As you are aware it is important to eat correctly and as the saying goes ‘you are what you eat’! If you eat too much you tend to be overweight. On the opposite end of the spectrum if you eat too little you will be thin and suffer from malnutrition.
It is crucial that you understand what eating healthy really means. This short report will cover the basics of the Food Pyramid along with an explanation of the food groups. In addition we will cover what it means to suffer from malnutrition and why this can happen no matter where in the world you live.
At the end of the report we’ll talk about how combining certain foods together can benefit you too. This secret combining of foods can really help jump start your metabolism and get you losing weight fast. This section will also include information about eating raw foods and detoxing.
Why Food is Important
Everyone knows and accepts that you need food to survive. Finding food and water has been at the centre of our existence as humans. Sure we can survive without our homes, our cars and fancy clothes, but we cannot survive for more than a week without food and water!
Evidence of this can be seen in many third world countries where malnutrition is rampant. They have food but what food is available does not meet the daily nutritional standards for the body. There is often not enough food for the day and many people are lucky to eat once a day! This is not enough food especially for growing children.
Your body requires food for energy every movement you make requires some type of effort from your body. This effort needs fuel to function. Eating food keeps our body in top condition and ensures that your body performs correctly. All your vital organs keep working the way they should from the inside out. When you eat healthy foods you feel better and your hair and skin glow!
Anywhere you go today you are pounded with news and information on diets, new and old ones alike. All of this information can actually be bad news, as you feel so overwhelmed and don’t know which one to choose. What is the normal reaction? To do nothing at all and so you continue on the same path.
Some of the most popular diets today include low carb diets, the Atkins diet, the Paleo diet, the South Beach diet and more. Many of these are good diets while some are so restrictive that you will just never last on them for very long.
When looking for a new way to eat don’t consider it as a ‘diet’. Instead think of changing your eating habits look at it as a healthy lifestyle change. By changing your focus you are looking at the future and you simply don’t associate the word diet with a long term plan.
You may be the type of person that likes to follow a regimented plan, if so following a diet is a great choice. Just read this report and then apply the principles when looking for a diet to follow. What you might discover is that you like aspects of several diets. If this is the case there is nothing wrong with mixing and matching the elements and coming up with something that works for you!
So let’s get started! Before taking action and starting a diet it is important to have a basic understanding of nutrition and how it affects your body.
The Food Pyramid
There are four basic food groups which have now been placed into a Food Pyramid for a guide on eating healthy. This guide shows you how many servings of each group you should be eating per day. The ones at the wider base offer more servings while the top portion includes foods that you should be eating sparingly.
The concept of the Food Pyramid is to eat servings from each of the different levels every day. This provides you with balance and variety in your diet. This way you can be certain of providing the correct amount of nutrients to your body every day. By eating in this manner you can easily improve your eating habits quickly, plus you will feel that much healthier too.
As you will notice from the diagram above the grain group is at the base of the pyramid. The foods in this section are mainly cereals, pasta, breads and rice. You should be eating between 6-11 servings from this group each day.
This food group consists mainly of carbohydrates which provide your body with energy and fuel. You will notice that professional athletes will often load up on carbs before a big race. Especially those who participate in marathons, iron man competitions and long distance cycling events.
The next group that you should be eating larger amount from are the fruit and vegetable groups. These two groups are a rich source of vitamins and minerals. In addition they provide fibre which is extremely important for your digestive system. At least 3-5 servings of vegetables and 2-4 serving of fruits per day is recommended.
The next level of the Food Pyramid contains meat and dairy products. This group is rich in protein which is essential for everyone. Protein and diary come from animal and plant sources and includes foods such as milk, fish, eggs, poultry, nuts, beans and cheese.
These foods contain important nutrients as well as protein. Calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc and B vitamins are essential for bone and muscle development. This food group is extremely important for children as they require more meat and dairy products in their diet during their growing years.
The top of the Food Pyramid contains fats, oils and sugars. This includes foods such as butter, margarine, oils, honey, sugar, sodas and all forms of sweet foods. These are the foods that are unfortunately wonderful to eat, taste great but provide your body with very little in the way of calories and nutritional value.
Protein – the best sources are found in:
Meat – beef, veal, lamb, pork, chicken, turkey, duck, goose
Fish – trout, herring, salmon, pickerel, bass, red snapper, pike, shrimp and shell fish
Legumes – dried beans, peas, lentils and peanuts
Dairy – milk, yogurt, cottage cheese and cheese
Nuts – almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, pecans and filberts
Carbohydrates – the best sources include:
Cereals – wheat of all kinds, Indian corn, rice, rye, barley, and oats
Tubers – potatoes, sweet potatoes and Jerusalem artichoke
Legumes – limas, navy beans and other kinds of beans, peas, lentils and peanuts are starchy. Green limas and young peas contain more starch than the other vegetables
Nuts – Acorns, dried chestnuts and coconuts
Fats and oils
The chief sources of our fats are:
Dairy products — cream, butter and some rich cheeses
Fatty fish – herring, shad, salmon and trout
Legumes – some kinds of peanuts are very oily, and so are soy beans
Nuts – almonds, Brazil nuts, filberts, hickory nuts, pecans, English walnuts, butternuts, cocoanuts, pistachios and acorns are rich in oil
All fruits fall into this source but some are high in natural sugar such as grapes.
Apples, lemons, oranges, peaches, pears, strawberries, apricots, avocadoes, blackberries, cherries, cranberries, currants, gooseberries, grapes, huckleberries, blueberries, mulberries, nectarines, olives, pineapples, plums, raspberries and whortleberries.
Melons – watermelon, muskmelon, cantaloupe, casaba, honey dew, etc
Rhubarb stalk and tomatoes
Bananas, prunes, grapes, raisins, dried currants, figs, dates and persimmons
Vegetables – you have lots of choices here including:
Asparagus, beets, cabbage, carrots, turnips, parsnips, cauliflower, cucumber, egg plant, lettuce, okra (gumbo), onions, radish, summer squash, tomatoes, spinach, kohlrabi, kale, Brussels sprouts, cone artichoke, chard, string beans, celery, turnip tops, lotus, endive, dandelion, oyster plant, rutabaga and garlic.
The principal salad vegetables include:
Lettuce, celery, endive, romaine, chicory, tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbage, celery cabbage, parsley, field lettuce, and cress are suggested. All leaves that are relished may be used for salad purposes.
To understand malnutrition you need to know what it means. The term malnutrition is defined as ‘an imbalance between the body’s demand for nutrition and the availability of nutrients or food’.
When your body does not receive the correct amount of nutrients over time you body suffers. You will become weak, your immune system stops functioning correctly and your overall health diminishes. Your body is deprived of nutrients and this in advance cases can lead to death.
Most people connect malnutrition with people who live in third world countries. It is true that this is where the highest majority of malnutrition is found. But it is possible for people living in other, more affluent countries to suffer from malnutrition as well.
Anorexia nervosa is a common condition found in most countries and is a form of malnutrition. The signs of this are seen as extreme weight loss and starts off by someone wanting to lose weight. However, their perception of how much weight they have loss becomes distorted and turns into a very serious disease. Anyone suffering from anorexia nervosa will need to seek professional treatment.
Malnutrition in third world countries is actually known as a protein-calorie type of malnutrition. This condition is extremely high in children living in these countries. Their bodies fail to develop and grow properly due to lack of food. Their internal organs and digestive system becomes damage. Many of these children suffer from starvation and ultimately die.
In certain circles obesity is also regarded as a case of malnutrition. This happens when a person’s body weight reaches more than 20% above the ideal recommended body weight. Instead of starving these obese people are consuming way too many calories. Damage to your organs can still occur with significant damage done to your heart, kidneys and liver. They are forced into working too hard and arteries become clogged which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
Other deficiencies can occur when you consume inadequate amounts of certain nutrients. This can be seen in people who suffer from iron, calcium and iodine. Lack of iodine can actually cause thyroid problems, while a lack of iron causes anemia.
How Your Digestive System Works
When you consume food the food is not in a usable form for your body. Your body must process the food so that it can extract all the valuable nutrients from everything you have just eaten.
Food must be changed into small enough molecules so that it can be transported throughout your body by your blood stream. To make this happen your body needs to digest the food.
The process of digestion involves mixing food with digestive juices and moves the food down your digestive tract. This process allows the larger pieces of food to be broken into smaller, more manageable molecules. Digestion begins the moment you start to chew your food and ends in your small intestine.
The Process of Digestion
Your digestive tract contains a wall that moves! This is done by large, hollow muscles that allow the movement to happen. This moving process helps pass your food from organ to organ in your body. This movement has the technical name of Peristalsis. You can relate this movement to a wave moving towards the beach.
After you have swallowed your food it is pushed along into the esophagus. The stomach and the esophagus meet at its base with a ring like muscle. This muscle is known as the lower esophageal sphincter. It works to keep the esophagus and the stomach closed from each other. As this sphincter muscle detects food approaching it relaxes its muscles allowing the food to pass into your stomach.
Your stomach now has three important tasks to do to this arrival of food. The upper portion of your stomach relaxes and stores the food and liquid which you just consumed. The second task is to mix up all of the food and liquid together and this is achieved by the stomach by using muscle action. The final task for the stomach is to empty these contents into your lower intestine.
These foods are not all emptied into your lower intestine at the same time. Certain foods such as protein take longer to be mixed up by the stomach. Carbohydrates are processed very quickly while fats take the longest amount of time.
Foods in your intestines are mixed with juices from your pancreas and liver. This mixture is then absorbed by your intestines and carried through your bloodstream in your body.
Your body is extremely smart and only absorbs the nutrients it actually needs. Some nutrients such as excessive fat are stored while others are pushed into your colon and excreted as bowel movements.
Why this Process is Important
The digestion process is very important as your body needs food to be turned into molecules before it can be used. These tiny particles can then be used by your cells effectively.
Your cells do a huge job for you. Cells help to make your skin, bones, muscles and organs. You can view cells as tiny building blocks for your body. The nutrients from your food help to repair cells and to make new ones. Once your body is nourished by your newly fed cells you will have more energy and feel revitalized.
There is one problem that can happen with this process and this happens when your body does not handle the digestive process properly. For many people your body does not absorb these nutrients properly, this is known as mal absorption.
When your body does not work correctly your body responds by showing this in different ways. Poor digestion occurs you may see any of the following signs:
- Weight loss
- Weight increase
- Gas pain
These symptoms will occur on a regular basis and will signal that something is wrong. So if you suddenly start experiencing any of these symptoms it could be related to your digestive system.
Secrets of Combining Foods
You have no doubt heard that there are benefits when eating certain foods together. This short report will show you which foods are eaten best together and why. The secrets of combining foods is not new, it has been around for years and actually dates back many, many years.
Food is a popular topic and a necessity of life. Tons of studies have been done on food and this led to many discoveries being made. Today it is not just food but our environment that impacts the way we look and feel. It is common for a person to start to panic when they look in the mirror and see they have put on a few pounds. Right away you start looking for ways to lose weight fast.
Combining foods to make you lose weight quickly is extremely popular. Who doesn’t want to lose weight fast? It is true that by combing the right foods you can improve your digestion, cholesterol levels and your metabolism.
Nutrition is a science and relates to everything to do with the body. Your body requires food to survive and all basic functions cannot be performed without adequate nutrition.
Food is classified as any substance that is composed of carbohydrates, water, fats and proteins. These food sources may be from plants, animals or other sources such as fungus. At one time food was found through gathering and hunting methods. In modern times farming, ranching, fishing, hunting and other methods are acceptable ways of finding food.
What Foods to Combine?
There are nine basic rules to know when combing foods:
- Eat acids and starchy foods at separate meals. Acids neutralize the alkaline medium which is required for starch digestion and the result is fermentation and indigestion.
- Eat food containing protein and carbohydrate at separate meals. Protein foods require an acid medium for digestion.
- Eat only one kind of protein food at a meal.
- Proteins and acid foods must be eaten at separate meals. The acids of acid foods inhibit the secretion of the digestive acids required for protein digestion. Undigested protein putrefies in bacterial decomposition and produces some potent poisons.
- Fatty foods and proteins should be eaten at separate meals. Some foods, especially nuts, are over 50% fat and require hours for digestion.
- Fruits contain natural sugar and proteins should be eaten at separate meals.
- Eat sugars (fruits) and starchy foods at separate meals. Fruits undergo no digestion in the stomach and are held up if eaten with foods that require digestion in the stomach.
- Eat melons alone. They do not combine with any other type of foods.
- Desserts should be eaten separately without combining with any other type of foods. Eaten on top of meals they lie heavy on the stomach, requiring no digestion there, and ferment. Bacteria turn them into alcohols and vinegars and acetic acids.
Eating the correct types of foods together can really help improve your digestion. Changing what you combine together can also help decrease stomach problems including stomach discomfort after eating.
Experts feel that eating similar foods together allows your stomach to work with less stress. One of the easiest improvements to make is to simply chew your food more completely before swallowing.
How Eating Food Combinations Can Affect Your Weight
As you age the most common concern is concerning your weight. It is known that as you age you do gain weight. This is because your body needs fewer calories and if you don’t cut down then your weight will increase.
No doubt you have tried all kinds of diet plans and exercised more. But did you know that by combining different foods you can lose weight quite easily!
Studies have shown that increasing your intake of fruit, vegetables, dietary fibre, vitamins C and B6, beta-carotene and folate can help in reducing weight.
Following the food combining principles above you want to start changing up your food combinations. For example fruits don’t digest as well when they are mixed with starchy foods. Instead you are much better off to eat fruit with yogurt as they both digest easily. Bananas are about the only foods that digest well with foods such as cereal and oatmeal. It is best to eat fruit as a snack on an empty stomach.
Other tips for losing weight include:
• Eat starches and proteins apart
• Eat fruit separately
• Try and leave 15 to 30 minutes between main course and dessert
Of course one of the best ways to lose weight is to increase your water consumption. Water helps to flush out the toxins in your body. By drinking more water you will feel less bloated and will lose body fat.
Detoxing Your Body
This is another way to simply flush out the toxins from your body. Who doesn’t want to have a clean body inside and out? With our environment today we are exposed to pollution, dirt and toxins in all of our surroundings as well as the foods we eat.
Detoxing your body can help remove toxins and radicals that can be responsible for all kinds of problems. Detoxifying your body is simply a method of treatment to rid all the harmful substances which have accumulated over time.
When you detox you are removing impurities from the blood in the liver, which is where toxins are processed for elimination. The body also eliminates toxins through the kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymph and skin. However, this system can become compromised, impurities aren’t properly filtered and every cell in the body is adversely affected.
You can naturally detox by combining foods properly. Your digestion will improve and this helps eliminate toxins in your body. The reason for detoxing your body is to feel healthy and to keep your body functioning properly.
A good detox program can help the body’s natural cleaning process by:
1) Resting the organs through fasting
2) Stimulating the liver to drive toxins from the body
3) Promoting elimination through the intestines, kidneys and skin
4) Improving circulation of the blood
5) Refuelling the body with healthy nutrients
A major detox program should only be done once a year but you can naturally detox by combining the right foods all year round. There are various ways to detox if you are looking for a more structured regimen.
Raw foods are an excellent choice and are very easy to digest as they have these enzymes to aid your body in digestion and other processes. Raw foods in their original state make them very digestible and so your body will no longer waste any energy when digesting them.
In addition raw foods are full of nutrients when you compare them to cooked foods. Junk foods are even worse and really only contain empty calories and practically no nutritional value. If you are looking for a snack then choose some type of raw food.
If you decide to eat more raw foods you can eat them whole or juice them. By increasing your intake of say carrots and celery you will notice a huge increase in your energy levels. In fact all vegetables help to boost your energy level!
Including more raw foods is easy and can be done by increasing your intake of:
• Salads – eat lots of fresh, green, organic vegetables. An ideal dressing is cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil with herbs, spices and orange or lemon juice. Another dressing idea is olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
• Juices – it’s best to get a good quality juicer and make your own juicer. Try not to buy the bottled juices from the store. Juicing at home will allow you to consume fresh juices with all the minerals, vitamins and enzymes that your body needs.
• Nuts and Seeds – raw, organic nuts and seeds, eaten in moderation they will provide your body with much needed protein along with good fats and calories for energy. Don’t overeat when it comes to nuts and seeds! Use them sparingly, and mix them into other foods like salads and raw vegan sushi.
• Fruits – if you’re not juicing them, eat them raw! Raw, organic fresh fruits are an excellent source of nutrition and a wonderful source of energy.
• Aloe Vera – this is somewhat of a miracle plant that contains beneficial properties. Aloe Vera juice provides many benefits, like healing and rejuvenation of your body’s cells. In fact, many people cut a leaf from the Aloe Vera plant and use the juice to apply to a cut or burn to make it heal faster. When taken as a juice, Aloe Vera helps heal the body and provides you with more energy. At the same time aiding in digestion and allowing more nutrients to be absorbed. Try to find the raw, organic Aloe Vera juice for best results.
As you can see the food combining system, as a whole, is simple and easy to understand. It evolved from studying the effects of gastric physiology and from understanding how enzymes and digestive juices really function.
What it comes down to is that it is not what you eat but how your body digests the foods you put into it. The type and quality of food you consume determines the amount of nourishment your body receives.
The entire concept of combining food is based upon the realization that certain combinations of foods are digested more easily and more efficiently than others.
When eating the right foods together your overall health improves. Not only will you feel better, you will lose weight, have more energy and sleep better at night. Who doesn’t want to look younger and be more energetic?
To receive the best benefits then try to eat high quality foods whenever possible. Avoid processed and junk foods as much as possible. Not only will your body benefit your wallet will too. Processed and take-out foods are notoriously expensive so what better when to save money and get your health back.