We all realize how important it is to our overall well-being to eat healthy food. Poor diet contributes to a variety of negatives. It encourages excessive weight gain. It reduces energy levels. It makes us more vulnerable to illness and disease. Eating “the good stuff” should be a priority for all of us.
Fortunately, many of us have taken that lesson to heart and are making a conscious effort to purchase healthy food items. That’s certainly a step in the right direction, but some of us inadvertently undermine progress after making those smart selections due to the way we prepare those healthful ingredients. We often cross the line and our healthy food ceases to retain its nutritional value or we find ways to overwhelm the good with a series of bad decisions.
One example is our tendency to overcook vegetables. By subjecting healthy food to an intense and lengthy cooking process, we reduce its nutritional value, cooking much of the vitamins and nutrients right out of the food. A fresh carrot is a wonderful thing. A carrot roasted in a crock pot in the drippings of a fatty pot roast for six hours is a vaguely carrot-flavored piece of mush that maintains very little of its original nutritional value.
Another example is our willingness to treat healthy items in incredibly healthy ways. There’s no doubt that buying whole grain bread is better than purchasing a loaf of white bread. However, you undermine your efforts to live a healthier life when you slather two big slices of the whole gain alternative with several tablespoons of butter!
Eating a boneless, skinless chicken breast is better than choking down a fatty sausage, but when your chicken is swimming in a heavy cream sauce, it’s hard to see a real health advantage to making the switch. There’s nothing all that healthy about fresh mushrooms when their battered and fried. A salad is a wonderful idea. When it’s dripping in ranch dressing and is topped with three fistfuls of croutons, it isn’t really doing you much good.
Put simply, buying healthy food isn’t enough. We need to treat it the right way after we make the purchase. Sure, there’s some incremental gain involved if you do everything the same way with better ingredients, but that improvement is nothing compared to what you can do for yourself by using healthy foods in healthy ways.
Congratulate yourself of the decision to buy healthier ingredients. That’s a great step in a much better direction. Now, challenge yourself to use those wonderful items in ways that will allow you to experience their full health benefit. If you cook your healthy food in smart ways, you’ll begin to notice a significant difference in your health, appearance and energy levels.