Ask Gilad

Healthy Tips When Eating Out

Question: I travel a lot so I am constantly eating in restaurants. I know the meals I am eating are not the healthiest for me but I have to select from what is available.  Do you have any suggestions for people in my situation?




Answer: When eating out there are many choices you can make to help you maintain a healthy diet.

 

First, stay away from fast food restaurants as much as possible.  It is more difficult to get healthy meals there.  Try to pick a restaurant that offers healthy food choices with fresh natural foods.  It is a lot easier to find healthy restaurants these days than it was in the past because the public, as a whole, has become a lot more conscious about what they eat.  
I find that most restaurants these days will try to accommodate special requests such as 'dressing on the side' for your salad, minimizing or eliminating calorie rich sauces and substituting salad or steamed veggies for calorie rich carbs.  I think that you will find that many restaurants will even accommodate alternate preparations such as broiled or steamed vs. fried.
The key is to be aware of how you would like to eat and ask for it!  You will find that most times you will be accommodated.  
Gilad
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Is Coffee Bad For You?

Question: I am not what you would consider a 'health nut'.  I am not on any specific diet but I am aware of what I choose to eat and that is half the battle.  The problem is...I do love my coffee. Please tell me that it isn't bad for me.

Answer:

  Caffeine is a habit that many people develop as young adults, and it often gets out of control.  Caffeine is not recommended for a healthy diet because it over stimulates the nervous system, can increase your susceptibility to coronary artery disease and can eventually cause stomach ulcers.  It is also a diuretic and so it depletes us of vitamins and minerals.  It has been linked to an increase in appetite, craving for sweets, insomnia and nervousness.  Caffeine is commonly associated with coffee and tea, but it is also found in soft drinks, chocolate and many over-the-counter cold and headache remedies.

I know it may be hard for you, but try to limit yourself to one cup a day.

Gilad

 


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Question: Why should we limit the amount of salt we consume?

Answer: Too much salt in your diet increases the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.  Most of the sodium in our diet comes from salt that has been added to processed food we eat.  Most Americans consume more than twice the recommended daily amount of salt.

You can keep your salt intake in check by following these simple, common sense guidelines. 
  1. Avoid processed foods.
  2. Never add salt to your food while you are cooking it.  If you must add salt the only time to do that is when it is on your plate.
  3. Never salt your food without tasting it first.
  4. Try using one of the 'lite' salt products which are half sodium and half potassium chloride.

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Question:  I always hear that we should be drinking 8 glasses of water a day.  I don't drink anywhere near that much.  How important is it to drink that much?

Answer:

 Our bodies have very good defense mechanisms.  But when it comes to fluids, our bodies' defenses are lacking.  They don't always remind us to drink water when we need to.  We can need water before we actually experience feeling thirsty.  Many people forget to drink enough water and are constantly dehydrated.

The name of the game is awareness.  If you do nothing else, increase your water consumption consciously to 8 glasses per day.  Do it slowly over a period of several weeks.  Add a glass of water per day and get to the point where your base is 8 glasses per day.  You will not believe the positive changes in your energy level and appearance.

 

Gilad

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Question: What percentage of a good nutritious meal should be vegetables? Can fruits and vegetables be interchanged? 

Answer: Rather than breaking your nutrition down into meals let's take a look at your food intake as a whole. Complex carbohydrates should make up the largest part of your diet.  They should make up 60 to 75% of your daily food intake. Complex carbohydrates include unprocessed fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts. They are the long term sustaining fuel of your body and when they are burned they leave only water and carbon dioxide as end products. That makes them very easy on the body's digestive system.

Carbohydrates are converted by the body into glucose, the form of sugar found in the bloodstream. Glucose fuels the brain, nervous system and muscles.  Although some glucose is stored in the muscles and liver as reserve fuel, excess glucose is stored by the body as fat.
So do your body a favor. Load up on as many complex carbohydrates as you can.

 

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Question: I need to lose some weight for my high school reunion in 3 months.  What kind of diet do you suggest?

Answer: The best diet I can recommend is simply to eat sensibly. The key to diets is this. Don't even consider going on any diet that you wouldn't want to stay on for the rest of your life. A diet should never be a temporary fix. It should be a lifelong eating pattern that emphasizes balanced nutrition. Always remember that what you want to develop are good eating habits that will last a lifetime. I would never recommend that you have to cut out all of your favorite foods or go on some restrictive diet. That kind of thinking will not lead to long-term success... and all of us are in this for the long term.

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Question: How would you describe the way you eat?  Do you have to be obsessive to maintain a healthy life style?

Answer: Like anything else, it is all the way you look at it. I do not consider my eating habits obsessive in any way. I consider myself a 'natural eater'. 'Natural eaters' eat to supply their bodies with the fuel they need to live each day. They concern themselves with what foods will energize and sustain them. They eat only until they are satisfied, never any more or any less. 'Natural eaters' are aware of what foods are good for them, but they are not obsessive about calorie counting or eating exact amounts or types of food. 

Natural eating is instinctual. It is only through the process of socialization that we end up confusing other issues with eating and forget our natural ability to choose the right food for ourselves. For example, one of the reasons we could learn to like sweets is if our parents gave them to us as a reward. We can learn to enjoy processed foods because they are readily available. Then we develop a fondness for salt and fat because that is what most processed food consists of.
 
Make an effort to get back to the instinctual behavior of being a 'natural eater'.  You will be glad you did.

Gilad

 


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Question: Will running be a good addition to my fitness program?

Answer: If you are past the beginning exerciser stage I recommend you start a mixed program of running and walking. Find a fairly flat path to follow. Hill running will come later.
Walk slowly to warm up, starting slowly and then increasing your pace after about 5 minutes. Then, when you feel warm and ready, jog a few blocks. When you start to feel winded, slow your pace to a brisk walk again. Keep this run/walk pattern going for 20 minutes and then slow to a walk for a cool-down for the last 5 minutes.
A routine like this added to your existing workout, will be a welcome change of pace...and will get you out into the fresh air.

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Question: I have a sweet tooth and a hard time resisting the dessert tray. What should I do?

Answer: If you are craving something sweet try a piece of fresh fruit and see if that curbs your appetite. Fruit is just like a dessert but with all those extra vitamins and minerals along for the ride.
With a little practice and voluntary mind-control fruit can become your go-to sweet. You will be glad you made the switch.

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Question: I know that I am supposed to eat a lot of fiber but I am not sure why. Is it the fact that fiber makes it easier for me to have regular bowel movements?

Answer: Regular bowel movements are an excellent reason to consume large amounts of fiber but they are not the whole story.
Your body is not supposed to absorb all the food you eat. In fact, you should strive to increase the amounts of food you eat that your body cannot absorb. These foods include whole grain and unrefined foods which are high in fiber. The fiber found in unprocessed foods can actually help reduce the risk of colon cancer, diverticulitis, diabetes and heart disease. Fiber is found only in plant foods like whole grain breads, brown rice, bulgur wheat, oatmeal, bran cereals, bran muffins and bran flakes. It is better to eat whole foods to get your fiber than to add bran to everything because too much bran can actually rob your body of some minerals.
Fiber leaves a residue in the intestines that the body cannot absorb. This residue is actually good for the digestive tract and it also aids in lowering cholesterol levels. The effect of fiber that is immediately noticeable is that it fills you up... but with few calories.
High fiber foods include everything mentioned above plus vegetables and fruits. and it also aids in lowering cholesterol levels. The effect of fiber that is immediately noticeable is that it fills you up... but with few calories.
High fiber foods include everything mentioned above plus vegetables and fruits. You can also get plenty of fiber in your diet by eating cereals such as shredded wheat and puffed wheat, or making whole grain pancakes, waffles and muffins. 


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