I was out at a restaurant the other day when a gentleman at the salad bar caught my eye. He was talking to a friend about eating healthy. He thought that he was being healthy because he was at the salad bar. Salads are always healthy. Aren’t they? Well, this person had a created a large salad for himself. The majority of his salad was made up of iceberg lettuce. Iceberg lettuce has few nutrients. Next, he added a large amount of cheese, bacon, and croutons. Finally, it was topped off with a large amount of a creamy dressing. This “salad” that he had created had a large number of calories and virtually no nutrients. This is a sure recipe for putting on weight and harming your health. Unfortunately, for most people, this is what a salad looks like. It should not be this way. An important rule for good health is that salads should be a large part of your diet. Here is what a healthy salad looks like. First of all, the base of any salad should be dark green lettuce. Your best choices include kale, arugula, and mixed greens. These are loaded with phytonutrients, vitamins, and fiber. Romaine is also a better choice than iceberg. Next, there should be a large variety of colorful vegetables added in. Good choices include onions, peppers, carrots, cucumbers, mushrooms, broccoli, and tomatoes. The more colors the better. Vegetables are loaded with cancer fighting phytonutrients, low in calories, and filled with healthy fiber. Different colored vegetables have different types of phytonutrients. They are very low in calories. In fact, you could stuff yourself with vegetables and still lose weight. Finally, salad dressing should be used in extreme moderation. Salad dressing can add calories very quickly. Try an olive oil based vinaigrette versus a cream dressing. Always ask for your dressing on the side and dip your salad into the dressing. Use the smallest amount of dressing possible. Make the salad a healthy part of your meal. Remember, salads can help fill you up for a small amount of calories so you eat less during the rest of the meal. So go crazy. Create a large and colorful salad for your next meal. You will know that you are getting a large amount of nutrients and a small number of calories. This is a sure equation for improving your health.
Let’s say you just bought a brand new shiny red $250, 000 Ferrari. It is a beautiful, precisely functioning piece of machinery. How would you treat your new car? Would you put sugar water in the gas tank or feed it premium gasoline? Would you just let it sit in the garage or would you take it out for a spin? Would you get it serviced regularly to make sure it is functioning optimally? Do you treat your body the same way? Do you care about your appearance enough to keep it looking good? Do you spend time, money, and effort to take preventive measures such as working out and eating nutritious foods to prevent health problems and the huge expenses that come with them, much like an oil change? Think about it. You would spend the money to feed your sports car premium fuel. Why do you not do the same for your body? Your body thrives on nutritious, fresh food such as fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains. Why do you continue to feed it garbage like sugar, simple carbs, and excess fat? How would the Ferrari run on sugar water? Not well! Just like your body does not run well on junk food. You feel tired and sluggish after eating junk, the same way the car would run on inferior gasoline. How would the Ferrari engine run if it just sat in the garage and was never driven? Your body is exactly the same. You need to get out and move. Regular aerobic activity is critical to keep your body functioning well. Remember, prevention is proactive thinking. There is the initial investment of time, money, and effort to get your body running smooth as the Ferrari. However, it is far more expensive and dangerous to let your body go. The hard part of prevention is that there is not immediate gratification. You are putting in effort now for future rewards and good health. But, you sure would practice prevention with your new Ferrari. You would spend the money and effort on an oil change that in no way changes the way the car runs and feels at the present moment. You would do it to avoid problems in the long run. Most people know that they have to get their oil changed or else suffer problems with their car later on. We also know that we have to take care of our bodies or else we will suffer problems later on. Disease such as heart attacks, strokes, and cancer are highly preventable. So why would we treat our car better than our bodies? Do you do this? How much is your body worth? Is your arm worth $250, 000? How much are your eyes worth? Most of us would say our bodies are priceless. So why would you not treat your body like the precious engine it truly is? Think about that. You only get one body and one life. Take the appropriate measures today with your physical and spiritual health: eat healthier foods, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep. Don’t be lazy. Be proactive. Start today!