Losing weight isn't rocket science - follow these basic tips for some ideas
In the last article in this series on diet, I'll reiterate some basics
If you stick to a diet based on fresh fruit and vegetables, with as much of it eaten in as close to its natural state as you can, with small amounts of proteins such as meat, fish, nuts and cheese, and small amounts of complex carbs such as wholemeal organic bread, you will quickly become very healthy.
You will also drop weight if you're carrying an excess, and you will not be hungry while doing so, because you will eat your fill at every meal.
You will receive all the nutritional requirements your body needs, and in the correct way, rather than via vitamin supplements. And you will feel packed with energy.
If, until now, you've followed a more unhealthy diet, however, introduce your changes gradually. If you don't, you will almost certainly get diahorrhea, constipation or flatulence. These three things are enough to put anybody off a healthy diet! Your body needs time to get used to doing things properly, especially eating raw food. Remember to chew and chew and chew when you eat.
Also remember - all things in moderation, including moderation. A pizza once a month won't kill you as long as you eat properly the rest of the time. Nor will a blowout at McDonald's (although you may find that its appeal certainly wanes). But don't make a habit of eating out.
Eating out used to be an occasional luxury but in today's busy times, it's become normal to eat out several times a week - indeed, some people barely eat at home at all any more. But eating out on a regular basis is a recipe for poor health and weight gain. Restaurant food may be delicious, it may be beautifully presented, but it is not designed to be nutritionally balanced - to eat properly, you must prepare your own food.
For birthdays, Christmas and special occasions such as wedding anniversaries, the DH and I eat a bang-up five-course restaurant meal that costs an arm and a leg. It is fantastic, and we look forward to each and every occasion. But we don't make a habit of it.
Do's and don'ts
* Cut out sugar from your diet entirely. Replace it, occasionally, with honey if you have to. There is no reason to eat sugar at all - if offers no health benefits and gives us many problems from tooth decay to diabetes. Human beings are naturally programmed to desire sugar because it's a high energy food, but in nature it is a rare beast - our bodies aren't designed to eat it on a regular basis. Cutting out sugar may be a shock at first, but once you're used to it, anything with added sugar will taste unbearably sweet. The first three to six weeks are the hardest - after that, you're home free. Cutting out sugar obviously means cutting out items such as chocolate, cakes, biscuits, patisserie etc, but these are all processed foods and should be avoided anyway (again, have a piece of cake on a special occasion, such as your birthday).
* Cut out salt. A pinch or two when you're cooking is ample. Don't put salt on the table. Even a teaspoon of salt a day (which isn't much) is seriously detrimental to your health. When you use salt, make sure it's grey sea or rock salt with no additives.
* Treat dairy products as food, not drink. Don't have milk or yoghurt with meals, but in between meals, as a meal in themselves, in order for your digestion to work on them fully. Incidentally, it won't do you any harm to cut out milk and milk products altogether if you wish to. Milk is designed for baby animals, not adults, and human beings lose their ability to digest milk well at about the age of three, with the decline of the enzymes renin and lactase. Nor are we in any way designed to process cow's milk, which is much higher in casein than is human milk. You won't lack for calcium in cutting out milk as long as you eat plenty of green, leafy vegetables and nuts.
Personally, I enjoy dairy, but I only eat fermented milk products such as home-made yoghurt, and hard cheeses, which are virtually lactose-free, and even these only in small quantities.
Treat the following as poison:
This is one good reason for avoiding processed food - if you avoid it altogether, you won't have to endlessly read around the labels.
Be cautious about the following:
fermented foods such as soy, nuoc nam and tamari
Reduce the following:
high-fat meats such as beef and pork
Eat modest amounts of these:
lean meats such as chicken, turkey, duck, guinea-fowl and rabbit
cheese and yogurt
Eat as much as you like of the following:
Remember, in the end, no-one else can eat for you. If you have a weight problem, or are not fit and healthy, look first at your diet because, fundamentally, you are what you eat.