Diet is a four-letter word in more ways than one. We hate them, and when we are on them, nothing makes us happy. I mean, nothing! Would it help you to know that its origins are based in an ancient word for “way or life” or “lifestyle”? Probably not, since the word diet is used to describe ways of eating that are about deprivation, elimination, and many times, lacking flavor. Keto, intermittent fasting, Atkins, paleo, etc. are all short-term ways of eating that can give you some quick results, but when you go back to eating normally, you gain the weight back. For most people, these are not sustainable lifestyles.
Wouldn’t it be better to look at what “normal” is for you and work with that? I like to meet patients where they are already at. You’ll be more successful in eating healthier or with weight loss if you take familiar foods, look at serving sizes and tweak what you are already eating.
Benjamin Franklin said, “In general, mankind, since the improvement of cookery, eats twice as much as nature requires.” He was right. And this was before the invention of sugary soda, candy at every checkout counter, and portion distortion. And these foods and portions have become part of our norm.
The Mediterranean Lifestyle is simple: adding a few items to your current diet can help with your overall health. These foods include unsalted nuts and legumes, fish, more fruits and vegetables, cereals and whole grains, unsaturated oils and fats, and low-fat and fermented dairy. Meats and alcohol are suggested in moderation. See the link at the end of this segment for more information on the Mediterranean Diet.
Many times, eating better automatically helps with weight loss, as we are full from nutrient-dense foods and eating less sugar and fewer processed foods. Let’s take a look at a typical plate you might find at a “healthy” fast food restaurant and see how we can tweak it.
Recipe: Chicken Fajita Bowl
Everyone seems to like Mexican food, so I looked at a Chicken Burrito Bowl from Chipotle Mexican Grill. It has chicken, brown rice, black beans, guacamole, fajita vegetables, cheese, and sour cream. It has a whopping 980 calories per portion plus approximately 1,850 mg of sodium – almost your recommended daily amount! And this is without the chips and queso (385 calories per serving) or chips and salsa (250 calories per serving)! I’m going to show you a recipe that uses the same basic components but comes in at 330 calories per serving and only 410 mg of sodium. By making this change in one meal, you can reduce your intake by 650 calories. If you did that every day, you could lose 1 lb a week. On top of that, you’d be consuming less sodium, which can help with reducing fluid retention and high blood pressure.
I hope you enjoy this recipe. Stay tuned for more recipes and videos in the future. In the meantime, did you know that employees on UMR insurance can be seen in the Employee Nutrition Clinic? UMR participants get a free visit annually with a dietitian. UMR may cover further visits for you and your family. Call 501-526-6477 or go to http://inside.uams.edu/employeenutrition/ for more information. Thank you! See you soon!