The ultimate diet for weight loss,Lifestyle and Diet

The ultimate diet for weight loss,Lifestyle and Diet

Lifestyle and Diet

Changing to a healthier lifestyle can be challenging, but the benefits are significant, so your efforts will pay off in the long run.

CHANGE YOUR DIET

Your aim is to cook and eat food that is really tasty and full of fresh flavours that will give you joy and make you feel fulfilled. This involves eating homecooked meals where love and care have been put into their preparation. Set the table, sit down and enjoy the moment; eat slowly and get your palate to work.

Take care to eat three main meals a day made up of whole grains, vegetables and fruit, and cut down on portion sizes. Your daily intake should be about 50–60% vegetables. In between meals you can snack on fruit and vegetables. Keep your blood sugar levels in balance and don’t starve yourself, but don’t eat if you are not hungry.





EXERCISE MORE AND SPEND TIME OUTSIDE

No matter how healthily you eat, exercise is still a key to health and happiness. Your heart is a muscle and it needs to be exercised, so cardiovascular exercise is good for blood circulation, for stress levels and for general psychological wellbeing, as well as to maintain a steady weight throughout your life. If you don’t exercise already, choose something you like – walking, swimming, running, cycling – something you will actually enjoy doing. Find other people to exercise with, set goals and make a bet as an incentive to continue.

We have a saying in Denmark: ‘There is no such thing as bad weather, only wrong clothing’. We cycle a lot: to work, when shopping, and with our children. It’s a great way to get around without being trapped in traffic. If you can’t cycle to work, get off one stop before your destination and walk the rest of the way. Take the stairs. Think about how to build regular exercise into your daily routine

GUIDELINES TO A HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE

1 Make sure to incorporate some form of exercise into every day.

2 Avoid junk food and ready-made meals; eat only things you recognize as food.
3 Eat at least six pieces of vegetable or fruit a day, but primarily vegetables.
4 Eat whole grains in bread, cereals, salads and pasta every day.
5 Buy local produce, not produce from the other side of the planet.
6 Eat fish two to three times a week.
7 Drink plenty of water.
8 Avoid sugar, especially in canned drinks, sweets, biscuits and cakes.
9 Buy seasonal fruit and veg; look for organic; think sustainable.
10 Reduce the amount of meat you eat

ORGANIC AND LOCALLYSOURCED FOOD

I believe that organic food is better for your health than non-organically produced food, so eating organic is about what you believe is right. For me the main reason to eat this way is to ensure that we do not exploit the earth and that we maintain a holistic ecosystem. I do not like chemicals in my food – it’s as simple as that.

I support buying locally, but I am also realistic. Living in a Nordic country in which food is not available locally all year round, we do need supplies from other regions. Wine, coffee, spices, lemons and tea are prime examples of things that I would really miss if I could only buy food produced up to 100 miles from where I live. So, for me, ‘local’ in many ways can just mean Europe. Like with most things, it’s all about finding a balance.

EAT MEALS TOGETHER

Food must be a joy, not a burden or a chore, and this includes the social aspects of eating. I strongly believe it is immensely important to sit down regularly and eat together with other people. If I think about my dinner table, what comes to mind are all the meals I’ve shared with friends, eating well-prepared food, talking, laughing out loud, crying and enjoying all the stories told. It is also known that countries where food is prepared from scratch and shared with other people have lower obesity rates.

DEALING WITH CLIMATE CHANGE

We all have to do our bit to help reduce climate change and global warming. Most of our attention is focused on travel, especially air travel and cars and their exhausts, but the world’s livestock production is responsible for a large part of all greenhouse gases. The calculation is clear: it takes ten times more energy to produce a steak from a corn-fed cow than to produce the oats needed for a portion of porridge.

The solution is not only to return to grass-fed cows but to cut back drastically on the amount of meat we eat. So the modification of your diet is an area in which you can make a difference immediately: stop eating meat every day; it’s that simple. Cut down to a maximum of three times a week: your health will benefit and you will do your bit to alleviate climate change. When you do buy meat, spend more money on getting quality rather than on increasing the quantity.

One thing is sure: driving a car to buy groceries every day is not good for the planet. Retrain yourself to shop only a couple of times a week or less, and walk or cycle instead. But food transportation is also a complicated issue. We have established that for ecological and health concerns we need to cut down on meat consumption and eat more vegetables in our daily diet. The whole question of food mileage is very complicated, but I think one should be cautious about it: do your own research and make your own judgement.

SMALL STEPS TO FIGHT GLOBAL WARMING
Reduce the amount of meat you eat.
As much as possible, buy food that’s in season.
Choose locally grown fruit and vegetables that have not had to travel too far.
Buy local fish, not exotic fish from the other side of the planet.
Use your car as little as possible.

Cooking healthy food from fresh ingredients, sitting down to share a meal: these are among the keys to healthy and happy living. I talk about this all the time, and the response I often get is: ‘We don’t have time, we work late.’ Well, this is not necessarily true. You have plenty of time; you have a whole life full of time. Time is your capital; it is actually the most precious thing you have.

The choice to be made is how to use that time. You have to ask: ‘Do I want a healthy life that includes two of the most important things for my body – proper food and exercise?’ Then plan it to be so, and make a conscious decision that home-cooked food and eating together are part of your life, and one thing you want to spend time doing.



The Ingredients of the Nordic Diet

The Nordic diet is based around both the indigenous produce and what has grown well in the northern hemisphere through history: whole grains, root and green vegetables, fatty fish, poultry and wild game, berries and herbs – produce that will provide a super-healthy and balanced diet.

GRAINS

The grains used are those suited to cool climates – spelt, rye, oats and barley, all of which are high in fibre. But beware: these can be as refined and processed as most wheat flours, so it is vital to buy good-quality whole grains and wholegrain flours. Eat whole grain in salads, porridge or for dinner instead of potatoes or rice. Bake your own bread (see breads for inspiration), or buy from an artisan baker. Avoid mass-produced bread, which has little nutritive value and is full of additives to make it last.


VEGETABLES


Cabbages of all kinds – white, red, Savoy and pointed – together with their close relatives kale and Brussels sprouts, grow well in cold climates. They are full of flavour and can be cooked in many different ways. Root vegetables are also important vegetables, especially in autumn and winter. They store well, and are versatile, filling and fuelling. Don’t just stick with the usual potatoes and carrots: try beetroots, radishes, turnips, celeriac, parsnips,


Hamburg parsley, Jerusalem artichokes, salsify and kohlrabi. Green vegetables such as nettles, ramps (ramsons), Swiss chard, asparagus, peas, spinach, lettuce and leeks provide us throughout the spring and summer with a wide range of nutrients. Garlic and onion are also an important base of Nordic cooking all year round, both when it comes to flavour and nutrients.


FISH AND SEAFOOD

Only eat locally caught fish. In the Nordic countries we eat especially oily fish like herring, salmon and mackerel, but we also have wonderful cod, lobster, haddock, mussels, oysters and lot of more rare local fish like garfish, different flatfish and a lot of wonderful fish roes.


MEAT, POULTRY AND GAME


The flavour in meat, poultry, and game comes from the animal’s diet. Animals bred on pasture generally have a better flavour than meat from animals reared in pens or stalls. Chicken and other poultry are a very important source of protein, and easy to prepare. However, a great deal of chicken today is not so much raised as manufactured. I always buy free-range or organic chicken – more expensive, but our whole philosophy should be one of quality first, and reducing how much and how often we eat it.


Living in the wild, game meat is healthier, leaner and said by some to be more digestible. The best way to procure game is by knowing a local hunter. Game is very seasonal and the variety is greatest in autumn.


BERRIES

Blueberries and blackberries, red and blackcurrants, rose hips, cloudberries, lingonberries, gooseberries, strawberries and raspberries – some need to be grown commercially, while others are nature’s gift to us, growing wild in the countryside, ripe for picking. In the cool Nordic countries with the long, light days and nights they get a lot of light but not a lot of warmth. So they grow slowly, and are small in size but big in taste.


They are very healthy due to their particularly high levels of antioxidants. The healthiest way to eat them is raw when in season, so take a walk in the woods, pick them fresh and eat them as soon as you can. Or as I do most of the time, buy them fresh when they have been picked within the past 24 hours.


HERBS


Herbs are so important in everyday cooking, adding flavour and freshness. Popular garden herbs include dill, parsley, chives, mint, tarragon, chervil, bay leaves, thyme and rosemary. But if you have access to wild herbs or can buy them from someone, the selection is enormous. I like to pick horseradish, elderflower, geranium and wood sorrel. 


To get the most nutritional benefit from herbs, you have to eat large amounts, which you can do in soups, sauces, pestos or salads like tabbouleh. If you want to forage your own, get a guidebook and start exploring.


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