Nutrition: Back to Basics

A friend of mine, at the relatively young age of 34, began to develop kidney stones on a regular basis. Within a few months of passing one or two of these stones, he would be back in the hospital for another removal procedure. This process continued for two years. He exercised somewhat regularly, was not overweight, and otherwise appeared in good health. I had counseled him many times about his problem and the cause, which I told him, was not only poor, but very bad nutrition. He drank on average about a six pack each day of diet soda, would not eat vegetables at all, and generally ate a poor diet. Never believing me, he sought a second and even a third opinion. The opinions all concurred — the cause of his problem was diagnosed as poor nutrition.

Despite his college education and intellect, he quickly discovered how easy it had become to make poor choices that hadn’t shown any bad effects health for years. In reality, he had spent a lifetime making poor nutritional choices. His choice not to eat vegetables, not to take supplemental vitamins, to constantly eat fast food while on-the-go, and to drink soft drinks by the six-pack on a daily basis finally took their toll. And, it was not just kidney stones, but a long list of health problems that followed, including reduced immune system health, asthma, and other serious symptoms. He learned as we all should, that about 90 percent of all of your personal health problems and diseases are related to poor nutrition!

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The following information is based upon sound scientific principles, not marketing hype. Our goal is to teach you the basic concepts about nutrition so that you can become your own nutritional expert; to teach you all you need to know about nutrition and the importance it has in your life, longevity, and well-being. Thus, this first article is to help you develop a basic nutritional foundation moving forward.

To look and feel your best, you must eat well; you must also exercise. Success in nutrition and exercise-based health, like success in other areas of your life, requires setting goals and being persistent in order to achieve them. If you want to lose 10 to 30 pounds or even more; if you want to make good nutrition part of your lifestyle; if you want to look and feel your best, you’ve chosen the best book to help you get there. Best of all, you don’t need a PhD to succeed because you are unique from all others. And, it’s much more simple than you think.

On a daily basis, we are constantly bombarded by would-be nutritionists and those that wish to sell the next gimmick, inferring that by taking some magic pill or using some dietary supplement, pounds will melt away quickly with little effort and you will look and feel 10 years younger.

Tip: There is no magic pill or elixir for your health that will make your body what you want it to be.

Hollywood stars release their own versions of diets that many begin to practice because of stardom status, disregarding the fact that such people usually have no background in nutrition. Instead, they actually succeeded because of a qualified professional working behind the scenes helping them with every step. Looking and feeling great or looking years younger is possible, but it takes a little effort.

Tip: The only way to look and feel your best is to eat a healthy diet combined with exercise!

By eating well and spending about 3-5 hours per week exercising, you can have the best body and energy level you need to succeed.

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As you read the articles in My Health Express and on the website each day and month, you will gain considerably more knowledge than the average person, many personal trainers, and even many doctors about the nutrition that is right for you. While we may not discuss in detail what each vitamin or mineral does within the body, we will discuss the relation between fuel sources, vitamins, minerals, water, and exercise that are crucial to great health and for good performance in any physical activity. You will gain insights about how nutrition works regarding the three-main fuel sources your body needs, i.e., carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, as well as sugar in the diet, and dispel nutrition myths that you have heard from many and varied sources, including well known magazines and celebrities.

We will show you what and when to eat, and how to develop a good menu. You will learn to recognize the falsehoods behind diets and their minimal value in an overall nutritional plan. The real facts about the ‘no-carb’ craze and its effect on the body will be revealed. Likewise, you will learn that a belief that skimping on meals and relying on vitamin and mineral supplements is detrimental to long-term health. While supplements can provide vitamins, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and dietary fiber (the primary fuel sources for energy used by the body for exercise and other activities), supply them best. The three main fuel sources  carbohydrates, fats, and proteins are called macro-nutrients. The dietary fiber gained from eating these macro-nutrients, especially from whole foods, provides bulk for a healthy digestive system that may prevent such diseases as colon cancer.

The ability to routinely engage in any physical activity requires good health. Whether you enjoy that weekend golf game or friendly tennis match at the local park, your performance in such activities depends on a nutritious diet that must supply needed nutrients. To have the best health, you also must have a good nutritional program, and for best performance, this program should also be linked with regular exercise. You cannot have one without the other. I will show you how to easily do this.

Following are some common nutrition questions. Do you believe you need vitamin and mineral supplements? Are you eating too much fat and cholesterol? Should you become a vegetarian? Are all junk foods bad? If you are confused about what to eat, then welcome to one of the largest clubs on the planet! Almost daily there are major headlines that trumpet what we should eat and why, only to discover later that this information was wrong. For example, will eating no or low-carbohydrate diets promote weight loss? Yes, for many it will, but after a few weeks your body will become accustomed to the new regimen and additional success will be very slow or be gone entirely. Also, for the long term, a deficiency of calcium and weakened bones can result. Research has shown that there is no better way to slow or even reverse the process of aging itself and all age-related degenerative conditions than through the combination of anaerobic, aerobic, and strength-building exercises combined with a balanced, nutritious diet. Best of all, it’s not rocket science.

7 Basic Principles of Nutrition
Following are seven nutritional concepts and basic principles that you need to be aware of:

1. About 93 percent of diseases that most Americans experience can be due to poor nutrition.
2. Good nutrition should include a diet that includes a variety of foods.
3. Nutrients are classified as carbohydrates, lipids (fats and oils), proteins, vitamins, minerals, and water. The most energy rich nutrients are fats and oils (lipids).
4. The major focus of your diet should be on food itself, not nutrient supplements. You should increase fruit and vegetable intake before relying on nutritional supplements. Add supplements for insurance, i.e., “just in case.” These include chelated multiple vitamins and other supplements such as additional vitamin C for the very active. Working with many athletes in rigorous competition, it is not unusually for them to consume 6-8 grams (6,000 to 8,000 mg) of vitamin C each day for 5-6 days of the week. You will note this is far higher than the 85 mg per day suggested as part of one’s dietary intake. The simple fact is, the harder you exercise, compete, and perform varied athletics, the more nutrition you need because your activities when doing so, are far above average.
5. Good health should place a greater emphasis on nutrition rather than merely the taste and texture of food. Unfortunately, the latter is how most of us choose the foods we like.
6. Focus on your total diet and be aware of the junk foods that you eat. It is okay to have some, but be sparing in their consumption. And, while you may like that bottle of beer or glass of wine, do not consume them every day because of the alcohol calories they provide.
7. Genetic inheritance influences our health; your family history of disease such as diabetes can be an important influence on what you eat. Also, your culture and upbringing, to a large extent, influence the types of foods you like.

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The goal is to be aware of what you eat, but do not be a calorie counter or scale watcher since some days you will consume more calories than others. But, how many calories do you need? An estimation of your daily calorie requirement is simple. Let us take the weight you wish to weigh as a goal. Suppose Ellen desires a body weight of 125 pounds. What is her daily calorie requirement? The basic calculation is body weight x 10 + 200. Thus, Ellen needs 125 x 10 for a total of 1,250 calories and then, add another 200 for average walking, sitting, and other basic activities for a total of 1,450 calories on an average day. However, if she exercises, she will need to add more calories to make up for energy (calories) expended during her workout.

Did you know that the average person in the U.S. consumes nearly 4,000 calories per day? This is an incredible amount and essentially twice the requirements needed for a six-foot-tall athlete, not considering exercise regimen. Stay tuned for future articles to further your nutritional knowledge and foundation. Have a happy and healthy day.



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