The road to healthy eating is, like any meaningful journey, a step-by-step process. Making radical, sweeping changes to our eating habits is not likely to succeed in the long term. We are creatures of habit. To suddenly initiate an all-encompassing adjustment to every aspect of our diet is to go against the laws of our nature. This is why the vast majority of such efforts are doomed to failure from the very beginning. What will serve best in initiating a new era of eating are small, ongoing, gradual changes easily ingrafted into our daily habits. Over time, these little changes will grow to be a vast army, and will spell certain doom for those old eating habits that are harming our health!
Consider taking the first step on the journey toward healthy eating by giving the kibosh these three major dietary offenders.
1. Fast Food: All Calories, No Content
Few dining options offer the ease and convenience of fast food. Simply mutter a few phrases into a crackly speaker, pull up to a drive-thru window and “poof,” you are handed a fully-prepared meal, complete with kids toys and colorful packaging! But don’t let this tempting option fool you. The significant downside to fast food is that while it offers a plethora of calories to help pad your waistline, most fast food selections provide precious little in regard to nutrition, and can prove to be less-than-friendly to your health. Further, as the great majority of fast food options are highly processed, they add to their nutritional poverty an abundance of sugars, sodium and unhealthy fats. But the worst part of the story is, grill-cooked fast foods contain doses of a carcinogen called HCA, which have been linked to the development of cancer. When it comes to fast food, you may want to say, “Not so fast!”
2. Sports Drinks: NOT Fit For Fitness!
We’ve all seen the countless commercials that present an impossibly-ripped superstar athlete, covered in glistening, post-workout perspiration, guzzling down a sports drink. Then said athlete, having quenched his herculean thirst, proudly presents to the camera the stylishly-labeled, fruit-flavored beverage that promises to deliver the viewer from nutritional backwardness. However, what our superstar athlete fails to tell us is that most sports drinks presently on the market contain a mammoth amount of sugar, anywhere from seven to fourteen tablespoons per 20 oz serving. This amount is equitable to what might be found in a serving of run-of-the-mill, tooth-rotting, tummy-inflating soda. Impressive athlete endorsements aside, with that kind of sugar content, sports drinks can wield a significant blow against one’s weight-loss goals. Add to this fact that most sports drinks also contain quite a number of multi-syllabled, impossible-to-pronounce chemical additives, and one is better off just leaving them on the shelf.
3. Give Unhealthy Fats a Permanent Vacation
Unhealthy fats are all-too-deeply entrenched in the American diet. Salad dressings, fried foods, lunch meats, margarine, baked goods..such cultural staples are generally swimming in saturated and polyunsaturated fats. This nutritional environment can prove a genuine challenge to those devoted to moving toward a healthy lifestyle. Particularly sobering is the fact that individual eating patterns which contain high levels of unhealthy fats are statistically much more likely to develop devastating health issues such as symptoms of breast cancer or coronary heart disease. American eating habits are a veritable factory running at full steam for health problems due to the large amount of unhealthy fats present in what we eat. Choosing to swim against the stream by making a few wise adjustments regarding fat intake can make an immense difference in your health, both now and in the future!
Like the proverb of Lao Tzu asserts: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” While initiating a complete dietary turnaround overnight may seem a romantic ideal, the chances of success for such an endeavor are minuscule, to say the least. However, if you begin the journey toward healthy eating with just a few simple changes, like those suggested above, before you know it you’ll be a nutritional all-star!
What unhealthy eating habits have you given up this year?
Have you healthy eating habits have you started you added to your diet?
Leave your thoughts and changes in eating habits in the comment section!