Like so many others, I have made the resolution to recommit myself to health and wellness. Not always an easy task!
But, after drifting through my days with a so-so standard American diet, I felt that, especially as a dietitian, it was time to step things up a notch and really strive for more!
There were two main motivators for me. Things that have inspired the changes that are starting to reshape my life:
In Dr. Joel Fuhrman's book "Eat to Live," he had a graph that depicted the correlation between fruit and vegetable consumption, and risk of disease. Now, I know we’ve all been told to eat more fruits and vegetables (5 a Day, baby!) but I guess I’m visual, and this graph just grabbed me! The almost perfect correlation was just so glaringly obvious in his graph that it really struck home for me.
After hearing much debate and doubt over food preparation, I did find a gem buried deep down on the USDA website. It is a huge 200+ page report listing various types of foods, showing the detrimental effect different processing methods have on several nutrients.
The gold standard for nutrient maximums? Raw.
(Fruits begin on page 23; general vegetables on 83. Just to explain an example: if you are on page 83, looking at "VEG, GREENS, BAKED" and see "Calcium 100" - that indicates, that 100% of the calcium is retained, or kept intact when baked. Well good! But then look down; you can see that other nutrients, such as Vitamin C, are decreased to about 70% of the original, raw value.)
So, even according to the USDA, other nutrients can be depleted to as little as 20% of the original amount when processed! Cooking, boiling, steaming, drying, canning, etc. All of these things can cause nutrients to be lost. How important is that? Pretty darn, I'd say! Why not get the best possible dose of natural health I can, as often as I can?
To me, these things told me it was time to boost my intake of raw fruits and veggies as much as possible! I always aimed for a vegetable at dinner time, and maybe trying to get a salad here and there for lunch, or snack on some carrots, or celery and peanut butter… sound familiar? Yeah, that’s probably a standard goal for most people. Well, it’s just not cutting it, is it? Do you feel healthier? I sure didn’t! Is your weight where you want it? Mine sure wasn’t!
So what does all that have to do with YOU and a resolution for health and/or weight loss?
If you push your intake of raw foods, you will:
*fill your stomach with a large volume of low-calorie foods, thus helping you feel full while staying low in calories.
*boost your vitamin and mineral intake in a NATURAL way (rather that supplements and pills) which will help boost your immune system, natural body processes, and energy! (and couldn't we all use a little more of that?)
*get extra fiber that can help with keeping you regular, which helps fight that awful bloated feeling you may get, and helps your body with its natural elimination of stored up toxins in your system.
*get extra water that remains in the raw form of the produce, which means extra hydration for you! (and your skin - helping to keep it from looking tired and dry)
*and have less cravings for other processed foods, over time! I know, I wouldn't have believed it myself, until I started to feel it.
Have a wonderful, fresh-filled day! I'm going to go eat a fruit salad :)