Everything You Think You Know

Everything You Think You Know About Healthy Eating is Wrong
           By Dr. Roopa Chari, M.D.


Nutrition and diet information is everywhere!

Everyone has heard the intense focus regarding how much you eat. This has gotten a lot of attention because while this does affect your weight and energy level, it's certainly not the “holy grail” of health.

Let us focus a little bit more on the often overlooked (and proven) benefits of what you eat and drink and how you eat and drink it.

What you eat and drink

The “calories in, calories out” philosophy (i.e. how much you eat) is now taking more of a back seat with research on other factors that may be just as important. Please don't get me wrong, limiting calories, carbs or fat can certainly help you lose weight but that's simply not the only factor for long-term weight loss and maximum energy for everyone.

When the intense focus on how much we ate didn't work in the long-run it wasn’t really a surprise. 

You can certainly still continue to count your calories, carbs, and fat but don't forget to also pay attention to what you eat.

Ideally, you need a varied diet full of minimally-processed foods (i.e. fewer “packaged” “ready-to-eat” foods). This simple concept is very important for weight loss, energy, and overall health and wellness.

Every day this is what you should aim for:

  • A colourful array of fruits and veggies at almost every meal and snack. You need the fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Enough protein. Making sure you get all of those essential amino acids (bonus: eating protein can increase your metabolism).
  • Healthy fats and oils (never “hydrogenated” ones). There is a reason some fatty acids are called “essential” - you need them as building blocks for your hormones and brain as well as to be able to absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins from your healthy salads. Use extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, eat your organic egg yolks, and buy grass-fed meats when possible. It is important to make sure that you are getting some high-quality fats.

How you eat and drink

Also pay attention to how you eat and drink.

Studies are definitely showing that this has more of an impact than we previously thought.

Are you rushed, not properly chewing your food, and possibly suffering from gastrointestinal issues? Do you drink your food?

When it comes to how you eat let's first look at “mindful eating”.

Mindful eating means to take smaller bites, eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and savour every bite. Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture. Breathe.

This gives your digestive system the hint to prepare for digestion and to secrete necessary enzymes.

This can also help with weight loss because eating slower often means eating less. Did you know that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full?

Keep this mind as you finish your meal!

We also know that more thoroughly chewed food is easier to digest and it makes it easier to absorb all of those essential nutrients.

And don't forget about drinking your food.

Yes, smoothies can be a healthy, fabulous easy and tasty way to get in some fruits and veggies (especially leafy greens!) but drinking too much food can contribute to feelings of sluggishness.

Don't get me wrong, a green smoothie can make an amazing, nutrient-dense meal and is much better than stopping for convenient junk food – just consider a large smoothie to be a snack versus a meal. Also don't gulp that smoothie down too fast!

If your smoothies don't fill you up like a full meal does, try adding in a spoon of fiber such as ground flax or chia seeds.


Consider not only how much you eat but also what and how you eat it.

Recipe (Smoothie meal): Chia Peach Green Smoothie

Serves 1

Handful spinach
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 banana
1 chopped peach
1 cup unsweetened almond milk

Add ingredients to blender in the order listed (you want your greens on the bottom by the blade so they blend better and have the chia on the bottom to absorb some liquid before you blend).

Wait a couple of minutes for the chia seeds to start soaking up the almond milk.

Blend, Serve and Enjoy!

Tip: Smoothies are the ultimate recipe for substitutions. Try swapping different greens, fruit or seeds to match your preference.

Bonus: Chia seeds not only have fiber and essential omega-3 fatty acids but they contain all of the essential amino acids from protein.






Roopa Chari, M.D.


Dr. Roopa Chari is a medical doctor for over 20 years with a specialty in Internal Medicine and practices Functional medicine at The Chari Center of Health (www.charicenter.com), an advanced integrative medical center in Encinitas, CA. Dr. Chari focuses on nutrition and leading-edge natural remedies for treating medical conditions and focuses on Weight Loss for Women over 40. Dr. Chari offers a free 15 minute weight loss consult at : https://bit.ly/2QvqNms

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