Health & Fitness Coach, Employee Wellness - Eat Clean, Get Fit, Be Healthy in NH
It’s no wonder people are so confused about how to eat right these days! I recently found this meal plan in a “health” magazine that was created by a dietician. While the meal plan isn’t completely atrocious, it’s not exactly as healthy as you might think. So, I decided to take this so-called “healthy food plan” and revamp it to show you what a healthy daily food plan should really look like!
a.m. Meals and Snacks
7a.m. Health Magazine Meal:
1 whole egg and two egg whites scrambled with onions, green peppers and tomatoes; 1 slice whole grain toast
This business about eating just the egg whites is nonsense—eat the whole eggs! Whole eggs that come from a healthy source contain a healthy balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. They are also a great source of protein. In fact, the proteins found in eggs have shown to help lower blood pressure (The Sunny Side of Eggs,Mercola.com.)
And what about the cholesterol? Cholesterol is not the bad substance it’s made out to be—it’s actually a healing substance that’s produced in your body and is present in every cell. Cholesterol is essential for growth and development, and it is needed to produce various steroids that protect against cancer, heart disease and mental illness (Nourishing Traditions,Sally Fallon.) Eating eggs does not increase your “bad” cholesterol nor does it increase your chances of heart disease.
Just be sure to eat free-range, organic eggs to ensure that you’re feeding your body the good stuff!
The grains used to make bread flour are highly refined, which means it’s basically like eating sugar. Therefore, bread should be consumed in limited quantities. I don’t recommend having it as a staple in your breakfast.
When you do buy bread, buy breads that are made with organic, sprouted grains and make sure that you can pronounce all of the ingredients on the label—you may be surprised by some of the additives that food companies put in your commercial bread!
You also need to consider the fact that many types of bread like wheat and rye contain gluten, a protein found in certain grains. More and more people are realizing that they may be dealing with “hidden gluten intolerance” and they feel better when they eliminate gluten from their diet completely. If you suspect that you could be gluten intolerant, try eliminating it for a minimum of three months. If you’re thinking that you just couldn’t live without gluten, believe me you can! I do it, and I don’t miss it!
9:30a.m. Health Magazine Snack:
One apple with low-fat string cheese
The Environmental Working Group (EWG.org) has listed apples on their “Dirty Dozen” list. What this means is that of the thousands of produce they evaluated, apples (among 11 other fruits and veggies) contain the highest residues of pesticides. Eating an all organic diet is challenging for most people, so a good place to start transitioning to organics is with the fruits and veggies you eat from the Dirty Dozen list. To learn more go to: www.FoodNews.org.
You should avoid anything low-fat or nonfat. Food processing companies remove the fat and replace it with chemicals like salt and sugar. And do you know what salt and sugar make you want to do? Eat more! Low-fat and nonfat foods only make you sick and fat, so do not put that garbage in your body!
Eat whole, organic cheese instead. Your body actually benefits from the healthy saturated fats that are naturally occurring in animal products like cheese. Saturated fats play many important roles in sustaining a healthy body such as maintaining the integrity of your cell membranes and bone structures, enhancing your immune system and protecting your liver from toxins.
11:30a.m. Health Magazine Snack:
4 ounces plain nonfat Greek yogurt topped with ½ cup Cheerios
As I said above, I suggest avoiding anything nonfat. Eat whole, organic yogurt instead. Organic yogurt comes from cows that have not been injected with hormones and antibiotics. The cows should also have been allowed to graze freely, eating mostly grass. The health of the cow directly impacts the quality of the milk used to make the yogurt.
Cheerios, despite their clever marketing, are not good for you. There really is no such thing as a healthy boxed cereal. The grains used in commercial cereals may not only be genetically modified and bleached, but they are often processed by high heat to create the fun shapes, which destroys most, if not all, of the nutrients. Commercial cereals are then “fortified” with vitamins. This processing also damages the digestive enzyme, phytase, which only makes cold cereals hard to digest. According to Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions,“studies show that these extruded whole grain preparations can have even more adverse effects on blood sugar than refined sugar and white flour!”
So what’s a healthy substitute for cheerios to put in your yogurt? I like to put fresh fruit like mixed berries. And for some crunch, I add ground flaxseeds and mixed nuts. You could also add granola—I like a raw granola made by “Go Raw,” but you could easily make your own. Be cautious of the commercial, store-bought ones because they have a ton of sugar and additives.
p.m. Meals and Snacks
1:30p.m. Health Magazine Meal:
One whole wheat pita filed with 1 tbsp hummus, 1 mushroom burger, 1 ounce part-skim mozzarella cheese and lettuce; ½ cup grapes; ½ cup steamed veggies with 2 tsp olive oil
Pita bread is touted as healthy form of bread, but like many other breads it is made with grains that are highly processed. With that said, I would omit the pita bread and eat the burger by itself with the veggies and fruit.
It’s interesting that all dairy products in the meal plan are low-fat or nonfat. If you’re going to eat cheese, I suggest that you eat organic cheese made from whole milk, not skim (nonfat) milk.
If you’re scared to switch to whole dairy products, don’t be! I used to be the queen of low-fat foods—I literally ate low-fat everything, but I found that these foods actually made me gain weight, not to mention gave me stomach issues! When I switched to whole, raw, organic dairy products I actually slimmed down. I personally don’t eat cheese, but I consume yogurt and raw milk on occasion and I feel energized and satiated when I eat them!
4p.m. Health Magazine Snack:
One banana and 1 ounce almonds
This is the only part of the meal plan that gets and A+ from me! A banana and almonds are a great snack—it’s the perfect mix of carbohydrates, proteins and fats to keep you feeling energized and satiated. My only suggestions would be to buy organic when whenever possible and choose raw nuts over the roasted and flavored ones.
7p.m. Health Magazine Meal:
Mixed green salad with ½ avocado and 3 ounces tofu; ½ cup whole-wheat pasta with ¼ cup marinara sauce
Whole Wheat Pasta
Wheat pasta is highly processed, which means it converts to sugar very quickly and impacts blood sugar levels. Therefore, pasta should be eaten occasionally. That is, of course, if you can tolerate gluten.
As I mentioned above, wheat products contain the protein gluten, and many people are developing an array of health issues because they can’t tolerate it. Some tasty and healthy, gluten-free alternatives to wheat pasta are brown rice pasta or quinoa pasta. These two grains do not contain gluten and are easier to digest. There are also organic varieties available. A good rule of thumb when buying pasta is to look to see that it contains only one ingredient—the grain used to make the pasta and nothing else!
Tofu is made from soy, and soy is not the healthy food it’s made out to be. First, about 90% of soy products are genetically modified, so unless it says “non-GMO” you don’t know if it has been or not. Second, soy contains phytoestrogens called isoflavones, which mimic and sometimes block estrogen; this may contribute to irregular menstrual cycles, infertility and breast cancer. Third, soy contains enzyme inhibitors and mineral blockers, which block enzymes needed for protein digestion and prevent the absorption od minerals (i.e. calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc). So, eating too much soy could contribute to protein and mineral deficiencies.
If you don’t like to eat meat, there are other sources of protein that you can put on your salad like hard or soft boiled eggs, avocado, nuts, seeds, or cottage cheese. I often put scallops or shrimp from my dinner leftovers on my lunch salad the next day.
Well, there you have it! Those are the changes I would personally make with this meal plan.
By the way, did you notice that 4 of the 6 meals in this meal plan contain processed grains? That’s a lot of processed foods for one day! I typically recommend to my clients that they aim to eat “clean” for 90% of their meals. For example, if you’re eating 6 meals a day times 7 days per week, that’s 42 meals each week. That leaves you about 6 meals each week to allocate for your 10%. With the “health” magazine meal plan, you’d be eating 28 meals with processed foods each week!
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To your healthy meal plan,