The Basics of Balanced Eating
Fifteen years ago, everyone had the same understanding of what “balanced eating” entailed. Today, it is a much more complicated topic with many conflicting opinions and new trends. A “balanced meal plan” to one health expert is not always the same to another health expert.
The textbook definition of a balanced diet is, a way of eating that allows you to consume all the nutrients your body needs from a wide range of foods. We know that our body’s tissue and organs require proper nutrition to work and function effectively.
This leaves us with two questions:
- What is proper nutrition?
- What mix of foods can help us to reach this “balance”?
When you refer to a “standard” food guide, it is recommended that you divide your day into adequate portions of protein, fats and carbohydrates. This “standard” recommendation is not correct and it does nothing to teach an individual how to make the right choices to fuel his/her body.
Here’s an example of an unbalanced diet that many people feel gives them a balance of nutrition based on the “standard” food guide:
- Breakfast: Cereal or oatmeal.
- Lunch: A sandwich consisting of processed meats and cheese.
- Dinner: Cooked meal option of meat and potatoes.
As a naturopath, a balanced day to me means getting an adequate supply of fiber, vitamins, minerals and enzymes. A balanced daily diet should consist of the following:
- Breakfast: Fresh fruits (organic and in season) or a fruit smoothie
- Lunch: Large vegetable salad consisting of a minimum of eight different vegetables (Include various seeds such as chia, hemp or flax for an extra boost of fiber)
- Dinner: Lean protein of choice along with some sprouted grains of quinoa or wild rice
The USDA recommends about 32 grams of fiber per day. Most people don’t even consume half of this recommended amount. Now the good news, the best sources of dietary fiber and nutrients do not come from cereal grains as many people believe, but from raw vegetables and organic psyllium.
Try starting your day with a teaspoon of organic psyllium mixed well in warm water, as these seeds act like a sponge, absorbing toxins in the digestive tract. Make this a regular part of your morning routine and it won’t take long for you to notice improved digestion and less bloating.
As with everything in life, balance and moderation are paramount. Allowing yourself to eat some of the wonderful delicacies and treats that are out there, along with natural and wholesome foods, makes eating an effortless and enjoyable experience.
4 Key Takeaways to Keep in Mind for a Balanced Diet:
- “Dieting” is a fad that does not allow for sustained success.
- Raw foods and vegetables contain tons of nutrients and should make up 75% of your daily food intake.
- Fiber is your friend and one of the best ways to get it is from psyllium.
- If you follow the above 3 guidelines there will be room to splurge on other foods you enjoy. (Mmm cake!)
Note: It’s important to keep in mind that there are some people with limitations, intolerances and weight issues—Consult with your physician or a nutritionist before making major changes to your diet