A Healthy Temple

Lydia Smith
Health Science/Nutrition Expert

What is health and what does it mean to you? Is it really important to eat well? 

‘Health’ is a holistic word - meaning it encompasses more than just diet. It includes all aspects of life: spiritual, mental, social and physical. It is therefore impossible to be healthy if you nurture one of these aspects alone and ignore the others. This segment, however, is going to focus on the dietary aspect and what you can do to improve it! 

Having a healthy diet is extremely important. We believe our bodies are ‘living temples’ for God (1 Corinthians 3:16) and we want to look after those temples and not fill them with junk! Secondly, being healthy allows your body to work more effectively to fight disease and helps your brain to think more clearly—not to mention less wrinkles, shinier hair, clearer skin and more energy! 

So now that we know why it’s so important, how do we achieve it? We are practically bombarded with food commercials - tempting us every five minutes to try this new chocolate or those chips. Not to mention healthy choices can be pretty limited! It is therefore quite a confronting task but it is definitely achievable. I’ll be very honest in saying that you cannot make long term changes by just going on a quick fix diet. Instead, think of making lifestyle changes for good and leaving the old habits behind! The best way to do this is to keep it simple and make changes bit by bit so that you ease into healthy eating! Every change, no matter how small, makes a difference, and once you make it a habit it gets easier and easier. 
Ask God to help you have the motivation and then make a firm decision within yourself to carry out your plans for healthier living. Be determined to ‘be the best you’ you can be and don’t let excuses like “it’s the weekend” or “well, I’ve had a rough day” side track you from what is most important – your health and wellbeing. 

The most important thing is that healthy eating is not about complex nutritional philosophies, staying unrealistically thin, or depriving yourself of the foods you love. Rather it’s about feeling good about yourself and respecting your body. Here is a sample meal plan to help you get started. 

•    ⅔ cup oats (cooked in a milk of your choice)
1 tbsp honey
•    One large orange
•    Herbal tea

•    Vegetarian chicken salad sandwich on rye bread
•    Hummus (as a dip)
•    Carrot and celery sticks
•    Cookie
•    250 ml Water

•    1 cup roasted vegetables
•    2 vegetarian sausages
•    ½ cup cooked Basmati Rice
•    Small bowl of homemade apple crumble (very small amount of butter used in the crumble)
•    Tea

There are also some common foods to be wary of. They may sound like they’re good for you but it’s often not the case. The main culprits are:

•    Fruit juice: although they contain vitamins, juices on the shelf are often very high in sugar and have about the same amount of sugar as soft drinks. If you see ‘reconstituted’ on the label it means that the juice has been watered down and had sugar and other things added. Choose a juice from a juice bar or a piece of fruit instead. 
•    Yogurts: many yogurts include an incredible amount of sugar. Which is why they taste so nice! Buy acidophilus yogurt or make it yourself at home (you can buy yogurt makers from most major supermarkets). 
•    Pre-made salad: I see a lot of packaged and pre-made salads that seem to contain mostly lettuce with a few gratings of carrot but nothing much else. Lettuce is mostly water and has very little nutritional value, so if you buy a salad make sure it has lots of colors and a variety of ingredients in there. Also ask for dressings on the side. It’s preferable to make your own salads and dressings at home. 
Notice how it’s possible to eat healthily and still have a treat now and then. Extremism says you can’t have anything bad, ever! But remember that health is meant to be holistic and includes your mental health as well. So, even if you have a perfect diet but it’s making you miserable, you have defeated a large part of the purpose for eating healthily! Remember that balance is key; just focus on keeping servings small and limiting to one treat per day if you can. 

Be well!