Behold! I bring you these 10 nutritional commandments from the mountain of good life: these are daily guides to help you make healthy decisions to achieve a healthy life.
1. You shall not skip your breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day as it provides the body with sufficient energy to kick-start the day after a long night fast. Skipping breakfast is an unhealthy practice as you may get so hungry, increasing your cravings for snacks that are high-fat and high-sugar foods, which also increases your weight later in life.
Eating breakfast fuels your brain with sufficient energy to function and keep you attentive. Breakfast should be a key component in the daily meals of individuals who want to lose or maintain a healthy weight as it helps keep your appetitcheck,check, preventing overeating and snacking on high fat and sugary foods, which are factors to excessive weight gain. Among diabetic and hypertensive patients, eating a high-fiber breakfast helps control their blood sugar and blood pressure. Breakfast is usually eaten between the hours of 6 to 8 am. Some Ghanaian breakfast meals you can consider for the morning depending on your activity level includes;
- corn dough porridge (boiled corn dough paste) with buff loaf (popularly called bofroat)
- millet porridge (Hausa koko) with koose
- oatmeal or wheat porridge or rice water (boiled rice with lots of water) or tom brown (milled roasted corn and groundnut) accompanied by bread and cut vegetable sandwich into them. To give it a great taste, sugar, milk or groundnut can be added to these porridges.
- Waakye (a mixture of boiled rice and beans) with fish/meat or beans and fried ripe plantain is another option.
2.You shall not live a sedentary lifestyle
Living a sedentary lifestyle is a lifestyle with little or no physical activity and such individuals often sit or lie down while engaging in activities. Living a sedentary lifestyle also has many health-related consequences such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancers, heart diseases, and even early death.
Averagely, adults are to engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each week, which is usually broken down into equal 30 minutes for at least five days. You can also engage in some activities like sweeping, washing, cleaning and so on at home. Engaging in physical activities such as running, cycling, swimming, brisk walking, and jogging helps regulate your blood sugar levels, blood pressure, burn down some fats, and also reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, and stroke.
3.You shall not hinder your daily meals from fruits and vegetables
Depriving your body of fruits and vegetables is equivalent to depriving your body of the soldiers that help fight some infections and diseases. Fruits and vegetables should be an important part of your daily diet because they do not only make your meals colourful but also provide your body with vitamins and minerals which help boost your immunity (protection) against some infections and diseases. Fruits can be eaten as mid-morning snacks at 10am and mid-afternoon snacks (3 pm). You are required to eat two servings of fruits per day which can be translated as two fingers of banana, or one medium-sized apple or orange, or a wedge of watermelon.
Vegetables on the other hand can also be eaten as a whole meal as in salads or as an accompaniment in stews and soups. 3 to 5 servings of vegetables each day meets the daily requirement, and that represents six stew ladles of raw salad vegetables and 3 stew ladles of cooked vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are a good source of dietary fiber and eating them as part of a well-balanced, regular diet and a healthy, active lifestyle helps you to reduce and maintain a healthy weight, control your cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
4.You shall not take the dietary advice of your dietitian in vain
Dietitians are qualified nutrition experts that provide education and counsel clients based on their nutritional and health status. They also provide dietary advice to their clients considering their individual preferences, economic status, religious and ethnic beliefs, geographical location, availability and accessibility to food. This involves the consent of the client, not imposing dietary regimens on them.
Dietitians do not reduce the number of foods to be eaten as claimed by some individuals, but rather they alter the composition of a diet to help you achieve a healthy life. I encourage clients to adhere to all dietary regimens offered to them by their dietitians, and also to consult a dietitian if you have any nutrition-related problem or question.
5. Remember the appropriate mealtimes and keep it holy
Eating within consistent meal times is a healthy practice that helps prevent sudden hunger, and keeps the body with adequate energy throughout the day. Breakfast which is the first meal of the day is usually eaten between the hours of 6 to 8 am followed by lunch, the noon meal also at 12 -1 pm. Supper which is the last meal of the day can be eaten before 6:30 pm.
6. Honor the words of your dietitian and his diet plans that your days may be long in good health
Honoring the words of a dietitian is by observing the dietary and lifestyle advice your dietitian gives you. Dietitians also offer their client diet plans which serve as a guide to healthy eating as they provide you with sample meals to consider within the healthy mealtimes. Diet plans also guides you to make healthy food choices aside from the sample meals stated.
Honoring the dietitian’s diet plan is by following it as it also would help you achieve your set aim or goal which may be reducing or maintaining your weight, lowering your cholesterol levels, lowering your blood sugar levels, and lowering your blood pressure.
7. You shall not use the same chopping board or knife for both raw foods and ready-to-eat foods.
When cooking, you need to use a different chopping board and knife for raw foods like meat and fishes and also a different one for ready-to-eat foods like bread, vegetables, and fruits to prevent cross-contamination. Most raw foods are easily contaminated, and their contaminants can be transferred to other foods if you use only one chopping board or knife for both raw and ready-to-eat foods without thorough cleaning of this equipment. To prevent this, kindly use a different chopping board or knife for both raw foods and ready-to-eat foods.
8. You shall not keep your body dehydrated
The feel of thirst, dark yellow urine, headache, dry skin, and dry or sticky mouth are some symptoms of dehydration. Although your body loses water every day through tears, saliva (spit), sweating, breathing, “peeing, and pooping”, it is not healthy to keep your body dehydrated.
Averagely, an adult is supposed to drink about 2 to 3 liters of water per day, which is also equivalent to 4 to 6 sachets of water. Keeping your body hydrated improves your sleep quality, regulates your body temperature thereby preventing sudden headaches, and keeps your skin supple. Always avoid caffeinated drinks like energy drinks and coffee to stay hydrated.
9. You shall not take alcohol before, during and after meals
Drinking alcohol before, during, and after meals is not a healthy practice because it has a long-term effect on your health. Chronic consumption of alcohol before, during, and after meals can damage your internal organs like the liver, kidney, and heart.
Drinking alcohol before meals is not a healthy regimen to boost your appetite. You can consider some cut or juiced fruits 30 to 45 minutes before a meal as a way to increase your appetite. You can also consider another variety of cut or juiced fruit as dessert, 45 minutes to an hour after eating.
10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s high fatty, salty or sugary foods, nor any food that lacks dietary fiber that is your neighbors.
Most times, we are tempted by the aroma, taste, and garnishing looks of foods when we attend parties or visit our neighbors leaving us with an option coveting their high fatty, salty or sugary foods, and any food that lacks dietary fiber.
Frequent consumption of high fatty, salty or sugary foods has the tendency of increasing your weight above the healthy limit and also increasing your risk of developing chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, some types of cancers and stroke. Foods that lack fiber cannot also help control your blood sugar, blood pressure and your cholesterol levels.
Thank you for having time to read my piece on Nutritional Commandments. In my next piece, I will be glad to chat with you about hypertension.
This piece was put together by Nii Amartei, dietitian on DIET TV (YouTube) | +233 209 330 918