December 29, 2014

4 Reasons to Balance Your Diet

What are my credentials?

I am not a certified nutritionist, or dietician. So, why do I think that I’m qualified to write a blog post on nutrition? I am competent to blog about nutrition because of my real-life experience. I found out eight years ago that I am gluten intolerant. Because I am gluten intolerant, I am more aware of the effect that certain foods, additives, and cooking methods, have on the body than the typical person.

I have noticed that many people are not aware of how much they eat, what they eat, how they should eat, and how their dietary habits will affect their lives in the present—and in the future. For example, at buffet restaurants I see older people in poor health pile up their plates mainly with meat and unhealthy carbohydrates.

What is a healthy diet?

Dominique Brooks, a medical editor at, in her article entitled “What is a Good Healthy Diet?”, states that a healthy diet will limit salt, fat, and carbohydrate intake. She also suggests that readers increase their intake of whole grains and fruits and vegetables.

 I would add that a healthy diet should limit foods that have been processed with additives, or by a drying or canning method. Raw fruits and vegetables are ideal, but many sources state that fresh frozen produce also contains the original vital nutrients. 

How we can Balance our Diet

The editors at Eating Well magazine, in their article entitled “3 Easy Ways to Balance Your Diet”, instruct that the foundation of a healthy diet is produce. Other important components to every diet include whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats. The article suggests three tips for balancing our diet: 
  •  Divide your plate into ½ vegetables, ¼ whole grains, and ¼ starchy vegetables.
  • Count calories. 
  • Follow the food pyramid.
Rhea Li, a registered dietician, wrote an article entitled “Proteins, Fats, and Carbs: How to Balance Your Diet.”, in which she suggested that people balance their diets according to the following percentages: 
  • Carbohydrates (for energy)—45 to 60% 
  • Protein (for building and repairing muscles)—20 to 25% 
  • Fat—15 to 20%
It is important to note that “carbohydrate” is an umbrella term that includes the following:
  • Starches (Starches are any food that contains grains, such as breads, pastas, whole grains, and cereals.) 
  • Fruits (They contain natural sugar.) 
  • Beverages that contain sugar 
  • Desserts, including candy (These will contain starches and/or natural or refined sugar.)
Why should we Balance our diet?

A healthy diet will help us to improve the following: our looks; our energy level; our overall health at any age, and; our quality of life as we age.

Joyce Meyer is a fantastic illustration of a lady who is aging gracefully due to her wise choices in diet and exercise. This remarkable author, and leader of a worldwide Christian ministry, is 70 years old. Yet, she continues to fulfill her rigorous duties, including world travel. She discloses that her secret is exercising three times a week and being aware of everything that she puts in her mouth.

 On the other hand, I know an older man who is a good illustration of the consequences of a lifetime of poor diet choices. Until recently, he rarely considered what he was putting in his mouth. As a result, he is dealing with significant weight gain, gout, and difficulty breathing. He has had a stroke and a heart attack. He uses a wheelchair and he is unable to drive. 

Everyone ages; it’s a fact of life. Yet, the bare truth is that every person determines his own quality of life in his later years by his nutritional choices in his earlier years.

How do we Choose the Best Diet?

Diets are often personal. What works for the body, temperament, and lifestyle of one person may not be as practical for another person. Diets come and go. Some are endorsed by celebrities, some offer their own pre-packaged foods, some suggest counting calories, and some suggest eating a limited number of foods. 

How do we choose which diet to follow, or what nutritional choices to make? That will always be a matter of personal choice. However, I like to keep things simple. In the same manner as Joyce Meyer, I just try to be aware of everything that I put into my mouth. Also, I take this a step further by keeping track of ingredients as well as food preparation methods.

Decades ago, if I had been aware of the damage that gluten was causing inside of my body, I would have stopped eating gluten—absolutely! Shouldn’t we all feel as strongly about consuming any food or beverage that is not serving our bodies well?

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