And no not literal pearls. More like bits of best of advice. The “Greatest Hits” collection of you will!
So this post was actually supposed to come out on National Registered Dietitian Day, but for several reasons I didn’t publish on that day. One reason was I felt I had a better – so please feel free to see that post from March 9. Another reason, is that one of my best friends posted something on her facebook that literally had like 6 of the same things I already had laid out in this post.
I told her this, and she said it is because we are just such awesome dietitians. So let it be known: Annie Dawson and I are awesome dietitians.
These are my “pearls” of a healthy lifestyle- these are, if I could pick just 10 things to tell you these are it:
- Understand what added sugar is, where it comes from, and limit it! This I recognize is partly a systemic problem with how are foods are labeled and presence of certain food claims. But there are way to identify added sugar, such as reading your ingredients list. Added sugars are added in the processing of that food- things like milk and fruit naturally contain sugar.
- Don’t be afraid of fat. I see this so much, I see these super high carb diets, with moderate protein, and low fat, and people are so hungry in between meals. There’s a lot of speculation and some evidence indicating that the low fat diets that started to really trend in the 90’s have been incredibly damaging to the health of this country, as well as how the people in this country perceive certain foods- I.e. Eggs, butter, and other fats
- Move your body, and know that exercise is subjective – what you enjoy isn’t what someone else enjoys
- Have a positive relationship with food. And with any relationship, you have to put your effort in! Don’t focus on “bad”, focus on what you need (see below). But challenge yourself with this relationship, buy and use a cookbook, cut things up ahead of time, prep some of your meal components
- Understand what an ADEQUATE diet is for YOU, our preferences are also subjective, focus on making sure what you eat daily is nourishing and your including foods you NEED, then include the foods you want. . It’s totally cool if they overlap. This is different for everyone as it is based on health related goals, activity level, with current height and weight also figured in. Blending adequacy and enjoyment I believe are two of the most important factors when creating or discussing a meal plan.
- Don’t drink your calories, and better yet – understand which beverages contain calories. Pop, juices, sweet coffee drinks. Is this a free pass to drink unlimited diet products? NOPE! This counts for “juicing” too. Eat some real food!
- Get at least 5 cups of non-starchy vegetables, and at least 2 cups of fruit. Feel free to exceed expectations here, especially with the veggies! And five cups is NOT that hard. That legitimately can equate to 1-2 cups of leafy greens at both meals as a side, some carrots as a snack, some peppers as part of breakfast maybe, veggie toppings on your salad, and a veggie side at lunch and dinner. See what I did there?
- Understand that meal replacements, will never actually REPLACE a meal.I do personally use protein supplements. The emphasis I’d like to place here is on “supplement” as in it’s working with something else. A powder will never replace eating real food. But I do agree that it can be a helpful supplement. Also remember – protein powders – ARE SUPPLEMENTS!!! (Even the blessed Shakeology) therefore there claims are not evaluated by the FDA for accuracy.
- Evidence is more important than what is trendy. I’ve been clear on my stance of support to RDs. I truly don’t have a problem with those who become passionate about nutrtion from personal experiences and journeys. But your personal experience does not equate to sound clinical evidence. I don’t mean to sound harsh, but it’s the truth. I’m also acutely aware that evidence evolves, so it is so important to stay on top of what is happening from an RD standpoint.
- Invest time with your food. It’s ok to invest a little $$ too if that’s your prerogative. Make your shopping for groceries a fun experience. Pick recipes you want to make for the week. Decide what you want to cut up/prepare in advance. I am aware that not everyone “loves” going grocery shopping, (grocery shopping is my favorite) that’s cool! But pick one positive about it. Pick out a new veggie or fruit to try (and a recipe for it if need be).
I feel like I could keep going here. But when I read, and then re-read through this list, I feel like it hits all of the most major points, and bits of information I want clients to know. Yes I could add, and I could probably go on forever – but I won’t (good thing I have a blog!!!)