28th February, 2011.
Having a healthy eating plan is one of the most vital and significant elements that should be embraced by everyone in order to live longer. Healthy eating plans determine and define the type of food, the quantity and the quality of food one should consume at every given moment. Moreover, a healthy eating plan provides a balance of all nutrients which is very essential in providing the body with the necessary factors needed for growth and also provide the body with energy which is categorized as either maintenance or operational ratios. The maintenance ratio or basic metabolic rate is the energy required to maintain the normal body activities like breathing, sleeping, blood flow and digestion while the operational ratio is the energy that the body requires to cater for other activities. Having been brought up in an environment where food consumption depended on the availability really prompted me to look for better ways to improve my diet and eating habits. Therefore, the past one week has really boosted my knowledge in regard to food consumption and also improved my eating habits.
I have seen spectacular and marvelous changes in my diet from the time I joined this class. First, I have seen my diet improve greatly to a level whereby all the food I take is measured and regulated depending on my daily energy requirements, body weight, age, daily physical activity. Currently, I am supposed to consume about 2000 calories in one day which encompasses 6 ounces of grains, two and a half cups of vegetables, two cups of fruits, two cups of milk and five and a half cups of meat and beans or other grains like peas. Additionally, my daily calorie intake is determined by whether I want to gain or lose weight. I really consider these as great and huge changes in my eating habits. My previous diet actually never had any plan on what should be consumed and by how much; it was just based on eating what was readily available so long it was edible and not poisonous. This assisted me in learning how to eat different types of foods although it gave me a wrong notion that I should always consume everything provided to me. I also never minded my satiety levels; I ate greedily everything and made sure that I emptied my plate which was irrespective of whether I was satisfied or not. Therefore, comparing my eating habits during childhood, my early years in the army and my current eating habits, I can contend that I have greatly improved. Not only have I improved on the quantity, quality and timely consumption but also I have acknowledged the fact that, balancing my exercises and my eating habits is very fundamental and elementary in keeping me healthy.
In addition, I have seen changes in the type of food I currently consume. My current diet necessitates me to consume all the foods in the five categories but in regulated amounts. These classes of foods entail carbohydrates, vitamins, proteins, fats and lipids, water and mineral salts. Although the current food I consume contains large amounts of sodium, my food pyramid requires that I consume all the types of food which I am really trying to do.
On the contrary, I have failed to change my response to thirst. Actually, drinking water and taking breakfast are some of the predicaments and setbacks I am facing in dieting. I would give preference to drinking things like soda, juice or any other things with flavor to water since water is tasteless. These sweet and flavored drinks are very much hazardous and perilous to the human health since they are commercially processed and contain very many chemicals some of which are preservatives. Moreover, my body actually would prefer to skip breakfast and wait for 6 to 7 hours before having lunch. In regard to this, I really feel that I need to improve since my body requires constant supply of energy to maintain the basal metabolic rate and cater for other energy needs without stressing other energy sources. Water is very much fundamental and elementary in digestion and aids in other metabolic processes in the body therefore; I really need to improve my habit in regard to water consumption. Water also helps in cooling the body and more importantly acts as a medium where most reactions in the body take place therefore; I have to advance and develop new habits regarding water consumption.
Other things that need to be incorporated in my diet are vitamins and fibers. Vitamins are very essential in the body since they act as cofactors in several metabolic processes hence need to be sufficiently provided in my diet. The reason why these vitamins have not been provided in the diet is because most of the foods that I currently consume are commercially processed which are easily obtainable for example, brown rice, bread and other breakfast cereals. Additionally, foods like carrots, spinach, apples, bananas, broccoli and strawberries are rare in the market and even if present are very expensive to purchase. These fresh fruits and vegetables actually provide nutrients such as carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, proteins and fiber. Vitamin A specifically obtained from fresh fruits is very essential in maintaining skin texture, protecting the body from infections and ensuring clear vision. Additionally, I need to improve my consumption of milk and its products like yoghurt, cheese and butter. This will provide the so much needed calcium in the body which will aid in bone formation hence preventing osteoporosis and other bone related fractures.
Since I began taking my lessons on nutrition, I have become more cautious and aware of so many things when making food choices. First, I have become very aware of the fact that body weight, quantity and type of food affect greatly my choice. Moreover, I have become conscious of the fact that age, physical activity, body size and weight greatly influence the amount or quantity of food consumed therefore, these factors should be put in consideration when designing a healthy eating plan. In this regard, it is therefore prudent to say that the more I exercise and participate in other physical activities the more calories I need to consume.
In addition, I have also become aware of the fact that I have to incorporate all the types and varieties of foods in my diet that is, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, water, mineral salts, fats and lipids; this all are very essential in ensuring that the body gets all the necessary ingredients required for growth and energy. Also, I have learned that factors like having smaller and more frequent meals, chewing of food properly and relaxing while eating actually increase chances of proper food consumption and utilization. I have also become aware of the dangers of the red meat as a source of proteins. In replacement, I have learnt that soya products, beans, chicken and fish are the best sources of proteins that should be embraced.
In addition, I have learnt that consuming foods that are commercially processed is more dangerous and hazardous to the human health and exposes the body to risky ailments like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases therefore, when making food choices, priority should be given to organic foods like cereals and fruits. Also, consumption of these foods is very elementary since it provides the body with fibers and vitamins which are very essential in digestion especially vegetables and fruits. Finally, I have become very much aware of the fact that water consumption is very important and the consumption of caffeine and flavored drinks like soda is very risky and unhealthy. Sweet drinks actually aggravate and heighten the possibility and probability of developing diseases like diabetes.
In conclusion, I would like to say that I have learnt so much in the last one week which has seen my health improve a lot. I have learnt better eating habits which I hope will help me improve and be the better person I really wish to be.
The knowledge I have acquired will also be of great benefit to my coming generations who will gladly live healthier lives free from junk, packed and processed foods.