3 Simple Rules for Good Nutrition

Even health care professionals have bad habits and health problems.
I am a chiropractor afflicted with Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD.

GERD is a condition in which the stomach contents (food or liquid) leak backwards from the stomach into the esophagus (the tube from the mouth to the stomach). This action can irritate the esophagus, causing heartburn and other symptoms.
Because of this, I have to be careful about what I eat. Unfortunately, I also love food. I love coffee, spicy foods, and once in a while have cravings for crispy hot french fries.

I made a new years resolution, like most people, to try to clean up my act and eat better. If I ate better and had better nutritional habits, it would be easier not only to shed those pesky 10 pounds that I can’t seem to lose, but also allow me to occasionally enjoy the foods I love without feeling sick afterwards (everything in moderation!)

But with all the diet plans, science, and health tips it is so hard to follow every single suggestion out there. So to simplify, I follow these 3 simple rules:

1. Never skip breakfast.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Have you ever heard of the saying “Eat like a King in the morning, a Prince a midday, and a Pauper in the evening?” This is to coincide with how your metabolism works best. With a busy lifestyle, and wanting to just catch those few extra minutes of Z’s before having to get to school/work, breakfast is often sacrificed.

But just think about it:

Your body has been fasting for several hours, and while you may be sleeping, your body is working very hard to repair all the micro-damage you inflicted on it the day prior. It uses quite a bit of energy to get you prepared for the next day and you are starving it! That morning fog you feel isn’t just you being tired, it’s your body craving some energy!

Also, how many times have you, around mid-morning find yourself starving, and run to the nearest coffee shop to get a muffin to satiate the hunger pangs? Muffins while appearing to be a healthy choice can be full of fat and added sugars.

The best breakfast is to combine high quality proteins (lean meats, eggs, dairy) with complex carbs (whole grains) and fruit. This is the breakfast of champions – it is packed with all the essential nutrients, loads of energy, and will keep you full until lunch!

2. Check your portions

I recently went out for dinner with some friends and ordered a pasta dish. When it arrived, the plate was the size of a steering wheel and it was LOADED with food. I knew at once I wouldn’t be able to finish it (yay lunch for tomorrow!).
This scene, however, is played out all over the place. People want more bang for their buck and many of us were brought up with the mentality that we have to finish whatever is on our plate. Unfortunately, this means we are consuming a lot more than we are supposed to. Keep in mind that portion sizes and servings sizes are different things.
Here is a good article about the difference as well as some hints about how to eyeball a proper portion size.

3. Watch what you drink

This is one of the hardest rules to keep in mind because liquids never seem to be “bad” for you, but many times, drinks can be loaded with empty calories that provide no nutritional value. Flavoured coffees/lattes are full of calories and added sugars. Even flavoured water may have added sugars you are not aware about. This is when reading labels is very important.

Fruit smoothies/shakes are great for an energy boost; but remember, many times it will have enough calories to replace a meal!

That being said, 70-80% of your body is made out of water and it is important to an adequate amount of fluids for your body to function properly. Water of course, is the best choice, but whatever you decide to drink, try to avoid drinks that are high in sugar, caffeine, or alcohol as these may dehydrate you even more!

The basic daily fluid recommendations are as follows:

  • Men—up to 12 cups of fluid (3 litres) per day, depending on body size
  • Women—up to 9 cups of fluid (2.2 litres) per day, depending on body size
  • Children—between 4-8 cups of fluid (1-2 litres) per day, depending on age and body size

I hope this has helped a bit. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be hard! Be creative with your meals – use different spices or explore different ethnic cuisines. If you have a great healthy recipe you want to share, feel free to post a comment or send me an email and I will blog about it for everyone to share!

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