It was my idea this week for Neal and I to write about our philosophies as we begin this blog. Even though I’ve been involved with nutrition for the past 10 years, I was surprised how challenging it was to form my ideas into words, but I was able to break up my thoughts into the following six principles:
- Consider the 80/20 rule of moderation. You will do well nutritionally if eighty percent of the time, you choose foods that are health promoting, and twenty percent of the time, you choose foods that will keep you from feeling deprived.
- Eat more plants. Plants contain phytochemicals, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber; compounds that do amazing things in the body to improve health. You do not need to be a vegetarian to do this. Include fruits and vegetables with each meal and fill the majority of your plate with a variety of colorful, plant-based foods.
- Choose whole foods over processed. Look at your food – is it recognizable as food that came from the earth? With each step of food processing, food is taken further away from its recognizable natural form, vital nutrients are stripped away, and things that we already get too much of (salt, sugar, preservatives) are added.
- There’s no hidden secret to weight loss. If losing weight were easy, Americans would not be facing our current obesity epidemic and the weight loss industry would be non-existent. Many popular diets encourage cutting out entire food groups or relying on expensive shakes/diet products, which most people tire of easily. Just the word diet implies deprivation and a short-term solution. Sustainable weight loss is typically the result of eating balanced meals, watching portion sizes, being physically active, and having support. Small changes can result in dramatic differences over time. It’s not easy, but it will be worth it when you feel better and have more energy throughout the day. And hopefully Montana Meals can provide some support and inspiration to get you there.
- We live in an agricultural state. Take advantage of all the wonderful foods that are grown in Montana – beef, wheat, milk, vegetables, melons, goat cheese, etc. Less travel time means fresher flavor and retained nutrients.
- And finally, perhaps my favorite and most important guideline: Enjoy your food. Savor it, appreciate it, and be mentally present at meal times.
Writing down these six simple principles made me realize that I could write much much more information about each subject. So I believe I will. Stay tuned!