A Healthy and Balanced Lifestyle starts with the Food You Eat

At my meditation and yoga class the other day, I overheard some people discussing the difficulties of maintaining a healthy balanced lifestyle when life’s demands such as business travel, family life, and every day stresses can easily throw off a healthy daily routine. A healthy daily routine should be things that you regularly do on a daily basis in order to maintain good health.  When one’s body feels healthy, you feel good about yourself both physically and mentally.  While there is so much information out there on health, the following will provide a simple plan to incorporate some basic essentials in a daily routine in order to achieve a healthy lifestyle. And it all starts with what you put in your mouth.

Ever wonder why some people are able to maintain that youthful, healthy glow as they age?  While genetics can play a key factor in how you age, it is also all about what nutrients you are putting into your body in order to help it function at its optimum. What goes into your body comes through in the appearance of your skin, the clarity of your eyes and your overall spiritual well-being. If you feel you may be lagging in some of those areas, here’s a basic plan to get your body back on track to looking and feeling it’s very best.

First Things First

Wake up in the morning and have a glass of room temperature water with 1/2 a lemon squeezed into it. This is something I do every morning before getting ready for my day and I have noticed a huge difference in my health.  Research shows that disease thrives in an acidic environment and even though a lemon is acidic, when ingested it has an alkalizing effect on the body. Drinking lemon water regularly can help to remove overall acidity in the body, including uric acid in the joints, which is one of the primary causes of pain and inflammation.

Here just some of health benefits of drinking lemon water.

  1. Helps Liver Eliminate Toxins and Waste

This is very beneficial for skin care and weight loss – lemon water acts as an anti-aging remedy by improving the overall appearance of your skin. Your skin can’t look healthy if your body is holding onto toxins.  In additional, when the liver is full of toxins it can’t metabolize fats as efficiently so it also acts as an effective fat burner.

  1. Rich Source of Vitamins and Minerals: rich in vitamin C (anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, & helps immune system), vitamin B (energy production), riboflavin (tissue repair, growth, & development) and minerals like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium (these minerals all help build strong bones & teeth.

Once I have had my freshly squeezed glass of lemon water and I am dressed and ready for my day, it is time for a healthy breakfast.  Choosing between a high- protein breakfasts over a starchy one will provide better appetite control, weight loss and increased energy. With this in mind, I suggest all meals and choice of snacks to be comprised of the following 3 parts.

Protein (such as no fat Greek yogurt, organic non GMO tofu or tempeh, cottage cheese, protein shake) Not enough protein in our diet, can attribute to symptoms of mood disorders, memory loss, increased appetite and cravings, decreased metabolism, sleep disruption, muscle loss, and weight gain. Women should try to get at least 30 grams of protein for each meal and men 40 grams.

Low glycemic carbohydrates (such as brown rice, lentils, most vegetables such as sweet potato and non citrus fruits) Low glycemic carbohydrates are beneficial since they are recommended for sustained energy levels (slower absorption, lowered insulin response). Being that low GI foods are assimilated at a slower rate, they supply a steadier supply of energy, alleviate hunger, leading to a more controlled appetite and reduced sugar cravings. 30 grams at each meal.

Image courtesy: liveleantv.com

Healthy fats (such as an avocado, a handful of almonds or olive oil).  Healthy fats provide a wide array of health benefits, up to and including more efficient fat loss. We need adequate fat to support metabolism, the health of various body tissues, immunity, hormone production, and the absorption of many nutrients (such as vitamins A and D). They help reduce inflammation in the body, improve brain and eye function, which keep us satisfied. They also taste great. 10 to 15 grams at each meal.

This combination will help keep your blood sugar and insulin levels stable, avoiding that mid afternoon slump with a sugar craving as well as provide slow releasing energy to your body right up until it is time for that next meal. So as a health-conscious person, you should be looking for healthy options for meals and snacks.

Here are some meal suggestions just to get you started:

Breakfast: Protein smoothie- 1 1/2 scoops of whey protein isolate or a vegan protein source if you prefer not to eat dairy. 1/2 cup frozen berries, or a 1/2 a banana, 1 tablespoon coconut oil, 2 tablespoons of ground flax and chia seeds and a handful of greens such as spinach all mixed with unsweetened almond milk or water.

See one of my favorite smoothie recipe here.

Lunch: a bowl of steamed greens, cherry tomatoes, black rice, goat cheese, smoked tofu, olive oil, vegetarian soup

Dinner: Tofu vegetable curry and salad.

Meals which are comprised mostly of high protein, followed by low glycemic carbs and a small amount of a healthy fat will sustain your energy level throughout the day as well as keep the pounds off. Something everyone can be happy about.

And finally, along with our food choices, choosing what to drink is just as important.

Choose water over everything else!  Our bodies lose water by sweating, breathing and getting rid of waste. If you lose more fluid than you take in, you get dehydrated. Young children and seniors are at higher risk of becoming dehydrated. They need to drink fluids throughout the day.

Water is a healthy, calorie-free way of staying hydrated. It helps your body work in a number of ways:

  1. Maintains your body temperature.
  2. Helps to break down food so that your body can absorb the nutrients.
  3. Aids in getting rid of waste to keep your bowels regular.
  4. Acts as a cushion by lubricating cells, muscles, and joints.

Image courtesy: liveleantv.com

A general guideline in drinking water is 1L for every 50 lbs you weigh. A person who weighs 150 lbs should try to drink 3L a day. Keep in mind however, that the foods we eat, weather, exercise, sweating, altitude, and a slew of other factors can affect how much water we need.

So instead of turning to that carb heavy meal which will only create fatigue and weight gain. I suggest trying the protein heavy meal and seeing how you feel. I challenge you to try this for a few weeks just to see the difference in how much energy you have throughout your day.  And don’t forget to stay hydrated with lots of pure refreshing water.