The key to a healthy lifestyle is balance. Diet and exercise make up the majority of our lifestyle habits but other factors like accessibility, affordability and food security play a role as well. Overall, to be in optimal health, one must check their mental and physical health are in good functioning order. Nutrition can often be compared to as fueling the gas tank in your car. Maintaining your car requires regular checkups to ensure the engine and everything else attached to it are running optimally. The body needs fresh quality foods to burn cleanly and what we put into our bodies over the long run can determine potential health conditions.
Figure 1: 2018 Health Canada’s food guide. Sourced from: https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/food-guide-snapshot/
Health Canada came out with a revised food guide in 2018 and it has been very well received. ½ of the plate should be full of vegetables and fruits, ¼ of the plate should have protein and ¼ of the plate has your grains. Before this guide was revised, the amount of carbohydrates from pasta, rice and bread was too much. As a result of this trend, Canada saw higher rates of obesity related illnesses like diabetes type 2.
Now you may be wondering, if I am eating less carbohydrate/starchy foods, I am going to be hungry. Well, there are lots of healthier ways to mitigate this. Switching to more items that have whole grains versus processed does wonders for our bodies. There is more fibre which helps us feel fuller longer while maintaining our gut health. So, it is never a bad idea to switch to healthier eating.
Here are some tips on adopting a healthier lifestyle:
Drink less alcohol and drink more water
Opt to have salad dressing on the side (tons of hidden calories)
Eat more dark leafy greens
Aim to have 150 mins of moderate daily physical activity per week
Eat out less by cooking your own meals
Choose more whole grain vs. processed
Cheers to a healthier you,
Jamie Chan, Bsc. FNH, ACE-CPT.