(photo from libreshot.com)
Most people are super-excited about starting some sort of a nutrition and wellness plan, especially leading up to a celebration such as a new year, and after all of the holiday indulgences many of us enjoy over Chanukah. But, no matter the strength of our intentions, soon after we start and a few months into the new year, our commitment tapers off.
The Talmud teaches, “the blind eat but are not satisfied.” What does it mean to be blind when it comes to eating?
We should start with asking ourselves, why do we place such importance on food and why should we be planning for healthier nutrition, and better wellness habits?
Are we conscious that nourishment is for spiritual, mental and moral clarity, purity and holiness, as well as to physically strengthen the body?
Choosing nutrient-rich foods is the first step to providing our body – and mind – with the nutrients it needs. And the way our foods are prepared and eaten can influence how well those nutrients are absorbed and used by our body.
The average human brain contains 10 billion nerve cells. And there are many studies showing how our choices of food affect our moods and brain function.
People often say they need to lose weight but then quickly forget what they said if they have travel plans or holiday celebrations. The reality is that eating healthier is a habit that has to be taken seriously and one that has to be a habit all year round regardless of season, travel plans or celebrations. Eating consciously is vital to our health and longevity.
We also shouldn’t remain blind to the supernatural dimension of eating. There are many blessings the practice of Judaism provides, and this kind of daily gratitude can help us derive greater satisfaction from life, including from our food.
There are two dimensions to a person’s eating – sustenance for our body and sustenance for our soul. Our body seeks nutrients, as does our soul. Most people live out their lives without ever really grasping the idea of eating or balancing their nutrition, suffering physically from overindulging and missing the most important lessons from and a spiritual relationship with G-d.
When it comes to food, people bounce between extremes. We go all in for stuffings, creamy dressing salads and huge cuts of meat, but then cut out entire food groups to compensate. People all of a sudden start talking about gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free diets and, of course, the ever-so-popular detox. Our bodies are made up to be a perfect system so, unless some of these foods are causing you real health issues, there’s no evidence that eliminating foods completely is better for you.
What makes sense is an action plan.
With so many fad diets, it’s not always easy to differentiate between truths. There are many diets we hear about from friends or friends of friends, that such-and-such has worked for them. But adherence to most of these diets is short-lived because they aren’t based in knowledge and aren’t sustainable or convenient for the individual. In many cases, diets eliminate highly nutritious, essential foods from your meals. As well, if you follow a very restrictive diet and then change your eating habits when you reach your ideal weight, you might find yourself starting to overeat, as you crave the foods you had eliminated, and now satisfy even some of those cravings.
Although no two people are alike and everyone’s nutrition needs vary, when it comes down to it, weight loss is fairly straightforward. Making better food choices, cutting out bad high-fat foods, empty-calorie refined foods, cutting back on calories in general, and getting more exercise pretty much sums it up.
If your goal is to maintain your weight, lose weight or, in some instances, gain weight, calorie quantities need to be adjusted. These varied options will mean different amounts of proteins and overall calorie intake, which, when coupled with an appropriate exercise program, will help you attain your healthy weight – and, in the process, learn how to eat healthily as a lifestyle instead of as a fad or resolution that lasts only a few months.
In general, it’s important to eat protein for every meal, and to keep a pattern of three meals and at least two snacks per day together with eight to 10 cups of water. It’s not recommended to skip meals and then double up at the next one. More evenly spaced meals will help keep your energy level up, and protein at each meal, as well as afternoon snacks, will help keep you from getting hungry.
Remember that the right food is medicine for body and soul, and a balanced diet is one of the simplest ways to better health, and exercise is the least expensive antidepressant.
Marat Dreyshner has more than 25 years of culinary experience and a passion for health, wellness and nutrition. He joined Herbalife Nutrition in 2016, and he and his wife Ella work together as nutrition and wellness coaches.