The typical standard American diet, commonly referred to as SAD, is exactly that. It is too high in calories, saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars, while it lacks sufficient nutrients from fruits and vegetables. Sometimes I think I’m going over the same old stuff, but then I look at the statistics and I realize if it’s not you who is having trouble, you sure know someone who is. Heck, my uncle had is leg amputated because of diabetes. He’s one of roughly 73,000 people each year who have that done.
Other staggering statistics that should make you shake in your boots are below.
According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, The number of Americans living with diseases related to diet and inactivity are:
Obesity – 78,100,000
High Blood Pressure – 66,900,000
Heart Disease – 26,600,000
Cancer – 20,073,000
Osteoporosis – 9,900,000
Stroke – 6,400,000
That is over half of our country. And while I live in a very health conscious place, I realize that with the internet, we really can have an greater impact than just our little town. So, what can we do to fix the problem? Well, the first thing is to make sure you get yourself on track, then begin influencing those close to you, and finally get the message out to the world that it is time to change. It’s time to take back your power and live the life you’ve always dreamed you could. I go into this diatribe of motivation because it seems that food is a huge trigger for many people and if we could only control our eating habits we would be a much healthier society with much cheaper health insurance premiums and many fewer health issues.
Here are 4 tips to help you improve your life through nutrition:
Consume less sugar. If there was one thing I would recommend it would be to stop drinking sugary drinks. Sugar has been shown to feed cancer cells, it’s been shown to be a major cause of Type 2 Diabetes, and a whole host of other problems. My recommendation, if you’re not a cold turkey quitter, is to slowly curb your sugar intake. Your body will adjust. So if you’re drinking & eating 5 servings of sugar everyday, see if you can make it 4 for a week. See how that feels, if you find that you’re okay, which I know you will be, go to 3, then 2, then 1, and none if possible.
Eat more vegetables. Sounds simple right? Then why don’t more and more people do it? My guess is instant gratification abounds. Too many of us want things now and we’re not willing to wait. We’re not willing to wait for a meal, we want it fast. We’re not willing to cook our food, it takes work. It’s a sad state of affairs, but in order to improve we must take in more veggies. Organic if possible, and there is hope, even Costco is carrying a lot more organic options than it did just a few years ago.
Stop eating fried foods. When food is fried it tastes oh so good, I know. Those fries, that chicken, even fried fish is a staple in many areas. The problem is your essentially boiling all the nutrients out of your dish and most oils that are used are unhealthy. If you’re going to do anything, I would recommend you sauté your food in extra virgin olive oil. It’s the next best thing to frying and it still tastes great! Olive oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds are all great sources of healthy fats which you want to make sure you’re adding to your diet.
Lower your carbohydrate intake. One of the main reasons so many people get Type 2 Diabetes is because they overstimulate their pancreas. Your pancreas is meant to process about 50-60gms of carbohydrates per hour or per sitting. Professional cyclists are taking in that amount during the Tour de France, but a normal human being should not be. And if you’re taking in more than that amount, the excess turns into fat, thus our obesity epidemic. And remember a banana has 34gms of carbs and a bowl of oatmeal has 30gms. If that’s your breakfast you’re already over your limit. If you have coffee with 2 sugars you’re on your way to becoming diabetic. I can’t emphasize this one enough, you must start watching your carbohydrate intake. Make them good carbs within the healthy limit and watch the excess pounds slip away.
All of this will help you sleep better, lower your stress levels, increase your energy, improve your digestion, and even help you sleep better. I’m sure you or someone you know has trouble with their diet. If shock therapy is necessary, go for it, but I also find that consistent effort and attention will help you make the changes you need. I’m always here to help if you need some encouragement or advice. Send me a message on social media @teddymcdonald. Otherwise, good luck, and stay healthy!
Originally published on the author’s website.