Nutrition – the principle that is the core of this site.
When you think of nutrition, a lot of different things may run through your mind; kale, fish, eggs, milk, vitamin supplements and fortified breakfast cereal, just to name a few. With all of the conflicting messages of what you should and shouldn’t eat, it can be hard to figure out what to cut out or add into your diet.
The dictionary defines nutrition as “the process of providing or obtaining the food necessary for health and growth.”
What is Nutrition?
Nutrition is all about getting the foods that we need to be healthy.
What are the right foods?
The Adventist model of Nutrition comes from the standpoint of design. While the body was designed to be very resilient and to make the best use of a range of foods, according to the Scripture, it was originally designed to function best on natural plant foods. While there is definite variance as to each exact plant food that one can eat – such as limitations due to individual sensitivities, or disease conditions – meaningful investigations and studies into restorative health arrive at the same conclusion.
There is a consensus that certain foods ARE better than others. The main food categories include vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains & seeds..
There is also a consensus that most of these foods should be eaten in the purest form possible. For instance, eating a frozen dinner of mystery meat and cooked, then frozen vegetables not only sounds horrible, but lacks most of the nutrients that the original foods had. Not to mention many of these foods are now saturated with preservatives, food colorant, and “natural” or “artificial” flavors.
Seventh-day Adventists focus on eating vegetables and fruits first and foremost, followed by seeds, beans, whole grains, and legumes. Nuts and healthy oils are also good in small amounts. Adventists typically attempt to avoid meat and meat products, processed food, pre-packaged food, fast food, and white sugar.
Unfortunately, SDA members have become well known for their veggie-meats and other processed soy products. These products were originally designed to help people transition from a heavy-meat diet to a vegetarian diet. Throughout the time, instead of weeding these products out and eliminating a meat replacement, people increased the variety of fake meat types in their diet. Although these foods are not part of the Adventist health message, it is probable that you will see them being used by some church members as a staple of their diet. If you choose to eat veggie meat products instead of meat, it’s best to limit your intake to special occasions as you would any other product with low nutritional value.
Speaking of nutritional value, a good way to determine if you should be eating a certain food is by looking at the nutrient density. High calories and low nutrients per serving are typically foods that you should stay away from, while low calorie high nutrient foods should be eaten frequently.
Another benefit to eating nutrient dense foods is that you will be able to eat a lot more food without gaining excess weight.
How to Eat Food
There are ways of preparing and eating your food that are better than others.
First, keep food preparation simple!
Don’t worry about cooking everything, raw is often better. Also, keeping preparation to a minimum can help you stick to a nutritional goal.
Second, eat the good stuff first!
What’s the good stuff you ask? Vegetables and fruits of course.
If you eat the most nutrient dense foods first, they will help to fill you up before you move onto the cooked foods. Remember in most cases cooked foods will have a lower nutrition density than their raw counterparts. Adventists also believe that it’s best to eat fruits and vegetables at separate meals for optimal digestion. Eat vegetables with two meals and fruits with one.
Third, proper mastication.
Chew your food slowly and savor each bite. The more you chew your food the less work it is on your stomach. Also, slowing down can help your body to register that you’re full before you overeat. If you ever have the urge to gobble something down, slow down and ask yourself why you want to devour it. In this way eating slowly can help you eliminate emotional eating patterns.
Fourth, eat at regular times and don’t eat between meals.
Although some people now eat several “mini” meals a day, most Americans eat the traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner. Eating food at regular intervals without snacking will help to eliminate junk food snacks and help you to identify when you are actually hungry verses thirsty. Recent reports indicate that people have a hard time telling the difference between hunger and thirst, so if you feel hungry during the day-reach for a glass of water instead.
Fifth, eat for your health.
This is hard for most people with taste buds. Fast food, desserts, fat and sweet foods all smell and taste delicious beckoning us to eat them. Unfortunately, these are the foods that we need to avoid the most! Overeating is often due to a lack of self-disciple which doesn’t benefit your overall health.
Bonus Point: Remember to consume a variety of foods every day! In some cases foods are in season and so it makes sense to eat them over other foods. But, it’s best if you try to mix it up. Eat garbanzo beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans during the week instead of the lentils you normally eat. In selecting food, you really do want to eat a whole rainbow of colors.
“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” 1st Corinthians 10:31.