the risk of eating excessively preserved or forcefully ripened food. Make out time for meal prep, to cut down on many convenience foods. You can learn how to save time in the kitchen.
– Avoid fad diets
Instead of going on periodic trendy diets, make healthy eating a lifestyle. Apart from obvious poisons or allergy triggers (or for religious or health reasons), try not to avoid any class of food. Even the most commonly demonised food classes – carbs and fats – have vital functions. Do your best instead to learn about the best ratios/portions per food class, and eat everything in moderation. Portion control is key.
– Know your body
In the end, we’re all unique beings and we tend to need different variations of the same things. Some people even respond differently to the same food based on the time of the month or the year! It’s important to pay attention to your peculiar health or idiosyncratic needs and/or allergies. See how you respond to different foods and make the necessary adjustments to your diet.
Knowing that your health is positively or negatively impacted by the quality and timing of your meals, we hope you feel motivated to take charge of your diet. Consciously eating your food as medicine will reduce your risk of needing too many pills too many times a day.