Never Say Diet
You'll never go hungry if you follow the advice of Sally Kravich, a holistic nutritionist with a bicoastal practice in New York and Los Angeles.
"The proper guidelines for nutrition should be six to eight vegetables, three to four proteins, two to three fresh fruits, two healthy fats, and one to two healthy starches per day in order to promote greater health and longevity," says Kravich, author of Vibrant Living. Choose organic foods, and you'll eliminate all chances of consuming harmful chemicals and pesticides.
Add a Nutritional Boost
"One should still take extra supplementation," Kravich says. She likes Nature's Sunshine Products, which carries "the best single and herbal combination formulas available anywhere," she says, due to "very expensive and extensive quality control." Products include supplements for women's health, men's health, probiotics/friendly bacteria, digestive aids/enzymes, and mental stress/well-being. Among Kravich's favorites: chlorophyll capsules to boost the immune system, Probiotic Eleven to support digestion, vitamin E with selenium for heart health and antioxidants, Ultimate Echinacea for the immune system and B complex capsules for overall health.
Lighten Up the Lunchbox
According to a recent study by Boston Children's Hospital, nearly one-third of U.S. children ages 4-19 eat fast food on a daily basis, which packs on about six extra pounds each year and increases their risk of obesity. Instead, pack healthful lunches featuring organic foods-and be a good role model to your kids.
"It's important to pack a safe, nutritious lunch for your children," confirms Patricia M. Bowman, an associate professor at the Johnson & Wales Center for Food and Beverage Management in Providence, Rhode Island. "It's also important to remember to pack food they will actually eat. If not, they won't have the proper nutrition to get through their busy day."
Kill the Cola
It's still not clear whether America's soaring diabetes rates are due to weight gain or sugar intake, notes Cathy Nonas, director of diabetes and obesity programs at North General Hospital in New York City, but "lifestyle has so much to do with prevention," she says.
Instead of gulping can after can of sugar-sweetened, highly caffeinated soft drinks to give you an energy boost during the day, switch to nutritious organic fruit and vegetable juices, which can be mixed with sparkling water for a refreshing pick-me-up.
Too tired to fuss with dinnertime preparations? You're not alone-and that's why many manufacturers of organic foods offer fruits, vegetables, beans, soups and other staples in convenient cans to satisfy America's on-the-go lifestyle.
"A practical 'can-do' approach can lead to success," says registered dietitian Roberta Larson Duyff, editor of 365 Days of Healthy Eating from the American Dietetic Association. "Small, easy steps to eat smart-and move more-ultimately can add up to long-term health benefits. Canned foods offer a convenient, flavorful choice for stepping up to healthful eating."
When you treat yourself to a meal away from home, visit an organic restaurant in your area. Savor every delectable morsel-but practice portion control.
"Learn to listen to your body, and stop eating when you are full," says Todd Seyfarth, a culinary instructor at Johnson & Wales University. "Slow down, and drink some water between bites. Do anything you can to retard the tempo of your meal, and when you feel satiated, don't be afraid to bring the leftovers home. Try halving your meat portions and doubling your vegetable portions-as long as your vegetables are not drenched in butter or a fatty sauce."
Get Moving in 2005!
"Dietary guidelines may change from year to year as new scientific data emerges, but the one consistent recommendation all health organizations agree upon is that Americans need more exercise," says Judith Sherman-Wolin, an exercise specialist for the UCLA Center For Human Nutrition in Los Angeles and author of Smart Girls Do Dumbbells.
"About 60% of Americans are under-exercised, and 25% are completely sedentary," Sherman-Wolin explains. "Almost all, however, understand that exercise is critical to protect and maintain their health. The American College of Sports Medicine suggests most Americans should participate in some form of physical activity on all or most days of the week. For the general, healthy population, a complete exercise program includes aerobic activity, strength training and flexibility exercises. These guidelines remain constant."
If you've been a couch potato (even an organic one), start slowly and build up. You don't have to run a mile on your first day in sweatpants!