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It's common sense that eating healthy is good for you, though it's less known that eating healthy will also improve your productivity and thus business. Let's talk about what eating healthy does to you, some healthy eating basics, how it won't break the bank and the Food Pyramid myth.
According to WHO “Adequate nutrition can raise your productivity levels by 20 percent on average.” And that's assuming you're already eating decently well and have average (normal) health. Healthy eating is a lifestyle choice that will affect every aspect of your life from business, to relationships, to self-esteem and even your ability to concentrate. It's in your, your families and the people who depend on you best interest that you eat (and stay) healthy.
Healthy Eating Benefits
Healthy eating is a slightly overused word, though the issue is that it's largely a misused word. I take healthy eating to mean:
Eating and drinking for an overall balanced diet that my own body processes and uses well.
I didn't say anything about carbs, calories, nor foods to leave out. I'll eat pretty much anything you put on my plate as long as it's tasty. A day here and there I'll eat something rather unhealthy, greasy or sugary. Though my overall, over a long period of time, my meals are well balanced for what my body accepts. I eat for MY body, not on someone else's diet nor plan.
This means I can eat whatever I want as long as I keep my meals overall balanced. One junk food meal isn't going to ruin me. The benefit here is:
- Less stress from worrying about calories, carbs, whatever all the time.
- Easier meal planning.
- Easier to east with friends and family.
- Better for my wallet since I can pretty much pick whatever.
Yes: eating healthy is better for my wallet in the short term and long term!
Other than the monetary reasons, eating healthy will:
- Improve (or maintain) your overall health.
- Help you digest better.
- Better digestion means less energy wasted on digesting which means more energy for other things such thinking.
- Give your body the optimal conditions and energy for thinking, working, .. whatever you need to do.
- Staying younger for longer.
This all helps you be better at business since your brain has optimal conditions for thinking and processing! When you control your emotions more, think faster and better and retain memories better you're able to (in guy terms): “Be the better man” more often.
The Food Pyramid Myth
You know that food pyramid we (Americans) were all taught in school right? This image:
Image source: http://diagrampic.com/food-pyramid-for-kids/
This pyramid is also wrong. Even though it's the accepted model in schools, the government and even accredited organizations it's still not right. You can read more about that here: http://www.rense.com/general12/wrong.htm.
A better model is to minimize wheats and fruits and:
Willett says that the USDA pyramid puts too much emphasis on red meat and lumps too many types of carbohydrates together. The pyramid gives too little emphasis to nuts, beans, and healthy oils, which have positive health effects.
Willett's alternative, the Healthy Eating Pyramid, has daily exercise and weight control at the base, and recommends eating whole grains like brown rice at most meals.
It also emphasizes eating plant oils like olive, canola, and soy, and suggests eating lots of vegetables and gives fish, poultry, and eggs a higher profile than red meat.
And that's just one healthier alternative. There are many new studies that significantly improve on the food pyramid and focus on the things that really matter.
Healthy Eating Basics
The basics to keep your mind strong and your body in top-shape are rather simple:
- Eat well & healthy.
Eating healthy and well is easy to do once you get used to it. Though the best part is that you don't have to sacrifice … much. To eat healthy follow these basic 7 principles:
- Include lots of RAW vegetables.
- Eat red meat when possible.
- Fish. Fish is good, but in moderation.
- Nuts and whole grains are your friends.
- When cooking vegetables, do not cook them for long at all. If possible, add them in near the end so they stay as fresh & raw as possible.
- Learn what your body accepts the best and what it can't tolerate, cut out the bad and stick with the good (most of the time).
- Don't worry too much about the rest, eat whatever as long as you strike a decent balance that works for you.
Eating well on a budget
Eating well doesn't have to break the bank. If you always shop 100% organics and at places like Whole Foods: then yes, you'll have an empty bank account soon. Though, there were a few studies done that showed that there wasn't much of a difference, if at all, between ‘regular' produce and fruits and the organics.
Translation: it's perfectly OK to buy ‘normal' produce at ‘normal' grocery stores!
Here's how we try to keep our grocery bills low:
- Look for deals where possible + coupons. We don't do any major couponing, we value our free time more than saving pocket change amounts of money.
- Learn which stores have the best prices locally (or online) for what you need. For example, we shop at Costco for basics such as toilet paper and paper towels. Food items we get at a local super market that caters to the lower-middle class. There I can buy so much produce for $40 that at Whole Foods would only buy me an apple or something (a bit of an exaggeration of course, but you get the point).
- Biggest ‘trick' we learned: Make and use a meal plan!
- Buy in bulk and freeze when possible.
- Cook foods that can be stored and whose left overs can be re-used.
- Find cheap foods that can be used in A LOT of recipes and are nutritious and use them as the base for most of your foods. For us, that's a variety of rice.
- Left overs are your friend.
- Frozen vegetables will last a LONG time in the freezer and are (almost) just as healthy as the raw / fresh ones (really, go look this up yourself if you don't believe me).
- Try to eat less by drinking a cup of water before your meal. Then a cup of water with your meal. This will fill up your stomach fast.
- Try ethnic stores for lower prices on veggies or certain meats. For example, our local asian store has some green veggies at rather low prices, though their meat prices are high. There's a local meat store where you can get meats at good prices; that, and Costco meats are decently well priced too!
That's how we keep healthy and keep within our budget. The level of business we do wouldn't be possible if we didn't eat well.