Chances are pretty good that if you didn’t make a New Year’s resolution to eat healthier or lose weight, you know someone who did. Making wiser food choices is a wonderfully important choice to make, but it can also be really overwhelming to start.
Why is that? Think of all of the conflicting information from various experts who all claim to have had perfect results from their specific plan. Then there are the paid memberships, expensive products and supplements, and detailed lists of what to eat and not eat. Is it any wonder that so many start to feel in over their heads when it comes to putting their New Year’s resolutions into practice, and eventually give up?
However, I’m convinced that healthy eating doesn’t have to be complicated and full of restrictions, and I hope you’ll join me on a new series to find a common-sense approach to nutritional eating.
Before I share the dietary style our family adheres to, I thought it would first be helpful to get to know some of today’s popular or trendy eating styles. There are some that I think can work well and keep us healthy, and there are some that I personally wouldn’t recommend to anyone. Of course I couldn’t possibly cover every single one, and I’m not an expert on any of them. But I hope to give you a better understanding of the many options out there so that you can sort though what all of your friends are pinning on their Health & Fitness boards on Pinterest.
What diets am I planning to cover? So far, my list includes Weight Watchers, USDA pyramid, paleo/primal, low-carb/New Atkins, vegetarian/vegan, gluten-free, raw, and GAPS. My list might change a bit as I work through the series, and I hope that if you are curious about a certain diet, you’ll be sure to comment and let me know!
While some of the mentioned diets are polar opposites of one another, there is one thing that each and every one can agree upon: the SAD is bad.
Now, the question of course becomes “What is the SAD?” And that, dear readers, is the Standard American Diet.
The SAD diet is characterised by a large amount of hydrogenated fats, refined sugars, processed and empty carbohydrates, processed meats, and few fruits and vegetables. Chances are, if it came from a box, can, or drive-thru window, it would be included in the Standard American Diet.
Why is the SAD bad? This diet, which relies so heavily on food products that have been heavily processed and are lacking in real nutrition, can contribute to many common conditions and diseases. Cancer, diabetes, heart disease, tooth decay, and conditions stemming from obesity might all find a root in the Standard American Diet. We do our bodies a great service by avoiding this eating pattern.
Taking steps to curb a reliance on processed food and increase the amount of fruits and veggies on the plate is a fantastic start for anyone wanting to make healthier eating choices, regardless of the dietary guidelines you choose to follow. How can you tell if something in your kitchen would be part of the SAD? Try reading the label as a place to start, and look for these terms:
- Hydrogenated oils (regardless of the specific type)
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Nitrates, nitrites, erythorbates
- Monosodium glutamate (MSG, also listed under many other names)
- Artificial colors and flavorings
- Words that you can’t pronounce
When we cut out these harmful ingredients and choose less processed foods, our bodies are healthier. When our bodies are healthy, we can serve our families, friends, and most importantly, the Lord more effectively. We reduce our risk for chronic and fatal illnesses and help to prepare a brighter future for ourselves. We do our part to care for the temple that God has given us on this earth and we teach our children how to be faithful stewards of theirs, as well. It doesn’t mean that we eat perfectly and organic all of the time, only that we do the best we can to take care of what God has given us.
Have you made any healthy resolutions for the New Year? Are you confused by the many options out there?
DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical professional. These posts are not to be considered medical advice, but my personal thoughts regarding nutrition. See your doctor for specific medical questions and advice.