Eating healthy is important for everyone – and I bet: you know that already…
Plus: one of the most important keys to eating a better diet is eating more fruits and vegetables. I bet again: you knew that too. But:
Many people are unsure how to use vegetables more effectively as part of their diet, but it may be easier than you think to provide yourself and your family with healthy, nutritious meals at a great prices!
One way to create wonderful meals that are healthier than ever is to take a stroll through the produce section of your local grocery store.
Most major grocery store chains have huge produce sections, containing a wonderful variety of fruits and vegetables from all corners of the world.
Trying a variety of different fruits and vegetables is a great way to keep your meals interesting and exciting in addition to nutritious. It is all too easy to become bored when trying to follow a healthy diet, and boredom can lead people to abandon their healthy habits.
Avoiding diet burnout is important to the long term survival of even the most sensible eating plan.
So if you’ve never had vegetables like collard greens, asparagus or kale before, why not give them a try. Not only can trying new things allow you to make great new discoveries, but it can increase your level of fitness as well. Leafy green vegetables like spinach, broccoli and kale are rich sources of many important vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients.
Another great way to increase the variety of vegetables you enjoy is to combine fresh, frozen and canned vegetables. While fresh vegetables are generally better and healthier, frozen and canned vegetables can be great alternatives for when the fresh varieties are out of season.
One of the best things about fresh fruits and vegetables is the great variety of flavors, colors and textures available. Eating a variety of different colored vegetables and fruits does much more than provide much needed variety. It also provides a great variety of nutrients.
For instance, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables tend to be very high in beta carotene, while green leafy vegetables are often great sources of calcium and other important nutrients. So why not spice up your plain old green salad with a splash of color in the form of yellow peppers or orange carrot slices?
Many people wrongly think that they can make up for a crappy diet by using vitamin and mineral supplements. This mistaken belief is apparently very widespread, since sales of these supplements continue to break records.
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When considering vitamin and mineral supplements, however, it is important to remember that foods contain many different minerals, trace elements and other micronutrients.
That means that for every nutrient that has been discovered and synthesized, there may be ten, twenty or more of these micronutrients that have yet to be fully understood. That is why no vitamin supplement, no matter how complete, can truly replace a healthy, balanced diet.
In addition, vitamin and mineral supplements are quite a bit more expensive than a good selection of vegetables and fruits, and not nearly as tasty.
When changing your diet and eating for a healthier lifestyle, it is important to educate yourself about eating right, and go choose the right fruits and vegetables for your tastes. After all, the best diet is the one you can follow for the rest of your life.
One of the best ways to start eating a healthy diet is to choose the freshest fruits and vegetables. Not only do fresh fruits and vegetables taste better, but they are less expensive and more nutritious as well. Choosing a variety of in season fruits and vegetables every week is a great way to enjoy healthy and varied meals.
Of course your favorite fruits and vegetables will not always be in season, so it will sometimes be necessary to supplement those fresh fruits and vegetables with canned and frozen varieties. When choosing canned fruits, try to avoid those packed in syrup; choose canned fruits packed in fruit juice or water instead. They will be healthier and contain less sugar.
Adding fresh fruit, such as apple slices, mandarin oranges, nectarines and the like is a great way to make plain salads more interesting and more delicious. Combining fruits and vegetables is a great way to enhance your nutrition as well.
Our society is set up to regard meat eating as the ‘norm’. Those people who choose a vegetarian diet are often thought of as difficut, ‘trying to be different’ or just odd. A common nutritional fallacy is that meat and animal products must be consumed in order to maintain a well-balanced, healthy diet.
Many people these days are finding out the many health benefits of a vegetarian diet. Additionally, many physicians and nutritionalists are prescribing and endorsing plant-based meals in order to promote health, prevent and treat certain diseases, and even to reduce weight. There are many products now becoming available in shops and supermarkets that contain health enhancing plant extracts.These are mixed in yoghurts,spreads and cheeses, to specifically lower cholesterol levels, reduce blood pressure, enhance energy levels and boost immune systems. Who knows what other benefits are just around the corner in plant extracts.
Although vegetarianism may seem like a modern idea, in reality, its health benefits have been known for many years in cultures around the world. India and the far east make up the largest percentage of the world’s vegetarians, both for health and spiritual reasons. One group of people, the Hunza, who live near the Himalaya’s have a diet which is exclusively vegetarian. Members of their community reportedly often live to be over 100 years of age.
The American Dietetic Association say that the benefits of a vegetarian diet can include;
Lower cholesterol levels
Lower levels of saturated fats
Lower body fat
Reduced rates of heart disease
Lower blood pressure
Lower incidence of type-2 diabetes
Lower instances of certain cancers
Higher levels of important minerals and antioxidant vitamins
Obesity is one of the major health concerns in the western world. It can be addressed with a vegetarian diet, one that eliminates excess protein and animal fat consumption, and increases fiber in the form of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Those who consume a vegetarian diet tend to maintain a lower body mass index (BMI), which significantly aids in the treatment and management of other chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. A lower BMI is an aim of anyone looking to improve their general health, whether by diet, exercise, or preferably both.
One question often asked by those considering a vegetarian diet is; “Will I get enough protein? This is certainly a valid question, as protein is necessary for the building, maintenance and function of all body cells. In fact, a varied and well-balanced vegetarian diet actually provides all the protein the body needs, obtained by eating such things as whole grains, beans, nuts and soy products.
In fact, meat-based diets typically provide an excess of protein, which may actually be harmful. High protein levels can put more strain on the kidneys. A leading gerontological journal reports that too much protein can cause a person to lose about 30% of their kidney function by the time they reach old age. It can also cause systemic acidity, which the body attempts to counter by leeching calcium out of the bones, which can lead to osteoporosis.
Becoming a vegetarian does not mean you are limited to eating carrots, fruit and nuts. There are many types of vegetarians that eat meatless diets in a variety of combinations. Some of the more common types include;
Lacto vegetarians, who do not eat meat or eggs, but do eat dairy products such as milk and cheese.
Lacto-ovo vegetarians do not eat meat, but will eat dairy products and eggs.
Ovo vegetarians do not eat meat or dairy products, but will eat eggs.
Vegans do not eat meat, dairy products, eggs, or any animal products at all.
There are many medical and health organizations that promote, endorse, and support people on a path toward changing their dietary lifestyle to one that includes more plant-based foods. There is a lot of information on the internet, as well as through medical providers and vegetarian organizations. Numerous books and articles are easily found.
Many restaurants, grocery stores and supermarkets now provide meals and products to vegetarians, making it simpler to choose this healthy lifestyle.
Remember that at the end of the day it is your decision. If you want to simply keep eating a little meat, while exploring deeper into the vegetarian side, then do that. Don’t worry about the ‘purists’. There is no law to say you cannot eat a little meat, fish or chicken along the way – it’s your life and your choice. Once you start eating more vegetarian food though, many people find they start to lose their taste for meat. The main thing is to enjoy the food and feel healthier by doing so.
On a final note, consider using either all organic vegetables and fruit, or at least as much as you can source. Organic produce really makes a great deal of difference to the taste and texture, and you have the security of mind that what you are eating is free of pesticides and other chemicals. More information on this will be found in the next article, or on our web site.
With a large number of people being swept up into the ideas of a greener lifestyle it is no wonder that many people are turning Vegan as well. For the vast majority of people a Vegan lifestyle is aligned to going back to the old ways, which is also considered much healthier. If you are still not sure whether the idea of a Vegan lifestyle is perfect for you there are several things that you should thoroughly consider first. If you are just rushing out to get a healthy lifestyle without considering all of the benefits of eating Vegan you could be in for a rather alarming surprise.
Many people discover Vegan eating through their quest to eat healthier. By doing this it is possible to find a healthier lifestyle and ensure that you are getting the biggest benefits for not only yourself but also the environment. Many environmental groups claim that Vegan is the ultimate way to go green with your eating habits. In many ways, they are very correct and because of this, many people are turning to a Vegan lifestyle like never before. While many people might only claim to life a truly green lifestyle those who are eating Vegan as well are really living the lifestyle instead of just talking it.
Other benefits to eating Vegan is the decrease in blood sugar levels. This is something that is extremely beneficial for diabetics because it can substantially lower the need to use insulin and other medications to control blood sugar levels. However, if you are being treated by a doctor for any reason you should talk to your doctor before changing your diet significantly to ensure that you are getting all of the nutrients and benefits that you really need. Making changes without talking to your doctor could have devastating consequences and will only take a few minutes of your time to ensure that you stay as healthy as possible.
People who avoid eating meat are also often able to lose weight much faster. Many of the reasons for this is due to the increase in carbohydrates in vegetables as well as the decrease in calories and fats. Plus many of the fruits and vegetables that are common in a Vegan diet also assist in weight loss due to their negative calorie effect. While this is not a huge benefit for all people, it is something that can be a massive help if you are trying to lose weight. Of course, working to eat only fresh fruits and vegetables as opposed to highly processes foods will help to really maximize the negative calorie impact.
A Vegan diet also has a huge perk of providing a substantially lower fat content to your diet as well. Consuming excessive amounts of dairy products as well as meats tends to be closely accompanied by fat; by omitting substantial amounts of fat from your diet, you can make some substantial differences to not only our physical health, but also make great improvements to lower your weight. This can provide you with ample reasons to lower your intake of meat if you have been struggling to actually manage your weight.
A final benefit is that you are consuming far more carbohydrates on a Vegan diet. This has been considered good because it provides a great source of energy all during the day. Foods such as meats tend to be extremely low on carbohydrates, while being much higher on protein. While protein is an essential part of your diet it can take much longer to digest, which will allow you to pack on weight faster and have lower energy levels. If you are instead looking to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables that you consume you will find that your energy level will go up significantly. However, you should still ensure that you are consuming ample protein to fully protect your system and receive all of the nutrition that you need.
When you are learning the ropes of your new lifestyle of being a vegetarian, every aspect of life will be affected. From work to home life to eating out, you have to have a strategy for how to maintain your vegetarian discipline and still enjoy these different situations of life that are important to you. One of the situations we all find ourselves in, albeit perhaps infrequently, is when you are a house guest of a friend or relative. In that situation, you are going to find yourself under the hospitality perhaps of a person who is not a vegetarian. So you have to find a way to keep your diet healthy and proper and still be a good house guest.
While your desire to live a life free of the eating of meat and perhaps a meat byproducts like eggs and milk is not a eating disability, it is an eating limitation. If you had a food allergy, perhaps to shell fish and you were going to stay as a house guest with someone, you would not feel any guilt letting them know your problem. If you can put your vegetarian lifestyle in that context and prepare for your visit accordingly, there doesn’t have to be any “stigma” or guilt or problems bringing up your dietary needs with your host.
Your host, after all, naturally wants you to enjoy your stay in their home. Anyone who is hosting has a natural instinct to make your stay comfortable and perfect. You can capitalize on that instinct and be polite about the desire your host has to make your stay go well but working with your host to let him or her know about your vegetarian diet and how it might impact food planning.
When you get the invitation to come for a stay, that is the time to discuss what you can and cannot eat in your vegetarian discipline. If you just avoid meat and not dairy and meat byproducts, it is very likely your host or hostess can prepare their regular meals but also put together a small main dish that fits your diet needs. And you can enjoy the vegetable side dishes all you want so by working with your hosts, you can easily integrate how you eat into their meal planning and not disrupt the visit.
But also be aware that there are items that your host may not supply that you may wish to bring with you or go get after your arrival. If you need soy milk because cows milk is not part of your diet regimen, by all means bring that in so your hosts are aware you are taking care of your own needs. Just let them know what you are providing for yourself and if the communication goes well, you can be accommodated and your hosts will be grateful that you did not see it as their job to provide for every aspect of your vegetarian program.
The other side of being a good house guest and not letting your vegetarian way of life be a problem is to be both open about your discipline and not judgmental or “preachy” to others about the fact that they have not made the same diet decisions you have made. In fact, you might even offer to prepare an entirely vegetarian meal for the host family and your own one night just to demonstrate to them just how delightful and tasty meat free eating can be. You may be surprised just how interested and fascinated your friends and family are about your diet and why you are a vegetarian. And by being friendly, open, loving and easy to talk to, you make the visit more interesting, fun and warm and you may even be able to educate your hosts and maybe your own family about why your vegetarian way of life is a good one.
Deciding to pick up a new diet can be considered a pain and a major hassle. On the other hand, choosing to pick up an entirely new lifestyle and change your entire eating habits is a completely different story. It can be a very fun and exciting time in your life, but it is also a time in your life that will require a bit of effort in order to make the right decision. There are so many ways that adopting a new lifestyle can go wrong, especially when you are changing significantly the foods that you eat. Working to ensure that you stay healthy is extremely important and needs to be done.
For the most part anyone who chooses to become a Vegan will have a lot of success. Working to stay healthy is not impossible, but it will typically require a bit of effort. There are a lot of nutrients that are provided in meats and other animals products that you do need to be healthy. If you simply turn to a Vegan lifestyle with no consideration for the nutrients and vitamins that you are now missing out on you will quickly discover that you are weakening your immune system. Paying close attention to what you are eating, and more importantly what you are missing is critical.
The majority of people who are looking to adopt a new lifestyle tend to do so for a long time, if not permanently. This means it is very important to ensure you are learning the proper foods to eat to ensure you stay as healthy as possible. The difference between a new lifestyle and a new diet is a diet is not intended to be followed permanently. You are simply on a diet for a short period of time, in which you aim to fulfill your specific goals. A lifestyle is something that you intend to stick to, which is why shortcomings in a lifestyle are much more important than a shortcoming in a diet.
Talking to your doctor is also extremely important. This will help you to specifically identify any specific needs that you might have. This would be important because you never know which nutrients are most important for you and your specific needs until you determine what type of physical condition you are presently in. For the vast majority of people there are few serious needs when starting out, but knowing about any major problems ahead of time is always a good idea to see your doctor just in case. This will also help you to set your mind at ease.
The biggest concerns that you will have is the need to seek out plenty of nutrients. This is important because it will help you to maintain your energy level as well as also make absolutely certain that you are getting plenty of the nutrients and health that you need to stay as healthy as possible. If you find that you are not getting proper nutrition it will be virtually impossible for you to maintain the lifestyle that you are trying to develop.
A small bit of effort put into proper planning will allow you to enjoy your venture in to the Vegan lifestyle. Talking to your doctor about any concerns that you have, as well as doing ample research to ensure that you are fully aware of any potential problems before they occur will be a key factor in determining how successful you are. Every year there are tons of people who adopt a Vegan lifestyle, you too can join these people in living a healthier and greener lifestyle. Small changes to your lifestyle can have huge impacts as long as you are careful and make wise decisions. Rash decisions however can be very bad for your overall health. This will make it extremely important to plan ahead to be certain you choose the right decisions for your lifestyle.