We are at a time in pop-social culture where everyone wants to be healthy. Joining the gym, organised outdoor fitness programs, participating in marathons and runs are all the rage. Weight loss and muscle gain supplements are selling at an all time high! Everybody wants to look lean and toned nowadays. There is also a whole new range of health food and particularly lunch delivery businesses popping up like mushrooms. Don’t get me wrong, I think this is great, especially when I don’t have time to make my own lunch, I relish the opportunity to order something wholesome.
Fads aside, I believe that there are a couple of basic practices which, if continuously implemented and made into a routine ( it takes 21 days only) will help you be a more healthier person. So here it is, my top 5 steps to implement in the pursuit of a healthier life.
Step 1: Drink Water
I know this is quite a cliché. I don’t need to explain the benefits of drinking water here. I am sure you all know how beneficial water is for recharging your cells, improve your mood and concentration, heal illnesses and detox (another fad!). If you really need convincing on why water is better than that isotonic drink, check out this link to NutritionFacts.org about the health benefits of water.
Water is also great at stopping you from indulging in bad habits. I’ve noticed that when I feel the urge to munch, I drink some water and I don’t feel the urge anymore. So the next time someone in the office opens up a pack of chips, politely decline and drink some water!
Step 2: Veg over carb
I am a huge advocate of incorporating vegetables into every meal and whenever I can substitute veg for carb, I do so. Let’s take lunch for example, most people would opt for whatever is available is nearby restaurants/ food court, and this most of the time means mixed rice or noodles.
Despite trying my best to always make my own lunch, sometimes the mixed rice from food court is the only option. But there are ways to eat better even when dining at the food court. At the mixed rice stall for example, opt for vegetables, at least 50% of your plate should be vegetables. Melay food stalls usually have raw vegetables like ulam and kerabu, opt for this over oil fried vegetables. Next protein, yes that fried chicken looks good, but stay away. Choose instead tofu, tempe or fish which is either steamed or grilled. Now for the carb. If you have 50% veg and 30% protein, your rice intake should only be 20%of your meal. Try this out and slowly go up on veg and protein ration and soon you won’t need to consume carbs for lunch.
Step 3: No processed food
In this day and age we are plagued with unlimited processed food options all under the ruse of convenience. Bottled pasta sauce, 3 in 1 coffees, instant noodles, chicken nuggets, and what I really don’t get is, bottled pesto!! What ridiculousness is that? Pesto takes 5 minutes to make, why would you need a bottled version?
Try to eliminate processed food from your daily diet. I know this may sound hard, but your body will thank you for it.
Step 4: Fruits as a substitute for Sugar
Yes this is harder than it seems, especially if you have a sweet tooth like me. But what I’ve found that the best alternative to satiate my cravings are red dragon fruit, grapes, melons and yellow water melons which are high in fiber a nutrients.
Step 5: No Alcohol!
Wine, beer, cider, spirits are the biggest sabotage to your fitness and health regime. Did you know that every gram of alcohol has 7 calories, in comparison, protein and carbohydrate had 4 calories per gram and 9 calories per gram for fat.
I hope these 5 steps which has helped me tremendously, will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.