Eating Your Way to Success

Did you know the World Health Organization estimates that proper nutrition would increase productivity by 20 percent? It seems incredible, but simple changes in diet can have a profound effect on work performance. 

The Standard American Diet consists of copious fast food, junk food, microwave meals, sodas, and candy - in short, anything loaded with artificial ingredients or devoid of real nutrition. Consuming this type of food impedes our cognitive abilities and overall health. We seem to save money and time, but in the long run, a poor diet steals from us through medical costs and lower productivity. 

We all have a rough idea of what’s bad for our bodies. Do your best to ditch:

  • Refined foods (usually white)
  • Highly processed foods (usually with long lists of ingredients)
  • Most fats and oils (e.g. lard, margarine, corn oil, and processed vegetable oil)
  • Excessive sodium (above 2300 mg a day)
  • Excessive amounts of meat, particularly red meat (stick to small portions of poultry or fish)
  • Excessive sugar, in particular refined, white sugar and all types of corn syrup

What is ideal for optimum nutrition? Here are some guidelines:

  • All vegetables, in large portions
  • All fruits, in moderate to large portions
  • Whole grains in moderate portions (brown or wild rice, quinoa, barley, spelt, oats)
  • Nuts, seeds, and legumes in small to moderate portions
  • Healthy oils, such as coconut, olive, canola, and sunflower oils

As a general rule, try to prepare as much of your food as you can with the freshest ingredients possible. Seek out organic produce, as it is grown in richer soil, is pesticide-free, and non-GMO. There are many ways to buy quality produce economically, such as:

  • starting or joining a Food Buying Club
  • asking for “seconds” from local farmers
  • growing some of your own at home or in a community garden
  • searching for great deals at various stores and farmers markets

Final Tips

It is important to ensure you’re getting all the nutrients you need. A very helpful tool is a nutrition tracker, which you can find online or in a mobile app store. Some top-rated ones are MyFitnessPal, CRON-O-Meter, and SparkPeople

If you’re clueless on how to prepare healthy meals, there are excellent resources out there. You can take the 10 Day Pledge or receive free meal plans on 100daysofrealfood.com. The Whole Foods blog also has free recipes and weekly meal plans. 

Treat your body with care, and it will treat you well in turn with increased energy, improved mental function, and well-being!

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