DR. MICHELLE BRAUDE – FOOD AND THE EFFECTS ON YOU…
If you read more than one blog a day or listen to almost any podcast, you’ll recognize this name. The first thing I recall thinking when first I heard her was “she is SO reasonable.” Dr. Braude is, of course, a physician. She is also an author (The Food Effect) and, wildly popular expert on how to eat and drink your way to a long and healthy life. I love her take on nutrition. Reasonable, logical and fun. Yes, fun…she says it’s ok to enjoy alcohol in moderation!
Here are a few of her tips (excerpted from her last podcast):
EAT WHOLE FOODS
Avoid highly processed, packaged foods as much as possible. Stick to eating whole, natural foods that are close to, ( if not the same as! ) their natural state- such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, eggs, dairy, fish, poultry or plant-based proteins ( like chickpeas, lentils, or even chickpea pasta! ). I always tell my clients: the shorter the list of ingredients on the package of food, the better it is! Don’t buy products with an endless list of ingredients you can’t pronounce or have never heard of.
CHANGE YOUR MINDSET
Don’t think of healthy eating and weight loss as a “diet”– something you ‘go on’ and eventually ‘go off’. Reframe it as a new way of life. That way, when, or if, you do ‘slip up’ or have a few days of overindulging, you’ll be less likely to give up and get despondent because you’ll realize that one or two meals ( or even days! ), of not-too-perfect eating won’t undo your overall commitment to a healthy lifestyle; you’ll just get straight back on to your normal, healthy routine afterwards.
Often when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually just thirsty. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, as well as one glass BEFORE every meal or snack you have. Water aids weight loss by keeping your cells functioning at their fat-burning best, and also helps your kidneys flush out excess toxins and chemicals, which may be slowing down your metabolism. I don’t like setting a fixed daily amount for water drinking, as this will vary depending on your body size, activity level etc. but just make sure you’re drinking enough! If you have difficulty drinking enough plain water, herbal teas, green tea ( hot or cold ), or lemon in hot water, are all just as good.
SLOW DOWN EATING, CHEW FOOD AND ENJOY
Focus on the food you’re eating and don’t just wolf it down. Avoid eating lunch in front of your computer, or dinner whilst trying to catch up on e-mails or messages- take time out to enjoy your meal & actually pay attention to what you’re eating. Chewing your food properly will aid efficient digestion, stop you from overeating, and reduce any uncomfortable bloating you may experience from eating too quickly. It will also ensure your brain actually registers when you’ve eaten enough food…before it’s too late!
EAT HEALTHY AND DON’T EAT “FAT FREE”
This means eating good, healthy, unsaturated fats found in nuts, peanut or almond butter, avocados, olive oil & various other healthy oils. Incorporating good fats into your diet will help reduce sugar cravings, increase energy levels and keep you fuller for longer. In its absence, we tend to reach for sweet and starchy foods. So don’t go down the “fat-free” route! Healthy fats are also proven to lower the risk of heart disease and aid the body in absorption of vitamins and minerals ( for example from any salads or vegetables you eat ). While too much fat can cause weight gain, too little of the right fats prevents your cells from functioning properly, which affects fat metabolism, hormone balance & energy– all leading to weight gain.
That being said, trans fats ( often listed under the names ‘hydrogenated oil’ or ‘hydrogenated vegetable fat’ ), found in many packaged, processed foods, are toxic, have no health benefits, and should be avoided as much as possible.
DON’T SHUN CARBS
Instead, stick to whole grain unrefined carbohydrates such as oats, wholemeal bread, brown or basmati rice, sweet potatoes, quinoa, chickpeas and lentils, which are great sources of fibre and various other nutrients. Don’t try to cut out all starchy foods…it’s the biggest “diet” disaster ( & myth ), and also slows down metabolism in the long-term.
Each individual has different needs, goals & preferences, combined with different body types and genetic make-up. You have to recognize your individual needs and be realistic about the changes you can make. So, for example, if you absolutely live for chocolate or a sweet treat, don’t try to stick to a long-term healthy eating plan thinking you’ll never have these things again! Instead, be realistic and allow for special occasions, indulgences or controlled amounts of your favorite “vice” food– or try switching to a healthier version of it, such as 70% dark chocolate instead of poor-quality, highly processed milk chocolate.
EAT A RAINBOW
Whether it’s fresh, frozen or canned – try to increase and vary your intake of fruit and vegetables. You’ll feel so much better and your body will benefit from all the added vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants and fibre. Diets rich in fruit and vegetables have been proven to decrease the risk of heart attacks, stroke and a variety of cancers, & healthy glowing skin is another by-product of eating a colorful, varied diet – so it’s a real win-win!
KNOW YOUR PORTIONS
It’s essential to understand that: just because something is healthy, it doesn’t mean that it can’t make you gain weight! Even if you stick to healthy foods, you still have to watch your portion sizes and quantities when consuming things such as nuts, hummus, avocado, olive oil & dark chocolate. There’s definitely benefit in snacking on nuts, but eating a whole big bag will lead to excess calories and weight gain. Learn what a normal serving size looks like and stick to that!
BE PATIENT – DON’T GET FRUSTRATED
Making sustainable changes to your diet and lifestyle, & noticing results can take some time. Don’t expect to shed weight and have glowing skin overnight! It can take a few weeks to achieve noticeable results. We’re all human and have our ups and downs. There will be days when you don’t eat as planned, or slip up on your new healthy regime… it’s not the end of the world! Don’t beat yourself up, or worse…give up. Be patient, get back on track, and stick with your new healthy habits. Your body is benefitting every day in all its internal processes from changes you make. Getting despondent and impatient, with a need to see “fast” drastic results, will sabotage all your efforts. Stick with the changes you are making, and you are guaranteed to see results… most importantly, ones that will last!
YOU CAN FIND DR. BRAUDE @thefoodeffectdr.
HAVE YOU ADOPTED ANY CHANGES TO YOUR DIET THIS YEAR? WHAT HAS YOUR PROGRESS BEEN? DO YOU BUY FROM LOCAL FARMER’S MARKETS?
LIVE WELL & KEEP MOVING,