You are what you eat. This is part two in a Marvelous Monday series during the month of June on Health, Fitness & Wellness. Consider your body a machine like a car. If you put good gas in the car, it will run, smooth and efficiently. If you were to put water or mud in the car, it would not go very far. In terms of the relationship between food and your body, fitness without good nutrition, you may be able to get by for short period of time.  However, in the long run, your body needs good nutrition to sustain your physical well-being, to give you the greatest chances for a long healthy life. Below are pretty much a common list of good nutrients that you would like to have part of your diet and nutrition regime for optimal health. I have read about this subject for most of my adult life. There’s always new data and information out there,but this is some of the most important things I have learned over the years, when it comes to nutrition for healthy body. Here we go…

vegetable salad on white ceramic bowl
Photo by Taylor Kiser / Unsplash

     Protein is a big factor when it comes to fueling your body. I realize this most when I taught school early in my career. I noticed there’s some kids who had very little energy in the morning. I would ask them what they had for breakfast and these kids who I noticed who had the least amount of energy either had not had breakfast or had had breakfast With little to no protein, like a bowl of cereal or the school breakfast of French toast and syrup. Not a good way to start the day and I agree breakfast is the most important meal of the day and protein helps the brain and body function at its best (I would tell my students and our own children that protein is ‘Brain Food.’). In terms of protein for breakfast you’re looking at eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese, protein powder paired with some fruit or vegetables for a protein shake. This is a good way to get you going in the morning.  When shopping for protein powders, read labels, looking at the ingredients and nutrients that agree with your body. If you have digestive issues or problems with milk, keep this in mind as you do your research.  Taste is important too. It is possible to find a good tasting powder that has what you need in it.  We used the same protein powder for several years and a couple years ago, I decided to do some research and went with a different one that includes more nutrients and I like that because it means less supplements to add to my diet. Set up your cabinet by your blender with your protein powder and add additional supplements needed for smoothie preparation, which may include a smoothies glass or favorite travel cup, that will allow for you to take on the go if you need to. Many times I am heading out the door to a class with my protein powder shake, so make sure you have a lid so it does not spill, making a kink in your morning routine. A lot of people don’t include enough protein in their diet so as you go through the day be mindful of this, including a protein snack mid- morning to make sure that is part of your routine, along with a lunch and dinner that allow for enough as well. This will help you get through the day with the maximum amount of energy to do the things you need to do. The mayo clinic recommends about  25 to 35% of your calories should come from protein so if you eat a 2,000 cal diet per day that would be about 500 to 700 cal from protein. Start paying attention to how much protein you are consuming each day and make sure you get enough.

There are a variety of protein powders. Here is the one in our kitchen. It is a subscription, which I usually shy away from, but it is very easy to edit the subscription and sign in to account to do so. They have a very good rewards program as well. Talk to your friends and see which one they use, ask them for a sample to try. Do your homework and find one that tastes good and has everything you are looking for in it.

     Another component part of a good diet is carbohydrates. Carbohydrates can be found in foods such as pasta, whole grain bread, brown rice, fruits and vegetables. These foods have a low-fat content but will provide energy, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Carbohydrates are required for energy to perform physical activities.  Look for carbs with low sugar which will not raise blood sugar quickly.bad carbs s, like white bread, cookies and sugary sodas, will cause blood sugar to rise quickly.

yellow and black water tumblers
Photo by Andy Hall / Unsplash

     Next, adequate water is necessary for the body to function properly, another important factor in a healthy diet. The formula that I usually give when I’m teaching fitness classes is for you to take your bodyweight, cut that number in half and there is the approximate amount of water you should be drinking per day. Here’s an example, if a person who weighs about 140 pounds, cut that number in half, which would be the number 70, so that person should drink about y0 ounces of water per day. If it’s very hot out, you’d want to bump that number up a little if you have a 4 ounce glass of wine, add 8 more ounces . Keep in mind, that if you are feeling thirsty, you are already at least 20% dehydrated. Filter or purified water is best. Alkaline water has become very popular over the last few years. You can obtain alkaline water at the store or through the purchase of an alkaline water machine to sit on the counter in your kitchen laundry room.  Alkaline water helps balance the bodies pH to help it work most efficiently. There’s a lot of good information out there alkaline water and it’s benefits to read up on. Keep track of how much water you’re drinking daily either by getting a huge water jug filling it with the amount of water you should be drinking each day, or keep track of how many times you’re filling up your favorite water bottle. If you have children, make sure that they drink enough water each day. If you care for elderly family members, check on them.  Many older people end up in the ER for an IV because they are dehydrated.

     Next, good fats are part of a healthy diet.  fats comes in different forms, such as saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated. Fat usually has a negative connotation but it is an important nutrient that helps the  body absorb fat-soluble vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin E. These vitamins can only be absorbed with the help of fat. Fat provides our body with energy and it helps us keep our blood pressure under control. good fats come in many different forms. For example, flaxseeds, of alpha linolenic acid, which is good for cardiovascular health ground. Ground flaxseeds are easier to digest and they can be added to smoothies, yogurt and baked goods. Fatty fishes are another good source of good fat. They are a great source of mega 3 fatty acids and many nutritionist consider it a good thing to include fish fatty fish in your diet at least twice a week. Wild caught over farmed is better whenever possible for higher doses of omega-3 fatty acids less mercury. another good fat is olives. This could be in the form of olives or olive oil. Olives include unsaturated fat, which is associated with lower LDL, which is bad cholesterol and healthy HDL, which is good cholesterol. You could toss them into a pasta dish or salad or just a snack on them. Avocado is another popular good fat.  They’re high and unsaturated fat. There’s also high fiber and avocados and they contain more potassium than bananas. One of my favorite ways to use avocados is to mash them and spread on toast a nice with a nice whole-grain bread. Another good fat is coconut, which contains medium chain triglycerides, which is a special type of fat that the body can use for quick fuel which also has anti-inflammatory effects. You can add unsweetened coconut to your favorite smoothies, yogurt or baked goods. Nuts are also good for you and contain a healthy blend of omega-3 fatty acids, which which are good for heart health and inflammation. There are a lot there are a lot of good choices to get good fats from.

     Fiber is another component of a healthy diet. You can get fiber in the form of vegetables, fruits, nuts and grains.  Not all sources of fiber are the same for example, one cup of broccoli has 2.5 g of fiber whereas one cup of macadamia nuts has 12 g of fiber. A cup of broccoli rabe has 1 g of fiber, look for fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber for example, one cup of blackberries has 8 g of fiber.  Do your research and include 25 to 38 g of fiber per day, which is what most nutritionist say that healthy adult should include in their diet. Fiber is going to help your food get through the body so that your body can work most efficiently.

     Lastly, vitamins are key nutrients in a healthy diet as well. Some of these you will get from your smoothie protein powder or your diet. It’s important to look up what you’re eating and where you need to supplement. When looking at supplements, you want to read labels see what kind of fillers are in them, and purchase from  reputable sources. There’s some vitamins that makes sense to spend a little more for a better quality. Where is there are others where there’s little difference in quality when it comes to spending more money. Do you research and homework and get the best vitamins for your needs.  Vitamin A helps us maintain healthy tissue and bone tissues, while vitamin B6 helps us make red blood cells and maintain overall brain function. Vitamin D and C help the body’s immune system. Decide which nutrients you need and make sure your diet reflects what you need. 

     In conclusion, Any exercising you do require energy. energy can only be provided to the body with the good quality food. Proper nutrition and physical exercises can reduce the risks of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and some cancers, along with some associated disabilities. I wrote about this last week. A balanced diet containing carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals, fat, fiber, and water also promotes healthy weight loss and provides you with an enhanced metabolism that in turn, helps you with the physical exercise of all kinds.

     Read labels and pay attention to what you’re eating. If this is new to you, you might want to write down what you eat in a food journal so you keep track of what is going into your body.  There are so many factors when it comes to good nutrition if it’s beneficial, you may want to hire a dietitian or if your healthcare practitioner, where you go to for your yearly physical, does blood work to check your nutrients that may be helpful. Cleveland Clinic Harvard Medical School, and Tony Robbins partnership of Fountain of Life are three newer programs where patients go, to have their overall health evaluated. Most insurance do not cover these programs they’re out of pocket. What they do is a battery of tests, blood work, assessments.Following all  data is gone over by a doctor, your results are compared through artificial intelligence with patients your same age around the world And recommendations are made. Usually there is a nutritionist on board and other health professionals to assist the patient get their physical wellness in order. There’s usually a membership involved and there are tele-health monthly or bi-monthly virtual appointments so the patient has accountability. Tony Robbins has a book called Life Force where he explains this new of approaching healthcare in terms of wellness, instructing the patient  rather than just seeing the patient when there’s a problem. It’s a different type of a approach. The doctors who practice this type of wellness medicine don’t just treat the symptoms of a problem they will question, what is causing the problem and treating the cause of the problem. Tony Robbins explains it all well and the Fountain of Life clinics are growing as right now just one of New York, Texas and two in Florida. Dr. Mark Hyman has a book on the program at the Cleveland Clinic. Wellness is a hot topic right now.  You may want to add some of these books to your list of books to read, to pick up at the library or to listen to an audio.  There are good resources full of excellent information to help you attain optimal wellness for day-to-day life.

     Once you get started on this journey, your path of wellness, one thing leads to another. If this is all new material to you, it  may seem overwhelming.  However, once you start reading and learning about what your body needs, it becomes part of your day today, life, you can start with something as simple as water. I gave you the formula up above fill your water bottle or water bottles in the fridge based on the formula I gave you and make sure that you drink that much water tomorrow. That will become part of your routine. Next start with breakfast and making sure you eat a good breakfast, that includes enough protein, followed by a good midmorning snack also with adequate amount of protein and then total up your protein at the end of the day making sure you’ve satisfied your daily requirement. Then, you just go on from there, you can use my list up above as nutrients that are important or you can read and develop your own. Regardless, what’s most important is that you start on a path or continue on a path if you’re already there for good nutrition. If there are other people in your home and your family, whose nutrition you are responsible for, educate them as to what the new normal will be in your kitchen. you might not want to start cold turkey, but start educating yourself and those who love, little by little, reading labels mindful of what you’re eating and drinking. Moving forward, the better you eat the better you will feel, and the more energy you will have for your workouts and day to day life. Like I mentioned last week, find something you like doing and get moving. Next week, another good lesson in this health and wellness series in the month of June. Wishing you a great day 🌼

Author, Mary Yana Burau.