I have had enough of bad food in my life, and my goal is to change it. I think that eating healthy would help me feel better, become healthier and make me feel happier in general.
However, I don't know where to start. So far I have a very limited understanding of what constitutes a healthy diet, and obviously I want to know more. As a complete nerd, I also want to know a little bit of the biology behind good nutrition.
Can anyone recommend a good book or website that would help me get started?
I don't want to go super hardcore with this, and I still want to occasionally eat well-prepared meat. However, I do want to make informed choices about the food I eat.
Thanks everyone for the great suggestions. I've been trying to post this for a while now, but for some reason my posts could never be submitted.
I read about Paleo diet and I liked the idea, but it seemed at little too extreme at this point. I still have to get through a year in college dining hall, where I wouldn't find anything to eat.
Tynan's guidelines seemed reasonable and easy-to-follow, so I'll try to stick to those. Do you also eat diary products?
I still have to take a look at the other suggestions listed here.
Thankfully, there's tons of well written literature out there. I found In Defense of Food by Pollan to be an easy/good read.
The "Eats This, Not That" mentality (the book series, that is) is bad. Avoid food's that are products, instead eat produce.
Eating DVD and The Rave Diet and Lifestyle book:
(neither are affiliate links)
Watch the DVD first and you'll know if this is for you.
I was already vegan (a self-described deep-fried vegan) for years and didn't think I could or would be vegan for health reasons. I could do it out of compassion for animals, but for my own health, no. Then I was introduced to this book and DVD after reading this magazine article: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/10_46/b4203103862097.htm Few minutes into the DVD I knew I was a believer. It took me a while to wean myself off fried food and junk,it definitely was a process, but now I'm a green smoothie guzzling convert.
Oops.. that should have been "Neither is an affiliate link"
Hey Tynan, if you are reading, why not take a page from Amazon's reviews/comments and allow replies to be edited/deleted by the author?
To get started, stop eating any sweetener of any kind as well as all refined grains. Next eliminate oils besides olive oil, coconut oil, and butter. Then start eating only well raised meat. I haven't read the paleo books, but I've heard that they're good.
Before I get into that, I want to explain why I eat what I eat, so that people considering changes based on my opinion can make sure that my goals align with theirs. I choose what I eat for long term health and longevity. That's it. I love animals and think they should be treated kindly, but if factory farmed meat would make me healthier, I would eat it. Taste is important within the range of healthy foods, but if styrofoam packing peanuts were the secret to health, I'd be pounding them down. I don't eat to gain association with any group or subculture. Whether I'm considered vegan, vegetarian, paleo, carnivore, or anything else doesn't matter to me.
I'm not trying to be right yesterday, I'm trying to be right today. Sometimes that means admitting that I was wrong and making the best change I can. I base my identity around adapting quickly to the best information I can find, not clinging to the previous best information.
Also, I don't care how much money I spend on healthy food. If $5 buys me a meal that's somewhat healthy and $10 buys me a meal that is completely healthy, I will pay the $10. The act of eating is amongst the most intimate processes we undergo. The food we choose alters our bodies, minds, and futures. That makes it a top priority financially and otherwise. I once read an exchange where someone asked someone else why healthy food was so expensive. Because it's more valuable, he replied.
As much as we hate to admit it, health is a big deal in our lives. If not trying to craft a perfect beach body I think that most of us want to feel healthy. Instrumental to that is eating. Our food choices directly effect how we look and feel in a big way and, you may have guessed it, we can be helped in our food-ing by mindfulness.
The essence of mindfulness is paying attention. Many of us will likely agree that one of the places that we need to pay attention is our meal times. Food selections are one part of the equation and I imagine we all do a decent job at that. Even if we don't make "good" food choices on the regular I'm sure that most of us at least recognize that we don't eat healthy.
While mindful food selection is incredibly important, and worthy of a completely different blog post dedicated to it, I will be focusing on method rather than substance here. What does that mean? Well, rather than making healthy food choices lets work with the food that we already eat to try and pay attention to how we eat it. Here are a couple of things that have worked for me.
Eat Slowly Many of you have probably already heard this one, which is good because it is a great tip. We have pretty darn big servings in this country and eat far more than we should as a result. Combine that with the fact that it takes your stomach a while to realize that it is full and you're very likely to over eat. So, try and stretch your food out over the course of maybe half an hour. Take a couple bites, and put the food down for just a bit. If you have to watch the clock and wait a couple of minutes between bites then that works perfectly. I think odds are you will be surprised by how little food you have before you are actually satisfactorily full.
Only eat Essence of mindfulness right here, that is only doing one thing. When you eat, don't do anything else. Also, when you are doing something don't have food around. I used to have this terrible munching tendency where I would get bored and eat. It wasn't really even a conscious thing. I would be sitting there with some trail mix on my desk and I would just scarf it down. Now, trail mix isn't too bad for you but if you polish off a full eight serving bag of it that's when things get a little unhealthy. Just keep the food out of arms length and you won't idly eat it.