Fighting Obesity With a Healthy Balanced Diet

It has become common knowledge that obesity is a problem in North America. The newspapers, magazines, television commercials and internet banners all acknowledge the issue. It is not uncommon to see advertisements encouraging membership in diet programs where you can lose those extra pounds in a short time. Marketers have even responded by providing 90-100 calorie pre-packaged snacks ranging from almonds to cookies. Others are telling us to walk it off, and some are encouraging the latest fad diet. It seems that everywhere we look there is someone, somewhere trying to fix our personal weight problem.

Is obesity an issue?

Yes, in more ways than we can imagine. It is not simply a matter of having extra weight. Being overweight or obese triggers many health related situations.

Obese Canadians are 4 times more likely to have diabetes, 3.3 times more likely to have high blood pressure and 56% more likely to have heart disease than those that have healthy weights (1). Throughout North America there are reports relating obesity to heart disease, and diabetes. There are other symptoms that are often ignored by the media but are also troubling. I personally know a lady who experienced severe pain in her feet. The extra 60 pounds she had gained caused a problem with her arches, her feet became “flat” and normal daily activities became a burden. These types of poor health symptoms affect everyone in our communities. Government run health programs become more expensive to operate, families struggle with the emotional side of disease, un-wellness and even death.

Surely you have heard that the rate of overweight and obesity are on the rise. Currently 30.6% of Americans (US), 24.2% of Mexicans and 14.3% of Canadians are obese (2). Compare these rates to those of Japan and South Korea where obesity is only at 3.2% of the population (2). That should trigger two things in your mind. First of all, something that we are doing in North America is causing great negative effects on our optimal health. Second, if there are other nations in the world with lower rates of obesity, then obesity can be controlled in North America as well.

Is there any pattern to obesity in North America?

The acknowledgment of obesity, income levels, sense of failure and lack of physical activities are patterns associated with obesity. Sharon Brady, editor of The World is a Kitchen, believes that the first problem to obesity is that a large portion of individuals are simply not facing the fact that they are overweight whether it is through ignorance, denial or indifference (3). Obesity is also disproportionally found in lower income groups (4). This may be a consequence of buying low nutrient, highly processed foods because of the low dollar values. Another possible problem with weight gain and obesity is the sense of failure that comes with cheating or falling off fad diets. A lack of physical activity or even decreased activities levels associated with changes in lifestyle can also be problematic patterns.

How can we fix the problem of obesity?

Dealing with the way we think about food and our body weight is critical. Information on the mind-body connection is readily available. Understanding and addressing mental and emotional stress is of paramount importance when you want to lose weight (5).

Increasing physical activity is recommended and the Government of Canada has published guides for different age groups (6). Activity can come in many forms, even taking a family holiday can be a way to get moving again.

However, even with a good food mindset and increased physical activity, it will be hard to obtain and maintain a healthy weight without a clear understanding of healthy balanced meals and healthy eating. Regardless of your food choice preferences, vegan, vegetarian, raw or a more traditional meat diet, it is important to make sure you are eating properly. And believe it or not, that is a simple thing to do.

The things we need to consider are:

1. Water

2. Healthy Snacks

3. Protein

4. Dairy and Alternatives

5. Complex Carbohydrates

6. Healthy Fats

7. Fruits and Vegetables

Well, now after saying it is simple, I give you a list of seven things to remember. Trust me, before you know it, the list will become engrained in your thought pattern and you will be on your way to eating healthy balanced meals and optimal health which will result in a natural maintainable weight. Let me guide you through the list.


There has been a lot of concern about plastic water bottles littering our disposal sites and being found floating in the ocean. I agree that it is a problem but the good thing is that it means people are becoming aware of the importance of water and they are drinking more of it.

60 to 70% of our body is water. It is important for normal body functions, like digesting the food we eat. We get water from the fluids we drink as well as the food we eat.

It is recommended that we drink 8 cups of water a day. Even more is required if you live in a dry or hot climate or are physically active. That seems like a lot of water, and it is if you try to drink it all at once. Try drinking a cup first thing in the morning before you even get into the shower. Have a glass or two before every meal and another midway in between meals and a glass in the evening too. Before you know it, you have reached 8 cups of water.

Many people have lost the ability to tell the difference between hunger and thirst. Unfortunately food often wins out and water is left aside. Next time you feel hungry have a glass of water first. Wait for a few minutes to see if the hunger goes away before you eat. If you feel thirsty, you body is already dehydrated. You may need to add more cups of water for your personal lifestyle.


For many of us, the word snack triggers the thought of a high calorie, low nutrient food. A good way to think of a snack is like a mini-meal that gets us through to the next meal. It is the opportunity to pick a healthy food that you enjoy but may not part of your meal on that day. One of my all time favorites are apples. If I did not have an apple for breakfast and know I will not have one for lunch, having one for my morning snack, along with my cup of water makes a great healthy snack.

Snacking is critical for children. They get a large portion of their daily calories from snacking and it is important that they get healthy snacks.

Protein, Dairy and Alternatives

Protein comes in many forms and this is often where diet styles differ. No matter what you food style preference is having protein in your meals is important.

Proteins can be found in beans, eggs, meats, fish, milk, cheese, nuts and seeds, soy products including tofu. In North America, having large amounts of protein has become standard. I have seen some restaurants where the smallest steak available is 14 oz and where ordering fish means an entire fish. Having such large amounts of protein is not necessary for your body. Protein is important but it does not have to dominate the meal.

There is much debate over the presence of milk in our diets. Some individuals prefer soy milk and almond milk. The goal with drinking these products is to obtain calcium. Calcium is available through tablet form and naturally occurs in fruits, vegetables and nuts.

Complex Carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates are our comfort foods. When we consume them, serotonin is produced and leaves us with that “warm fuzzy feeling.” These foods are best for our bodies when they are closest to their natural state. You will recognize them as breads, crackers, pasta, rice and beans. To obtain the maximum health from your foods, decide on products that are made of whole grains rather than white enriched flours. If you like rice, add brown rice to your diet. It takes longer to cook but you will not be hungry half an hour after you finish your meal.

Healthy Fats

The first thing many people do when they attempt to reduce their weight is to remove all the fat from their diet. Eating a lot of fat is not healthy but the body does need small amounts of healthy fats to function normally. Healthy fats occur naturally in the healthy foods that we eat. Avocados, salmon and other fish, nuts and olive oil all contain fats that are healthy for our body.

Fruits and Vegetables

The number of fruits and vegetables that are available is absolutely amazing. They should make up the majority or your diet and when you can eat them raw, I encourage you to do so. When you make your meal, add lots of color by using a variety of fruits and vegetables. The more variety, the better chance of getting everything your body needs.

Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals and enzymes that aid indigestion. They help keep our bodies healthy, protect us from disease, strengthen our bones and make our skin beautiful. Consider them for your snack.

What is Next?

Well, now you have an idea of the important aspects of creating a healthy balanced meal. Pick a food from each category and several from the fruits and vegetables. These will be the ingredients for your meal.

An example of a traditional style meal could be fish for your protein (but not an entire fish), some brown rice, and a large salad made of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, blueberries and sesame seeds. For a healthy snack after dinner, try a fruit salad made with three of your favorite fruits.

That is how simple making a healthy balanced meal can be when you have a little information.

What Difference will this make?

Eating healthy balanced meals will allow you to lose weight naturally. At first you will still have cravings for the heavily processed products that you ate in the past. Eventually you will replace those without even thinking about it. You weight will reduce naturally and you will be able to maintain a healthy weight.

There is no cheating with eating healthy balanced meals because you are making the decisions for you diet. If you have potato chips tonight just acknowledge how it makes your body feel. Next time try a nice fresh piece of pineapple with all its amazing health and healing benefits. Acknowledge how it feels. Learn to listen to your body.

Failure does not exist in a healthy balanced diet. Every time you eat a healthy balanced meal, you are moving ahead to a better healthier you.

Most importantly, you will be setting an example for your child, friends and everyone else that you come into contact with. Help make North America a healthy North America. Japan and South Korea are doing it, so can we, one meal at a time.

6 Practical Healthy Recipe Ideas for Weight Loss

Out of convenience, most of us just munch on fast food products and forget how to be healthy. Some say that healthy recipe ideas are far-fetched because it can be costly and hard to maintain just like our weight.

However, all you have to do is read along and be resourceful in following these 6 tips in doing healthy recipes for weight loss.

1. Lean on Protein

You can make easy healthy recipes out of different kinds of meat but the healthiest can be done with fish and chicken. One famous dish is Baked Chicken Casserole which would only require you to use simple ingredients such as pepper and salt to dress the chicken for flavor, then bake it in the oven for 45-60 minutes on an oil-brushed baking pan. This healthy recipe for weight loss can also be done with fish but wrap the fish in an aluminium foil when baking.

2. Be beautiful, eat vegetables

Vegetables are the number one choice if you want a healthy recipe for your idea of weight loss. It has no fat and can be made into various dishes which would not add inches to your waistline. Make sure that when you do a healthy and easy recipe with vegetables, do not overcook to preserve the vitamins it could offer you.

3. In the loop with soup

For those who are into warm and tasty broth, soups are definitely on top of the list for a healthy recipe for weight loss. Soups are very popular because of its ability to give you a tasty experience but at the same time make you feel full and not crave for any more food. The best thing about healthy recipe soup ideas is that you can play with flavors. Just don’t forget to avoid preservatives and artificial flavorings.

4. Mad about Salads

Now if you want to overhaul your diet and detoxify, mixing lean meats, fruits, and vegetables is a great healthy recipe idea. A healthy and easy recipe for weight loss should only be dressed with the basics and not those with too much cream as it can also be loaded with empty calories. You can try vinaigrette or a simple mix of spice, soy, and a small sprinkle of cheese.

5. Whip those Fruits

If your schedule is too busy and have no time to cook, just pull out your blender and do this healthy and easy recipe by making your very own sugarless fruit shake. This method is undoubtedly a go for those who want a healthy recipe for weight loss because it does not only detoxify you, it also speeds up your metabolism, which in return makes it easier for you to lose weight. Try the cranberry banana shake for a unique taste of flavour.

6. Healthy Recipe Ideas and Alternatives

If you are a person who adores carbohydrates, too much fat, or too much sugar then your body might be silently asking you to stop. But don’t fret; there are alternatives if you want a healthy recipe for weight loss. Are you a rice person? You might want to try the brown or red one for more fiber and less sugar. If you think your body needs fats, go for the healthier ones like the ones in fish, which contains fats that are healthier for you. Another healthy and easy recipe alternative is replacing your sugar cravings with mixed fruits and nuts.

Keeping yourself fit and healthy should always be a top priority even if you are on a budget. Remember, with these healthy recipe ideas, you just have to be more resourceful and use what is available in your kitchen. You don’t have to spend much; all you have to do is be disciplined to follow these healthy and easy recipes.

Benefits Of A Healthy Lifestyle

Here are 8 benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

This Article is written to reach the public with a simple and clear method to point out and to reap the benefits of a healthy lifestyle while reducing the risks of chronic diseases such as diabetes.

With the increased understanding of our bodies that we have gained from science over the past few decades, the benefits of a healthy lifestyle are becoming more apparent, along with the reasons why we should detoxify the body at least once a year to remove harmful bacteria, and even worms, from our digestive system. For people of all ages, weights, and abilities the benefits of a healthy lifestyle are endless. But for now let’s look at eight simple benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

1. Your Health:

Good Health is not something that you buy from a drug store or a department store, but can be achieved by practicing collective patterns of health-related behavior, based on choices made from available options. Following this logic, if you wish to realize the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, you have to repeat some healthy pattern as a part of your daily or weekly activities, some patterns like eating right and exercising. Other benefits includes: Reduced health care costs, reduced illness and injuries, reduced doctors visit, Keeps you employed and improved employee/employer relations.

2. Weight:

Managing your weight is the key to attaining all of the health benefits of a Healthy Lifestyle. A weight reduction of just 10 percent will significantly reduce risk of heart disease and other obesity-related illnesses. Obesity/overweight is the second leading contributing factor to many childhood diseases such as orthopedic disorders, sleep apnea, type II diabetes mellitus, asthma, high blood pressure and cholesterol, skin disorders, emotional and psychosocial problems (Spigel, 2002), and many more. Weight-bearing exercise such as walking and strength training helps slow the onset of and/or prevent osteoporosis and some research shows that participating in such activities can actually build bone density and begin to reverse the disease. Other benefits are: Weight reduction, reduced tension and stress, improved well-being, Enhanced self-image and self-esteem and improved physical function.

3. Exercise:

Although drugs alone can often bring cholesterol down to normal levels, diet and exercise provide benefits that drugs don’t. They’ll lower blood pressure, reduce weight, and lower the risk of developing diabetes. A sedentary lifestyle is a dangerous risk factor for disease. Exercise and a healthy diet helps the body use insulin more efficiently and can help control, alleviate and prevent many diseases. Exercise, cessation of tobacco consumption, eating a high-fiber, low-fat diet, controlling body weight, and learning to cope with stress, reduce the risk of heart disease.

4. Medical:

We all want a trim and have healthy body for a variety of aesthetic, social and medical reasons. Healthy living is truly the best medicine. In a study conducted by Tufts University at the New England Medical Center, among patients with cardiovascular disease, an exercise program was shown to significantly reduce LDL cholesterol and other risk factors beyond what’s provided by drug therapy. Even modest weight loss can help reduce medical and pharmacy costs, help avoid bariatric surgery, and co-morbidities such as asthma, hypertension, and diabetes.

5. Wellness:

Wellness is about being comfortable in your space: your body, your attitude, and your environment. A healthy lifestyle can greatly increase a person’s longevity. And even though catching something contagious like a cold or flu is sometimes unavoidable, having the wisdom that feeling healthy is a better way to live should have you asking yourself why you are not taking action to live each day as beneficially as possible. The issue with a lot of people nowadays is that they are so busy working and/or taking care of everyone around them, that they neglect their own health and wellness. Make sure your heart is healthy and your bones are strong and Keep it that way to see the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

6. Care:

The best way to ensure good health is by taking care of yourself. The Care stakes are high but the potential rewards are great-preventing premature death, unnecessary illness, and disability, controlling health care cost, and maintaining a high quality of life into old age. With a healthy lifestyle, you are who you are and you don’t have to be self-conscious about those things that you otherwise would be if you didn’t care about your lifestyle

7. Control:

With a healthy lifestyle, you have more control of your life as you work with your body against those aspects of living which may work to hold you back if you would let them. With a healthy lifestyle, you have control over your sleep patterns so that you feel generally well rested throughout the day. With a healthy lifestyle, everything works together to help other aspects of your lifestyle make sense and benefit you. Science has proven that healthy weight loss, healthy eating and fitness routines make dramatic improvements in health, and help control common chronic illnesses like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, stress, and general lack of stamina.

8. Strength:

Another benefit of a healthy lifestyle is a steady flow of stamina and strength; you can perform activities and exercises that will enhance your flexibility. With a healthy lifestyle, you have a balanced and varied diet that provides your body its needed nutrients and energy as well. You have strength to train to help build the muscle that supports the bones and joints; therefore decreasing the risk of falls and fractures. Cardiovascular exercise, also known as aerobic exercise, strengthens the heart muscle, therefore increases the heart’s efficiency. As we age, our bones biologically begin to lose mass and strength. Weight-bearing exercise such as walking and strength training helps slow the onset of and/or prevent osteoporosis and some research shows that participating in such activities can actually build bone density and begin to reverse the disease.

The good news is you don’t have to train like an Olympic athlete to enjoy the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. The secret and logic are repeating a chosen healthy pattern as a part of your daily or weekly activities. We hope that this will get you to a healthy lifestyle if you are not there already. A healthy lifestyle is a way of life.

A Short Healthy Eating Guide For A Healthier Life

Eating healthy foods can help lengthen lifespans, decrease risk of chronic diseases and increase physical and mental well-being. Foods for healthy eating can be really delicious, and there are plenty of simple food recipes out there for a good, healthy diet. If you’ve got specific dietary condition, you should see a doctor for a healthy food list tailored to your needs. This healthy eating guide presumes no special dietary requirements.

Try to match your calorific intake to the energy you use. While the odd exception won’t be problematic, you can’t eat Christmas recipes every day. Normally women use about 2000 calories a day and men use 2500.

Healthy recipes use less saturated fats and more unsaturated fats. Roughly speaking, saturated fats are fairly solid at room temperature and unsaturated fats are liquid. Seeds and nuts are great for healthy nutrition party because they contain healthy oils: similarly oily fish can be a starting point for healthy, easy recipes.

For a good healthy diet try to eat complete proteins. Animal proteins are usually complete, but also contain a lot of saturated fats which people keeping healthy foods diets should avoid. To get complete proteins from plant sources pair a grain (such as rice, wheat or oats) with a pulse (such as beans, lentils or chickpeas). A more comprehensive healthy food list for pairing can easily be found in an online or print healthy food guide. This combo is so good it’s used in simple food recipes around the world, like Jamaican rice ‘n’ beans and Indian dal with rice. There are Middle Eastern healthy, easy recipes combining wheat (in couscous, bulgur and bread) and chickpeas (e.g. houmous, falafel) which make great diet foods for healthy eating.

A healthy foods diet avoids sugary foods and drinks. Even too much 100% fruit juice can be bad for you, because simple sugars are less healthy than carbohydrates like starch. Diet foods and healthy snacks tend to be low in sugar, so that can be a safer bet. Instead of processed foods, eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, which can be used in healthy, easy recipes from any good healthy food guide.

It doesn’t matter how many meals you eat a day: this differs between cultures and time periods. However, consistency is important to avoid feeling hungry and if hungry between meals eat healthy snacks. Avoid missing breakfast too, because slow-release energy helps get you through work or school.

Speaking of school, it can be hard keeping track of kids’ healthy nutrition. School dinners might not always use healthy recipes, but healthy kids’ snacks are out there. With a lunch-box and a healthy eating guide they’ll be eating healthy foods in no time.