Coach’s Corner: Top 3 Priorities for Healthier Eating!
Every March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics brings extra attention to healthy eating habits by celebrating National Nutrition Month.
Yet, something as natural as eating can be confusing to so many, largely due to the noise in the diet industry, as well as the national dietary guidelines that are not without bias (thanks to powerful food industry lobbyists).
So, let me shoot straight and give you the TOP 3 PRIORITIES for healthier eating this month and beyond:
First Priority: Eat to remove deficiencies!
Eat a wide variety of whole, minimally processed foods that contain essential vitamins and minerals. This is not only wise for overall health, but especially if you have a weight loss goal, as a nutrient deficient body will always kick in hunger hormones and tend to overeat.
This month: think high-quality protein and colorful produce first when choosing your meals and snacks. This will ensure your body is well nourished.
Second Priority: Remove refined oils!
An inflamed body is not a healthy body, as inflammation is a pre-cursor to many common diseases including heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, depression, even dementia, just to name a handful. And refined oils contribute greatly to inflammation!
Refined oils include canola, vegetable, corn, sunflower, safflower, soybean, and any products that contain them. These oils are highly processed, oxidized, and most come from GMO crops which have been sprayed heavily with pesticides and the like.
This month: replace refined oils with healthy oils such as Avocado, Olive, and Coconut. I did an entire video on oils which you can watch here: http://www.morethanabody.com/cooking-oils-in-my-kitchen/
Third Priority: Reduce added sugar!
The average American consumes an estimated 22 teaspoons of added sugar per day! Added sugar (which is called out on food labels) is any sugar that is added during processing, i.e., not the sugar naturally occurring in the food.
Excessive sugar intake increases risk of early death, plain and simple. A few life-shortening diseases linked to added sugar include diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, fatty liver, and accelerated aging (no thanks!).
This month: swap out sugary sodas and beverages with other options, as this is a leading cause of added sugar in the American diet. If you must sweeten your beverages, choose stevia or monk fruit. When I’m craving a soda, this is my go-to: https://www.zevia.com/
Beyond these priorities…
Obviously, there are other nutritional tools to consider based on your health status, health goals, body composition goals, food sensitivities, etc. Should you remove gluten, go keto, practice intermittent fasting, count your calories, or try any of the other “health strategies” out there? Maybe, but not before these top priorities are nailed down.
This month, if you prioritize protein and produce, replace refined oils with healthier options, and kick sugary drinks to the curb, you WILL BE healthier just one short month from now. Then you can level up your nutrition on this solid foundation.