For many people eating healthy and the question what is a healthy diet both mean something entirely different. Healthy food relies on being as fresh, untreated and natural as possible. Of course food preparation and healthy eating habits play a part as well. Each body metabolizes food differently, which also means that not one diet is right for everyone. A healthy diet may depend on preference, belief and purpose.
How does eating healthy influence shopping behavior?
For the freshest in season produce the local market is the best place to visit and for any products bought from supermarket shelves studying the labels is the key to making the right choice. Even if you believe that a product has not undergone any form of processing you might be taken by surprise. In many simple products a variety of ingredients are hidden, such as fats, salt, additives like coloring's or flavor enhancers and even a selection of natural and artificial sugars. These hidden ingredients all add an unknown parameter to the product and therefore to your diet. Often these additions fail to keep the original nutritional value let alone improve it.
For example the artificial addition of calcium to pasteurized milk cannot be properly utilized by the body. The milk’s original structure has been altered and enzymes and proteins that usually help with calcium absorption and digestion are destroyed.
Health is our greatest wealth and the best diet should support and maintain it.
The godfather of medicine Hippocrates who lived between 460BC to 370BC was known to correlate health to the environment as well as to living and eating habits. One of his most popular quotes is:
Eating healthy to regain and support health
Today we would call Hippocrates view on medicine as holistic. A great reference to how a holistic approach on nutrition involves body, mind and soul is Elaine Margaret’s site www.holisticnutritionforlife.com. She made an incredible journey only to return to her innate knowledge and to rebuild her health and life on the foundations of a holistic attitude.
Over the last decade diabetes has been a vast and fast spreading disease which has moved into the center of attention for many nations. Diabetes is complex, causes could include hereditary reasons, stress, viruses, pregnancy, being overweight or even as a result of medication. On her website www.diabetes-and-lifestyle.com Sharon gives valuable background information and tips on how to use the exchange diet and guidance on how to live well despite diabetes.
A gluten free diet is often adopted for a reason. Individuals suffering from celiac disease can find relief by avoiding wheat and its subspecies like spelt, semolina and durum. Also to be avoided are related grains like barley, rye, triticale and kamut.
Weight loss diets are numerous. Approaches to weight loss vary from low carbohydrate diets, low fat diets, support group approaches and counseling. The long term goal is to form healthy eating habits and to be making healthy food choices in combination with a healthy measure of regular exercise.
Other common temporary diets like fasting diets, cleansing diets or detox diets have health promoting objectives through re- balancing the body.
If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.
-- Hippocrates --
Some regional differences often appear in the form of eating habits. Diets often reflect the climate, resources and traditions of the region. These culinary differences make it exciting to take off on a culinary journey. The curries of India, the croissants and delicacies like snails in France, the sourdough breads and sauerkraut with sausages in Germany, the cheeses in Switzerland, in China stir fries and rice dishes and Mediterranean noodle dishes in Italy are all very unique.
Regional diet traditions may be combined with the nutritional recommendations passed down in the holy books of their religion. For example Christians draw on food teachings from the bible while Jews follow the kosher food regulations in the Torah. The Islamic population is instructed through the written regulation in the Koran. The Buddhist diet knows no restrictions yet many choose to refrain from any kind of meat or fish because of the possibility of humans having been re-incarnated into these life forms.
Eating healthy with contemporary diets
Organic diet: By eating healthy the organic way the intention is often to avoid GMO’s which are pesticides in plants and are commonly fed via plant foods to livestock. Farm animals should be free to roam on grassland, free of unnatural hormone traces and antibiotics. Another valuable point that is of concern is the reduction of the carbon footprint by buying locally in favour of freshness, ripeness and less transport distance.
Vegetarian diet: Vegetarians abstain from consuming poultry, seafood and the meat of any other animal. Sometimes vegetarians also exclude slaughter by-products such as animal derived rennet and gelatine. A strict vegetarian diet is then called veganism and excludes any dairy, slaughter by products, eggs and honey.
pestarian diet: fish but no other meat
ovo-vegetarian: includes eggs but no dairy,
lacto-vegetarian: includes dairy but no eggs
Macrobiotic diet: consist mainly of whole grains and beans and sometimes fish
Raw diet: This diet promotes eating foods raw and if cooked then the temperature must not be higher than 40°C (convert) to keep all of the enzymes and nutrients intact. Raw foods can include milk, cheeses, eggs, fish, meat and organs, but it can all the same become a raw-vegan diet without the dairy products, eggs and meat.
Paleo diet: The Caveman diet, stone-age diet or hunter-gatherer diet are other names for the paleo diet of the Paleolithic era. The ancient diet based on wild plants and animal is adapted to what is generally available. Fish, meat from grass- fed pasture raised animals, eggs and vegetables, root vegetables, mushrooms and nuts all belong to the diet plan. Grains, legumes, dairy products, potatoes and processed salt, sugar, and oils are excluded from this diet.
Other contemporary diets include:
Numerology diet: The goal is to choose foods that align with the highest vibrational energy of its consumer.
The motivation behind eating healthy with a chosen diet reaches from ethical reasons towards animal welfare concerns as well as to religious beliefs. Sometimes choices can be paired with reasons concerning health, politics, environment, culture, aesthetic or economic motivation. The choices are varied and there is not just one right solution for everyone. Therefore it is good to keep this in mind when inviting guest and check beforehand what their eating habits are.