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Basics for Good Health

By Dawn Boulay, Home Bodies CPT

The good news is there is a wealth of health information available to all us everywhere today – on TV, online, articles, self-help books.

The bad news is all this information can be overwhelming, making it hard to apply to our everyday lives, without spending hours on end, trying to figure out what is best for each of us.

Below is a checklist I have given to my clients to help them keep track of the basics for good health and weight maintenance. Clip it and take it with you and see how you do over the course of a week.

First some considerations:

• Look at the big picture – while proper diet and exercise is important to achieve on a daily basis – look at your achievement over the course of a week instead. One bad day does not a bad week make.

• For people in good health, shoot for a balanced diet with a lot of variety consisting of 60% complex carbohydrates, 15-20% protein, up to 25% health fats.

Naturally adjustments can be made to suit your needs, for example: you may require less protein if you have liver or kidney problems or an auto immune disease. You may require more protein if you are an athlete in training or competition.

• Move toward a plant-based diet for heart and colon health – a diet high in vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and whole grains ensures you are getting enough fiber in your daily diet, and fills you up so you’ll feel less hungry.

• Choose poultry, fish (at least twice weekly) and legumes. Keep lean red meats to a minimum – maybe once a month.

• Snacks that consist of a little protein and complex carbohydrate help fill you up and stave off hunger.

• Dairy is not essential for all, as some have intolerance and allergies. You can look to non-dairy sources for calcium, protein, Vitamin D.

• Drink plenty of fluids – 8 cups of water daily, more in hot weather or exercising.

• Exercise minimally 30 minutes a day – cardio on most days, and resistance training 2-3 times weekly. Flexibility is ageless; incorporate stretching into your day.

• Portion size has increased dramatically over the last few decades, contributing to America’s obesity problem. Portion sizes can be confusing - the portion sizes expressed, are in handfuls, easy to visualize.

• Check out the Harvard School of Public Health’s The Healthy Eating Pyramid at

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