We all know that to live healthy we must eat right, exercise, and reduce stress. Good, wholesome food is the most fundamental element that nurtures our lives. Today, our attitude toward food choices can be overshadowed by fear and uncertainty because many of us suffer from chronic illness to some degree, and there is not always an obvious cause.
Our own life in Italy has taught us to follow an Old-World approach to good health. We would like to share ten simple, yet effective steps to follow for long-term vitality and well-being.
1. Identify hidden food intolerances
Symptoms may include abdominal pain, hives, skin rash, asthma, fatigue, irritability, headaches, acne, a lack of concentration, a child’s slow growth and many more. Undiagnosed food allergies cause many chronic health problems.
- Start an elimination diet. Identify and isolate the foods that may be causing the symptoms and diligently avoid them.
- Opt out on your daily favorites for a change and you may notice that one of your staple foods may be causing a problem.
2. Variety is essential
No one really knows exactly what’s good or bad for each individual, so don't get into a dietary rut. Many years ago, food was eaten seasonally and this created natural variety.
- Too much of anything is not good, so broadening your selections will enhance the mix of nutrients you absorb from your diet.
- You will find it is the lack of good recipe that causes you to eat the same things each day. If there is a vegetable in season that you do not like, search for new recipes that sound appetizing.
3. Choose protein wisely
If you are not vegetarian, cut back and eat smaller portions of meat because it is healthier for you and better for the environment.
- Beans are an excellent source of protein and remember that lentils, chickpeas and peas were founder crops domesticated with wild Einkorn thousands of years ago.
- Wild-caught fish is low in saturated fats and a good source of essential omega-3 fatty acids that we do not normally consume.
4. Focus on vegetables
They contain a rich mix of pure antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that your body can easily assimilate.
- Place more emphasis on vegetables and less on protein.
- Don't forget herbs. Cooking with freshly minced basil, chives, oregano, dill, sage, rosemary, and thyme can boost the free-radical scavenging power of your food.
5. Eat fruit frequently
When I first met my Italian-born mother-in-law, she scolded me for taking vitamins, because in the Old World perspective food is beloved, seasonal, and perfect as is.
- Trust the inherent power of fresh, seasonal fruit. Mother Nature created a precise balance of vitamins and mineral so don’t discount their potential.
6. Relax and enjoy your meal
Everyone has a busy life and it's difficult to enjoy a relaxing meal.
- Make a regular habit of eating in a relaxing environment with family and friends. Seize this sacred time, start good conversation and have fun.
- In Europe, setting the table neatly every evening with a crisply ironed tablecloth is a common practice and makes meals feel special. Try it or simply light a candle.
7. Eat at regular intervals
Try not to delay or skip meals to the point of becoming excessively hungry.
- Prepare your meal before you're overly hungry—eating too quickly makes digestion difficult and causes overeating.
- By eating at regular times each day, you can eat less and stay light.
8. Try growing your food
Getting closer to nature and experiencing how food is grown enhances food awareness and appreciation.
- Plant a garden. Because vitamins and minerals degrade over time and with refrigeration, a garden lets you enjoy vegetables and fruit that are packed with nutrition.
- Even freshly cultivated herbs in a small container works fine. I often spice up a sandwich with fresh whole basil and chopped chives instead of lettuce.
9. Get children to eat everything
This is the most important foundation that ensures kids grow up to be healthy adults.
- Offer variety and don't force them to try, just set a good example. Children learn by observing their parents so don't allow their preferences to limit your diet, take the lead and have patience.
10. Enjoy preparing meals
Cooking at home doesn’t have to be a laborious task if you keep it simple.
- I learned in Italy that preparing a great meal should take no more than 20 minutes.
- Visit Jovial recipe section and try our wholesome, yet quick and delicious pasta meals.
Let food make you feel Jovial