Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Wellness Wheel: Eat.

In case you missed yesterday's post about Move....Last week I introduced our wellness wheel (WW) tool to help you assess your overall approach to your health. Our WW is based on the principals of good health we teach in our Move.Eat.Be. program.

This week, we are taking a closer peek at each segment and spoke of our wheel so you are better able to use this tool in your own life.

Today, we'll going to examine Eat., perhaps our favorite part of the wheel! There are many guidelines about what and how much you should eat each day. The real secret is there is no real secret. Yes, you are better off eating real, whole, natural and organic food (nothing in a box!). No, there aren't a single set of rules that apply to everyone. For the purposes of this article, we are going to include broad generalizations as long as you promise to understand this is not dogma for everyone to follow, simply some guidelines so you have a place to start. Part of Move.Eat.Be. is helping you explore what works best for you through a series of food experiments and self-awareness. Deal? Okay, good! Now let's get to it. 

Eat. has seven spokes which we'll explore below. 
  • Vegetables. Including lots and lots of whole, fresh (and organic whenever possible) vegetables is an excellent way to improve your health and wellbeing. Best: Many (five or more) servings of vegetables a day, many dark, leafy green ones and the rest of the rainbow of colors for balance.
  • Fruits. Fruits are also an important part of a healthy diet and bring you many nutrients and vitamins. Best: Lots (three to six) servings of fruits a day. All colors!
  • Whole grains. Like barley, bulgur, kamut, millet, quinoa, spelt, wild rice. While true whole grain bread and real oats, count as whole grains, most of what we have access to doesn't fall into the "true" and "real" category so beware. Best: Choose whole grains that look like they look when they're harvested and have three or more servings a day. 
  • Plant Protein. A great source of healthy amino acids, plant protein includes things like beans and lentils. Quinoa (also a whole grain) has lots of protein so you get bonus points! Also nuts and seeds fall into this category. As does tofu and whole soy beans (the things we now make out of soy beans - not so much, read why). Best: Get most of your daily protein from plants. 
  • Water. A healthy body likes plenty of water. A general rule of thumb is 64 ounces each day. Best: Replace all sugar-laden or fake drinks (vitamin, juices, ades, mixes, energy, powders, etc.) with water. 
  • Lean Meat. Whoa. The big controversy! This is where I have an opportunity to anger a significant portion of my readers. So, I won't... For me, a three or four servings of lean meat each week (in which I include eggs) makes me feel my best. I know this because I've tried lots of meat, no meat and a little meat. The right answer is different for everyone. Best: Experiment and find what works best for you. 
  • Treats. I happen to think a healthy relationship with food includes treats on occasion. For the most part it doesn't matter what treat you choose. What matters is enjoy them on occasion, in reasonable portions, and you enjoy them mindfully. Best: Two or three treats each week. Enjoy while doing nothing else (no TV, driving, computing, blogging, etc). 

Now that you know our Eat. wheel a bit better, we hope you'll use the tool and some experiments with your own Eat.  so you get to know your own body and what food works best for you. Bon Appétit!

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