What is eating healthy?

Eating healthy is getting sufficient nutrients and calories into your body and meeting your daily caloric intake goal.  Your goal is probably to maintain your body weight which means consuming the same number of calories that you burn, for some people who are trying to lose weight their goal will to eat fewer calories than they burn, and for others trying to gain weight eat more calories than they are trying to burn.

Next biggest question, What nutrients do we need?  Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fats. These contain essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals some of which can be synthesized by the body and some that can’t.  You NEED all three of these, though the proportions in which you need them are disputable.  Vegetables and fruits are primarily carbohydrates while meat is mostly protein.  Oils, Seeds, and Nuts are mostly fat.  Breads, Rice, Grain products also fall under the carbohydrate category.  Most of these foods contain a bit of all three, but have most of the calories coming from only one.  There’s a lot of antagonism towards breads, rice, and grain products. My understanding is not that these products are bad (unless they have been processed or bleached such that their non-caloric nutrition has been removed), but that veggies and fruits are just better carb sources.

Processing is bad. Processing means modifying a food source from its original state.  Why? I’m not 100% sure but I think a lot of it has to do with necessary food additives in order to maintain form, flavor, and preservation.  Also I’ve read on sites like whfoods.com that when we chew raw foods ourselves we release a lot of good nutrients that are lost during mechanical and chemical processing.

Cooking isn’t bad. Raw foodists disagree, but again I’ll cite whfoods.com in their support for cooking many foods as, like chewing, it can release more and better nutrients than eating them raw.

What I need to do: Eat more vegetables at lunch and breakfast.  I can get the following vegetables here for relatively low cost: broccoli, carrots, lettuce, cabbage, spinach, onions, garlic, cucumbers, eggplant, pumpkin.  Bell peppers cost a bit more, but I love em.  I can make a big salad of non-wet ingredients and eat it over the course of a few days for lunch, sprinkle it with some olive oil and balsamic that I can just leave at work, and add some nuts and seeds to the top for extra healthy fats.  I can eat raw broccoli and carrot sticks (which I’m quite fond of) as well as pre-cooked eggplant and pumpkin.  I need to substitute jam with fresh fruit slices in my peanut butter and fruit sandwiches.

What I’m already doing pretty well: Dinner.  I eat very healthy dinners with a good balance of lean chicken or fish and a load of vegetables and sometimes tofu.  I try to top this off with a small glass of red wine for a couple reasons. Firstly, I want to improve my taste for wine, secondly I hear its good for your heart, thirdly, it is relaxing and reduces my stress level.

So what’s my goal? Maximize vitamin, mineral, and essential amino acid intake without introducing unnecessary chemicals and additives into my system.  Maintain good energy levels for daily life and working out 4-5 days a week.  I am not explicitly trying to lower my body fat percentage, which is at about 20% right now, I expect this will be a gradual result of increasing my workout intensity and further improving my diet over the next few months.

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