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Gesonde eetgewoontes!

Eat
We all have a pretty good idea of what we should and shouldn’t eat. The real challenge is actually implementing this common sense, consistently.

That’s why the last two weeks were dedicated to strategies for building permanent healthy eating habits, allowing optimal nutrition to happen naturally. Let’s summarize how this can be done.

The checklist

There are five categories of foods that should be an integral part of healthy living. To automate our consumption of these foods, we need to maximize taste, practicality and affordability. Here’s how this can be done:

  • Nuts, seeds and berries: Here we focused on maximizing the practicality and affordability of this surprisingly tasty superfood combo, particularly through bulk purchases of seeds.
  • Raw green veggies: These green nutrient bombs taste rather bland, but things like a green drink and smart combinations with other tasty foods can make them regulars in your diet.
  • Cooked veggies, mushrooms and beans: This strategy revolves around the use meat and other flavors to include surprisingly large quantities of these colorful bits of health into cooked meals.
  • Fish and eggs: The convenience of smoked and canned omega-3 fish and scrambled eggs or omelettes make these high quality protein sources easy to include.
  • Avocado (and other fruit): Here we discussed the fine art of avocado ripeness management together with several ways to make fruit consumption even easier.

Next, we need to keep self-destruct foods out of our lives. A strong defense against the world’s worst foods that lurk around every corner in your local supermarket looks like this:

  • Refuse to pay for self-destruction: Trading time, effort, vitality and life expectancy for fleeting endorphin highs is a truly terrible deal. Realizing this on a deep level is a great first layer of defense.
  • Healthier snacking: Sometimes really tasty treats can actually have some longer-term benefits. For these rare occasions, choosing healthier alternatives makes all the sense in the world.
  • Home-made meals: Taking care of your health becomes a lot easier when you take direct control of what goes into your body. Home-made food also makes overeating much less likely.
  • Whole foods: Buying more whole produce is a great way to keep self-destruct foods out of your life. Getting into the habit reading food labels can also add many good years to your life.

So there you have it. These strategies combine very nicely to build healthy nutritional habits that last a (considerably longer) lifetime 🙂

Recap: Building permanent healthy eating habits

 
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Posted by op 20/12/2019 in Gesondheid, leefstyl

 

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The world’s worst foods: Convenience-first foods

KitskosOK, what do I mean by convenience-first foods? Well, these are all those foods that are made with convenience as the first priority. An obvious example is fast food.

Wow, this is getting tough… First I attack the great taste of empty calorie carbs and fats and now I attack convenience. But there are good reasons behind today’s post as well. Let’s take a look.

What’s so bad about convenience-first foods?

Foods that are made for convenience first generally prioritize taste second, budget third, and health dead last. This is a serious problem.

Like the empty calorie carbs and fats we discussed over the past two days, this prioritization creates a badly lopsided calorie/nutrient ratio. As a result, your body gets plenty of fuel, but no maintenance – perfect for contracting serious lifestyle diseases like heart attacks, stroke, cancer and diabetes. 

But we’ve covered this problem in detail on MondayThe other big reason to avoid convenience-first food is that it makes overeating far too easy. A totally lopsided calorie/nutrient ratio is bad enough, but when this is combined with a calorie overload, it gets really scary.

Any food that does not place health first should have some friction built into the process of eating it. Because of our primitive cravings, this friction is critical for staying at a healthy weight. Convenience-first foods remove all this friction, driving the global obesity epidemic.

Lastly, the processing required to make convenience foods so convenient often destroys much of the remaining nutrients and/or introduces some potentially dangerous additives. Rapid cooking (frying and deep frying), typical of fast foods, also tends to destroy nutrients and add trans fats and other toxins. 

Some examples of convenience-first foods

Anything that places convenience before health falls in this category. Here are some examples:

  • Almost all fast food
  • Many ready meals
  • Frozen pizza
  • Sandwich spreads
  • Processed meats
  • Anything fried in vegetable oil (olive oil is OK)

Yes, convenience is important in today’s world where everyone is so super-busy. But it just takes a little bit of thinking to make healthy eating super convenient. We’ll get to this next week…

The world’s worst foods: Convenience-first foods

 

 
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Posted by op 05/12/2019 in Gesondheid, leefstyl

 

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The world’s worst foods: Empty calorie fats

CupcakeToday’s discussion is closely related to yesterday’s post on empty calorie carbs. But there are a couple of important peculiarities about the health impacts of these fatty treats… 

What’s so bad about empty calorie fats?

Just like empty calorie carbs, empty calorie fats give your body plenty of fuel, but no nutrients to repair the damages from burning this fuel. In the long run, this causes serious damage to the body – much like an engine that is run without oil changes and other maintenance.

There’s one type of empty calorie fat that is especially hazardous: trans fats. These fats are mostly found in margarine, shortening and vegetable oil – and any food that contains (or is fried in) these ingredients.

Luckily, the authorities are acting to outlaw this dangerous ingredient, but it’s worth checking the labels of fatty foods just to be sure.

After trans fats, saturated fat is the most problematic. Food labels also state the amount of saturated fat in any food, so this information is readily available to you.

Most sources put the safe limit of saturated fat at or slightly below 20 g per day. Go beyond that, and you will increase your risk of heart disease. Cancer is also associated with diets high in saturated fats.

Other fats (mono and polyunsaturated fats) are generally quite good for you and can represent 30-40% of your calorie intake without problems.

Some examples of empty calorie fats

Any food where the label lists plenty of fat (especially saturated fat) and virtually no nutrients fall in this category. Here are some examples:

  • Chips
  • Cake and icing
  • Cream and ice cream
  • Biscuits and crackers
  • Mayonnaise
  • Arguably also milk chocolate and bacon

Much like empty calorie carbs, the big problem is that these foods are truly delicious. Therefore, we’ll spend some time later in this chapter to build our defenses against these carefully engineered addictions.

But don’t worry, there won’t be any expectations to never eat any delicious treat ever again 🙂 Like most things in life, we just need a healthy balance.

 

The world’s worst foods: Empty calorie fats

 
Kommentare af op The world’s worst foods: Empty calorie fats

Posted by op 03/12/2019 in Gesondheid, leefstyl, Schalk Cloete Jnr., Uncategorized

 

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The world’s worst foods: Empty calorie carbs

After last week’s exploration of the world’s best foods, we must now turn our attention to the dark side of the food spectrum: that place where many good life years are sacrificed for fleeting endorphin highs.

Empty calorie carbs are the best place to start, since they represent the largest group of nutrient-free hyper-palatable carriers of degenerative disease.

What’s so bad about empty calorie carbs?

Our bodies need energy to live and live well. We cannot absorb energy from the sun like plants do. Instead, we get our energy from food which, directly or indirectly, comes from the sunlight captured by plants.

Unfortunately, the process of turning food into useful energy in our bodies is rather messy. Like any chemical processing facility, this conversion process leads to plenty of wear & tear and produces lots of waste products, some of which are quite toxic.

Repairing the wear and tear, removing the waste, and neutralizing the toxins is a full-time job. And these maintenance functions depend on a wide range of nutrients that occur naturally in all whole foods.

The problem is that our supermarkets are filled with shiny packets of super tasty foods that offer lots of calories, but no nutrients. In other words, these foods give your body plenty of fuel, but zero maintenance. It’s much like running an engine on some low-grade fuel and never servicing it.

Empty calorie carbs further fuel this fire by bypassing the body’s natural satiety response. These carbs are mostly simple sugars that can be broken down and absorbed very easily. Hence, the feeling of fullness arrives very late. In addition, these foods trigger a chemical response in the body (sugar rush) that easily turns into an addiction, driving additional over-consumption.

Lastly, although empty calorie carbs don’t offer nutrients, they often come with plenty of additives, such as preservatives, sweeteners and colorants, that may have significant adverse health effects.

The best known lifestyle disease caused by empty calorie carbs is type-2 diabetes, but it is also linked to several other big killers like heart disease and cancer.

Some examples of empty calorie carbs

This basically includes all kinds of snacks with lots of sugar or other refined carbohydrates (a.k.a. the White Death).

  • Soft drinks
  • Candy
  • White bread
  • Cake and cookies
  • Pastries
  • Sugary breakfast cereals

These hyper-palatable treats are engineered to maximize our cravings, forcing billions to get the calorie/nutrient ratio all wrong.

Hopefully, society will eventually evolve to the point where these foods are taxed to correctly reflect their true cost and labeled with health warnings like cigarettes are today. Until that day, we’re on our own against these carefully engineered addictions

The world’s worst foods: Empty calorie carbs

 
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Posted by op 02/12/2019 in Gesondheid, leefstyl

 

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Net een treetjie op ‘n slag is nodig

everydaymaynotbe-min2Die idee van “mini-habits” of selfs “atomic habits” is deesdae oral om ons. Doodeenvoudig: Stel vir jouself sulke klein doelwitte dat jy feitlik nie kan misluk nie. Sodoende verseker jy eintlik jou sukses en word dit soveel makliker om vol te hou met wat jy ook al wil verbeter in jou lewe. Hier is die idee van net met 1% verbeter in ‘n week:
(Moenie skrik vir die grafiek nie – jy kan hom maar ignoreer ook! 🙂 )

A 1% improvement sounds like nothing, right? Anyone could become 1% better in a week if they tried.

However, when you unleash the superpower of consistency on this simple idea, it takes on a whole new form. The numbers tell the story:

  • Improve by 1% every week for a year and you’ll be 66% better. Not bad.
  • 2 years? 179%.
  • 5 years? Thanks to the power of compounding, 5 years of 1% weekly improvements will make you a whopping 13 times better!
  • After 15 years (only a third of a standard career), it gets pretty ridiculous: 2325 times better! Now we are getting to the realm of billionaires, presidents and great inventors.

These numbers told me to end each Supermorning week with a 1% improvement post. So, here are my top 3 improvements over the past week:

  1. Started this blog and kept to my daily post commitment
  2. Totally clean eating habits and 10 hours of light-to-moderate exercise
  3. Published an article in the largest publication on Medium

In fact, this week was much more than 1% improvement 🙂 You can see the sharp upwards spike in my daily consistency data below (the little red bit). I really hope I can maintain this performance!

Did you grow your 1% this week? Any plans for how you can grow 1% next week? Feel free to share – a little commitment here could make a big difference!

The graph shows my cumulative performance against a target of 35 points daily. Up to now, I have only been averaging a bit more than 33 points per day, hence the slow downwards trend. 33 points per day is still good, but I really want to get back above the 35 point target!

Week 1 of getting 1% better

 

 

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Goed begin is half gewin!

SonopEk het oor baie jare heen op die harde manier geleer dat my dag grootliks bepaal word deur hoe ek hom begin. Dalk het ek ‘n bietjie gehelp dat my liewe kind dit soveel vinniger geleer het en dit nou in so ‘n mooi projek kan omsit. Hier is die betrokke post, met die skakel heel onder:

Win the morning, win the day

Cliché, but true. We all know this, but very few of us manage to do it with any degree of consistency.

Perhaps part of the reason is that we have never really stopped to think about why it’s so important.

So, let’s do that now. Imagine you’re in a maze with doors all around you. When you go through one door, you are faced with several new doors to choose from. This will be our life analogy for the day.

Yes, each day is a series of choices. And each choice we make shapes the next choices available to us. 

The diagram on the right shows why it is so important to start the day with the right choices. If you screw up the first couple of choices, the day is likely to be a mess.

We’ve all been there. Snooze the alarm, run late for work, skip breakfast, run out of energy, grab some unhealthy snacks, get home tired and frustrated, snap unnecessarily at a loved one, sooth the pain with some empty calories and equally empty entertainment, get to bed way too late, repeat.

On the other hand, starting the day right makes it so much easier to have a great day.And a great life is simply a long series of great days.

We’ll talk a lot more about morning routines in coming posts. But for now, let’s just start with building the habit of giving ourselves a fair shot at a great day by getting our asses up and running at the same time each morning (discussed yesterday).

Why not give this a try? A new post will be waiting for you every morning, giving you one minute of quiet reflection before life starts happening.

Win the morning, win the day

 

 

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