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Healthy Food Tastes Better!

How is it that we can't seem to think that something nutritious and healthy could in fact be tasty and enjoyable? Ever since I started to eat healthy food I have discovered new tastes, new flavours and new favourites. I do it almost daily. When I stopped looking at meat as the main ingredient of a meal I found a hundred new ways to prepare a good meal. I did not exclude meat completely, only the kinds that contain saturated fat. I continued to eat chicken, turkey and fish. (Chicken has its fat in the skin, so you can cut it off.) I eat vegetarian dishes at least three days a week, and the veg food has become my favourite food. Why? Because it tastes so good and the food is so easy to vary. I can't think of a life without it anymore. It would be a poor life. This food is a treasury and it has given me energy and strength that I did not have before.

The benefits are plenty. You will feel spry and lively again. You will lose weight. You will strengthen your immune system and stay well longer. You will lower your blood pressure. I could go on.

I am a notorious tea drinker, and I loved all kinds of black teas. The taste of green tea didn't appeal to me, I found it bitter. But I discovered several kinds of green tea that I have learned to enjoy and I now drink it every day. It's actually become "my cup of tea".

This is what I would suggest that you do if you want to improve your eating habits:

? Reduce the fat, especially the saturated fat, which is mostly found in meat and dairy products. Exchange the butter and margarine with extra-virgin olive oil. Avoid oils with high percentage of saturated and polyunsaturated fat. Use oils which contain mostly monounsaturated fat. Using the right kinds of fat (with moderation) is more important than reducing the fat in general. Instead of milk you may want to drink yogurt (containing live cultures) which is better for the stomach.
? Eat fish at least twice a week. If you don't like fish, make sure you get enough of the omega-3 fatty acids. One way to do this is by eating flax seed.
? Eat lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, beans, cereals and whole grain.
? Make the vegetables the main part of the meal. Rice, pasta, potatoes or couscous and beans are priority number two. Eat fish, chicken or a small slice of meat with it if you like, but it is not necessary. You will feel better if you exclude the meat and spare yourself the saturated fat.
? Eat soy products regularly (e.g. tofu, tempeh, and miso, or vegetarian beefs made of soy beans). There have been discussions about soy and its health risks, but the benefits seem to be greater than these supposed risks.
? Drink water with every meal and in between meals. You can't get enough of water.
? Use fresh ginger (the root) and garlic in your cooking. Goes well with nearly everything.
? Use fresh and dried herbs in all cooking.
? Reduce the coffee. Preferably switch to green tea. If you drink black tea, replace it partly or completely with green tea.
? Reduce the sugar. Don't use artificial sweeteners. They are not healthier. There is no evidence to suggest that using artificial sweeteners would help you lose weight. Pure sugar is OK (raw sugar is slightly better than white), just use it with moderation. Read package labels for information about sweeteners and other additives.
? Take some vitamin and mineral supplement every day.
? Sweets should be consumed with moderation. Only a few small sweets in the weekend. Dark chocolate is good (but still with moderation because of the sugar). Nuts can be an alternative to sweets (still with moderation).
? Alcohol should be used with moderation if at all. A glass of wine on Saturday evening does no harm if you are not oversensitive.
? Choose ecologically or organically grown products whenever possible.
? Try a day of fasting from time to time to rinse your system. Drink only fruit juices, water and green tea that day.

This plan will lead to a healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle. It will make you lose weight without having to be hungry. Take one step at a time. A small change can make a big difference. You will be rewarded if you are determined to really try.

When you follow the advice above you will not need much meat. Protein can be added through beans, soy and seeds for instance. If you exclude the dairy products or some of them, make sure you get enough calcium through for instance calcium fortified soy milk and orange juice, and through green vegetables. If you exclude meat completely, be sure to get enough vitamin B12 from fortified soy milks or cereals or by taking a supplement.

Of course, you can have that little special treat now and then. The idea is to enjoy and have fun! If you feel like a prisoner you will not enjoy your new habits. But remember, if special treats come too often, they are not special treats anymore.

Ingela Berger started her own Internet business Lifestyle Plans in 2003 out of a desire to inspire and encourage others to make reality of their dreams of a personal, healthy and fulfilling lifestyle. Ingela has studied theatre directing, history of art, and leadership psychology. After some years working with art exhibitions and the theatre she is now back at school to become a health and lifestyle consultant.

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