Q.I’m confused by all the talk about low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets. What is a healthy diet?
A. You’re not alone. The recent low-carbohydrate diet craze has many people wondering what they should and shouldn’t eat.
Not long ago, while eating a turkey sandwich with lettuce, avocado and mayonnaise on whole-wheat bread, it occurred to me that I could turn it into a low-carb lunch by discarding the bread. I laughed when I realized that 10 years ago, when I was a vegetarian, I would have discarded the meat — and five years ago I might have removed the mayonnaise and avocado because of their fat content.
Knowing how many calories I needed to get through my work day, I ate and thoroughly enjoyed the entire sandwich.
Vegetarianism can be a healthy way of eating, but most of the popular trends that influence our eating habits are geared toward losing weight – pounds which were probably gained because of poor eating habits to begin with.
Replacing an inadequate diet with a fad diet may create short-term gains but long-term losses, and do nothing to help you learn to eat in a balanced way.
Extreme low-carb, high-protein diets are not the answer. You need a wide variety of healthy foods that supply you with adequate nutrients. A balanced diet promotes good health and keeps you at your optimal weight.
Here are the basics of a healthy diet:
-Eat three meals a day, with snacks such as fruits between meals if you’re hungry.
-Eat whole grains, such as brown rice, whole-grain bread and whole-wheat pasta.
-Eat beans and legumes a few times a week.
-Eat moderate amounts (four to six times a week) of lean protein, such as fish, skinless poultry or eggs; if vegetarian, ingest adequate quantities of plant-based protein.
-If not lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy foods, eat nonfat organic dairy products.
-Eat plenty of organic fruits and vegetables.
-Use quality fats in your diet, such as olive oil for cooking and flax oil in salad dressings.
-Avoid processed foods, fast-foods, fried foods, soft drinks and non-nutritive sugary foods such as cookies, candies and pastries.
A healthy diet is simple and easy to follow. The good news is that once you’ve been on it for a while, sugary, fattening and processed foods lose their appeal.
Article was originally printed in the Honolulu Advertiser, honoluluadvertiser.com