A healthy eating plan gives your body the nutrients it needs every day while staying within your daily calorie goal for weight loss. A healthy eating plan will also lower your risk for heart disease and other health conditions.
A healthy eating plan:
To lose weight, most people need to reduce the number of calories they get from food and beverages (energy IN) and increase their physical activity (energy OUT).
For a weight loss of 1–2 pounds per week, daily intake should be reduced by 500 to 1,000 calories. In general:
If you eat 1,600 calories a day but do not lose weight, then you may want to cut back to 1,200 calories. If you are hungry on either diet, then you may want to boost your calories by 100 to 200 per day. Very low calorie diets of fewer than 800 calories per day should not be used unless you are being monitored by your doctor.
Evil foods are everywhere you look: processed, saturated and, worst of all, tasty. The amount of junk we eat has risen to alarming rates. Many people consider these types of foods to be a treat. But really, what they’re treating themselves to is an addiction to junk… fat-inducing, belly-bloating and cholesterol-building junk.
The foods I’m talking about accomplish nothing positive. They make you gain excess pounds quickly and destroy your body's fat burning mechanism (your metabolism). If you're trying to lose weight and live a longer, healthier life through exercise and fitness, these are the evil foods you should avoid:
Soda, Fruit Drinks and Sugar-Sweetened Beverages
A recent study found soda to be no less than liquid candy. These syrupy drinks contain sucrose and high fructose corn syrup that will at first give you a sugar rush, then leave you hungry, and eventually just store in your body as fat.
Donuts, Cookies and Pastries
If saturated fat had a spokesperson, these snack-sized munchies swimming in refined sugar and dangerous trans fat would be the perfect candidate. One small, non-glazed donut contains about 170 calories, with 10 grams of fat. To make matters worse, donuts also contain chemical agents to keep them soft, chemicals that are downright bad for the body.
White Sugar, Candy, Chocolate and Sweets
If your diet is balanced, these sweeties are like an elephant thrown on one end of the scale. They’re just a bunch of refined carbohydrates that are dense in calories but devoid of vitamins, minerals or fiber. They mess with your blood sugar and insulin levels, and add to fat storage in your body. Tilt the scales in your favor and avoid these badboys.
Ice cream is the perfect storm of fat and sugar, with massive swells of artificial coloring and flavors and tidal waves of preservatives and emulsifiers. Head for safety because one small cup contains approximately 350 calories and 20 grams of saturated fat.
White Bread and Sugary Breakfast Cereals
Anything made from white or enriched flour (i.e.: bread, cereal, pretzels, crackers) has no nutritional value and is processed by the body the same way as white sugar. Even breakfast cereals are misleading, with writing on the boxes stating they’re fortified with vitamins and minerals. When you look closely, the sugar content basically cancels out any nutritional benefits these cereals might have.
Potato Chips, Nachos, Corn Chips
Here comes the dreaded ‘s’ word: sodium. Chips and similar bagged-snacks are loaded with it, and it increases the risk of high blood pressure. Let’s not forget these foods are usually loaded with calories, fat and flavor additives.
Southerners might like the way it tastes, but anything fried is downright fatty and high in calories. Take one tempting example: a super size serving of fries from McDonalds has 610 calories and 29 grams of fat, 10 of which are saturated. Might as well shoot it all straight into your arteries. Clog alert!
Bacon, Sausages, Hot Dogs, Fast Food Burgers
Processed meats are only part meat, with the rest being a mishmash of chemicals and additives: fillers, stabilizers, sodium, artificial coloring and flavors… the list goes on and on. Still sound tasty?
We’re not suggesting that you can never indulge in any of these foods (we’re all guilty of to munching on them occasionally). Moderation is key because these snacking behaviors can spiral into an addiction and rule your life and body. Try to focus on eating a balanced diet that consists of 40 percent carbs (mostly from fibrous vegetables), 40 percent protein and 20 percent quality fat.
Take the first step towards better health by understanding the implications of what you’re putting in your mouth. Then, take the next step of speeding up your metabolism and your weight loss by finding a fitness routine that will keep you engaged and motivated. Once you put these steps into motion, connecting with the new, healthier you is going to be a whole lot easier than you think!
By Davide Butson-Fiori
We all know that what we eat matters. It matters not only to us, but also to the world we live in. The food choices we make every day have a great impact on the environment, and by making a few small ‘green’ changes in our eating and buying habits, we can significantly reduce our carbon footprint, and turn out healthier too!
FROM FARM TO FORK
Growing, processing, transporting and packing food uses up an enormous amount of resources, especially energy and water. It’s easy to overlook the environmental impacts that the food we eat have because these are spread across all stages of production, from the farm, to harvesting, to food production and delivery. But we have to realize that each additional process that is not needed or requires excessive chemicals contribute to the destruction of natural resources, global warming, and pollution. When we eat green, we help the earth become more sustainable.
There are four steps to being the ultimate green eater: first, you have to choose climate-friendly food. Second, you have to buy organic and sustainably certified produce. Third, watch your waste, and fourth, eat locally. Remember, eating green doesn’t also help the earth. It also means, eating fresher, healthier food while reducing your wasteline, grocery bill and supporting local farmers.
CHOOSE CLIMATE-FRIENDLY FOOD
Food that comes from high up in the food chain, or requires extensive processing tends to use up more energy and have a larger carbon footprint. According to the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC), the carbon footprint for a hamburger, for example, includes fossil fuels that went into producing the fertilizer and pumping the irrigation water to grow the corn that fed the cow, and may also include emissions that result from converting forest land to grazing land, Meat from ruminant animals (cows, goats, and sheep) has a particularly large carbon footprint because of he methane released from the animals’ digestion and manure. The NRDC estimates that if all we eliminated just one quarter pound serving of beef per week, the reduction in global warming gas emissions would be equivalent to taking four to six million cars off the road!
Of course animals are not the only culprits. Seafood can also contribute to global warming. Apparently, not all fishing fleets are on the up and up, and open-ocean ones depend entirely on dirty fossil fuels, that emit millions of tons of CO2 each year.
Government tests show that conventionally grown fruits and vegetables can retain up to 13 pesticides even after washing and cooking.
Conventional agriculture, which is often dependent on the intensive use of synthetic chemicals such as fertilizer and pesticides, can have a negative impact on air, water and soil quality. Many widely used pesticides have been linked to an increased risk of cancer and reproductive problems.
But there are alternatives to conventional agriculture. Innovative farmers from coast to coast have adopted more sustainable farming systems, reducing the need for synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. By shopping for organic or other sustainably certified foods, you can support their efforts.
Eco and organic labels help consumers choose food grown without synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. Visit Consumer Report websites to find out what labels to look out for.
BUY LOCAL FOOD
A typical Hong Kong meal contains ingredients from more than five countries, and domestically grown produce travels an average of 1,500 miles before it is sold. Buying local is a good bet for reducing pollution and the energy used to transport, store and refrigerate food. When all other factors are equal, choosing local food is good for the planet, good for your health and good for local farmers.
WATCH YOUR WASTE
Hong Kong is one of the top producers of waste. We seem to want to throw everything away! And a hefty percentage of this, about 30 percent, is food. Most of this food waste ends up in landfills, where it releases methane pollution as it decomposes, further contributing to global warming.
And when you throw perfectly good food away, you have to think about the millions of other people that don’t have enough to eat. If we could channel our resources properly so that there is more energy spent in feeding those who are in need, and less in getting the food to us then I think it will be a much better world.
So purchase only the amount of food you are able to consume before it expires. And compost your food waste.
Another waste problem that we need to keep in mind is the use of plastic for packaging and shopping. A way to reduce our plastic waste is to BYOB. A lot of us are already familiar with the concept. But we have to keep in mind that we have to bring an extra tote at all times. For everything: including produce, meat products and market shopping.
Avoid single-serving items that are overly packaged; buy in bulk instead. Better yet, head for the bulk bins of your local health-food store for grains and nut mixes. Larger quantities are generally discounted, too.
Keep in mind the hidden waste, for every packaged product there is another two thirds of waste we don’t see. One is secondary packaging, this is the larger cases and boxes the primary package you see on the shelf comes in, and then there is the transit packaging like the wooden boards, plastic wrap and containers that are used to transport and load and unload these goods. It is said, for every shipping container of packaged goods, there is another two containers of waste created in getting them to the supermarket.
Eating fresh fruits, meats, vegetables, and shopping at the markets reduces a lot of waste, think about it. How much packaging does your carrots and fresh meat come in? There are open air markets all over town, pick up your eco friendly shopping bag and shop fresh, local, organic and green.
Lastly, recycle! Collect you recyclables and find time to toss them in those large green, yellow and blue designated bins all over the city. You won’t get money from it in Hong Kong, but you’ll know that you’re contributing to the overall wellbeing of your city! One person can make a difference in this world. Let it be you.