Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Nutrition and Wellness

Very often as we rush around in our daily routine we forget to take care of ourselves. We fix lunch for the kids, make dinner for the family, skip breakfast, grab a quick something during the day then wonder why we have such low energy. Nutrition is vital as we strive for appropriate self care.

Nutrition is a tool we can use to make certain that we have the fuel to discharge all our responsibilities and still have enough energy left to take time for ourselves. Each meal should include a serving of protein, carbohydrate, vegetable, fat and water. A high quality carbohydrate is best, one with plenty of fiber to slow digestion and stabilize blood sugar levels. I prefer a multigrain bread, complete with seeds. A lower fat protein works well to trim calories and cholesterol for long term health. Processed meats and foul can contain nitrates and high levels of sodium, so limiting those foods is a better choice. A monounsaturated fat, such as olive oil, keeps the digestive system lubricated and provides essential fatty acids. I like a home made vinaigrette prepared with both balsamic and red wine vinegars, plenty of herbs and spices and extra virgin olive oil. Vegetables are wonderful for increasing the bulk of a meal whether raw or lightly cooked. They also contain essential nutrients, vitamins and phytochemicals. When preparing a meal at home I like to lightly steam my vegetables, then briefly stir fry in a bit of olive oil and garlic. Water is an essential part of a healthy diet keeping the body hydrated, washing out toxins and replenishing our skins natural moisture. A good daily goal for water consumption is eight glasses. This can comprise water, broth, herbal teas or any decaffeinated beverage low in sugar and sodium.

Once we make the commitment to keeping ourselves healthy we are doing what we must to achieve our optimal level of self care.

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