Do you want a successful career as a freelance writer? Then you must be very careful about what food you put in your body.
What you eat determines how much energy you have and how much work you’ll get done, and potentially how long you’ll live — as a healthy writer you have the best chance of a long and productive career.
I have a science background (biochemistry degree from the University of California, Davis, plus biochem research in laboratories at Cornell University and Sweden’s Lund University) and I’m a strong believer in using scientific studies to determine what’s really happening in our bodies.
The recommendations here are based on the best research available from nutritionists and scientists, and they incorporate the latest guidelines from the Department of Agriculture, which recently replaced the well-known food pyramid with the food plate.
Now let’s look at specifics…
8 Keys to Choosing Healthy Foods
- Eat at least 9 servings per day of vegetables and fruits (that’s up from 5 per day in the old guidelines);
- Try to eat as many colors as possible of fruits and vegetables: red bell peppers, yellow pears, green lettuce, blueberries, etc.
- Emphasize whole fruits over fruit juices.
- Include beans and peas and other legumes.
- Eat whole grains and avoid the processed grains commonly found in products such as white bread, many boxed cereals, and most pastries and cookies.
- Include modest amounts of nonfat and low-fat milk products such as yogurt and milk.
- Eat low-fat/lean meat only, and in moderation. Go with fish when possible; chicken is also good source of quality protein. Get most of your protein from nuts, seeds, beans, and peas.
- Consume healthy oils from vegetables, nuts, and fish.
12 Guidelines for Healthy Eating
- Eat smaller meals. Eat until you’re about 80% full and then stop. A full stomach means your body focuses much of its energy on digesting the food, and this frequently leaves you sleepy and unable to do anything at a high level of competence.
- Eat more frequently. Have a modest-sized breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and add healthy snacks like fruits and whole-grain products in between breakfast and lunch and lunch and dinner.
- Eat foods that have been minimally processed whenever possible.
- Make locally produced foods a priority.
- Eat organic foods or foods with minimal pesticide treatment when practical.
- Vary the foods you eat. Try new foods. Don’t make a habit of eating the same foods again and again.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
- Avoid foods that have substantial amounts of sugar, salt, and white flour.
- Don’t eat anything at least 2 hours before you go to bed. Your body needs time to digest the food, and you don’t want a full stomach when you’re trying to go to sleep. (Think heartburn and discomfort.)
- Pay attention to the latest studies about nutrition. Evaluate them carefully before making major changes in your diet.
- Be wise about what nutritional supplements you take. I only use those recommended by doctors, although opinions do vary. I personally take fish oil and calcium supplemented with Vitamin D every day, and one-half of a low-dose multivitamin with minerals three times a week.
- Know your own body and what it needs. This means you pay attention to how you feel after you eat specific foods, and you are aware that you could have allergies to certain foods, or not be able to digest some things properly, like gluten.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Maintaining a weight that is appropriate for your height and body structure will make you feel better and allow you to get more done in all areas of your life.
The best way to lose weight is to follow the dietary guidelines above and begin an exercise program that includes moderate aerobic activity appropriate for your overall health. Consult your doctor first before beginning a weight loss program, and be very wary of all those diet plans and weight-loss powders and pills: They are only truly designed to make your wallet lighter.
The key to losing weight is to consistently burn more calories than you consume. But make the change slowly: no radical downward shifts in caloric intake and intense exercise programs. Begin with the healthy foods discussed above in appropriate amounts that leave you satisfied but not bloated, and also start an exercise program in consultation with your health care practitioner.
How healthy is your diet? How can you change it to make it healthier? How does your diet affect your writing productivity? Tell us below!
(Strawberry photo courtesy of aMichiganMom)