The following seven dietary sins are common and frequent detours en route to experiencing a more vibrant life. Take a quick inventory of your own daily dietary habits and select one smart solution per week to build a better body while ramping up your vitality. Better yet, pass this article on to someone you care about and enroll them in the journey using the “buddy system” for encouragement and accountability.
Seven Diet Sins
1.White death mornings — Starting your day with excess refined white sugar and white-flour foods might make you feel sluggish and not able to perform at your fullest potential. Beware of the bright packaging, empty calories and familiar cartoon characters. Blood sugar levels peak, then drop, and what true nourishment have you really gained? Fight the white and feel energized.
Smart solution — Come back to oatmeal! Oatmeal has “staying power” with its high molecular weight and water-soluble fiber. A warm bowl with a few walnuts, along with fresh fruit, might be the answer. I also encourage my patients to try Greek yogurt with fresh fruit, or eggs with vegetables a few times a week. Topped with naturally low-calorie salsa, eggs are one of God’s perfect foods.
2. Over-sweet snacks — My rule of thumb is “farm to fork, earth to table” when it comes to recognizing real food over highly processed choices. Are the snacks you choose often just sugary candy bars disguised with a little extra protein?
Smart solution — Next time you are in a grocery store, take in the selection of perfectly packaged, brilliantly colored fruit! The shapes, the sizes, the textures, the tastes. All straight from the orchards, zero processing and chock-full of nutrients, fiber and water for lasting, low-calorie fullness. A blessed bounty for your body.
3. Lunch through a window — On an average, my patients visit fast-food restaurants four to five times a week. One of my patients confessed he eats all three meals most every day “through a window.” This very expensive deadly sin, over a period of time, will add unwelcome weight and may contribute to disease. High fat, sugar and salt are what you crave and the fast-food giants have the recipe to keep you coming back.
Smart solution — Plan ahead and brown bag it twice a week! Better yet, visit a discount retailer and choose from a variety of great lunch containers that come with cold packs. Make a healthy sandwich, add fruit and Sun Chips or buy a delicious ready-made, high-protein salad at your local grocery store.
4. Eternal Food Breaks — Don’t go hours and hours without nourishing your body during the day, while consuming the majority of your calories late at night! If you are too busy to eat every three to four hours, you are too busy.
Smart solution — Don’t be a victim of putting yourself last on the health totem pole. Pack a healthy lunch and set a timer to remind yourself to eat one nutritious food item every three or four hours. You will feel better and not over-indulge at the end of the day.
5. Liquid calories — Don’t drink your calories!This is one of the toughest habits to break. So many of us are like hummingbirds when it comes to sweet beverages, going from one sweet sensation to the next. Cut the hand-to-mouth sugary habit addiction.
Smart solution — Brew various flavors of boxed teas, allow to cool, then refrigerate. Serve as a chilled, non-caloric delicious drink.
6. Sodium sponges — Most Americans are getting well over the new dietary guideline which reduces the recommended intake to 1,500 milligrams per day. In fact, the total can be four to seven times that amount when consuming excessive processed and fast foods. High sodium diets may contribute to high blood pressure, America’s silent killer.
Smart solution — One of my favorite, healthy diets is The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). I’ve seen my patients lose weight and keep it off. Enjoying whole grains, fruits and vegetables in their most natural, unprocessed state is the strategy.
7. Screen eating — Distracted eating while watching a TV or a computer can result in over-consuming calories by 30 percent!
Smart solution — Make eating a treasured ritual! Sit, taste and minimize distractions around you. This is your time. Mindful eating results in an increase in satiety and allows your brain and body to process better. You will feel more satisfied and energized.
From dietary sins to “small-step” victories, the choice is yours and the rewards many. Please feel free to drop me an email and share any creative solutions you’ve found. I’ll be waiting. (firstname.lastname@example.org).
— by Kimberly Ruby
Ruby is a certified nutritionist at University Compounding Pharmacy, has been in the wellness industry for more than 20 years. She has been facilitating one of the longest-running weight management support groups in the nation, meeting weekly in the North County for 10 years. Her health segments have appeared on several local news channels.