Balance and Behavior Change – UMUSEKE – News indeed
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I think we can all agree that balance is an important part of many aspects of life. Before learning balance, a baby falls down many times as it learns to walk. Without balance gravity takes over and we can have accidents, sometimes minor and sometimes major. 

eatwell
eatwell

 

The same is true with other aspects of life such as work, rest and nutrition. Lack of balance in these parts of life results in poor health!!!

A ‘balanced diet’ means that a person is getting all the nutrients (protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamins, minerals and enzymes) in all the right amounts and ratios to each other. In other words, not too much of any one item. If a person eats only protein the kidneys, pancreas and brain will suffer.

That person will continue to live but not in good health, especially over time. Of course, that’s a bit of an extreme example but it gives you the idea.  The same is true for the other nutrients as well.

A balanced diet provides the nutrients needed to sustain life with optimum health. Less than optimum health results in disease. There are 2 basic kinds of diseases: communicable and non-communicable. Most everyone is aware of the severe communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, even flu.

The non-communicable diseases are in 2 basic categories also: hereditary or genetic and lifestyle. It’s the lifestyle related diseases that are most related to nutrition. And that’s the GOOD NEWS because that’s something you have control over. Establishing a sound nutritional lifestyle will enable you to have optimum health for a lifetime.

However, it’s one thing to know what to do and another thing to actually do it!!! Establishing and following a healthy food plan can be easy and difficult at the same time. Creating a healthy lifestyle is usually not an easy task nor is it accomplished immediately. This is behavior change at it’s finest. It’s easy to talk about behavior change when it involves someone else or a behavior you don’t have to manage, like drugs or unsafe sex. But when it involves your food choices, it’s another complex issue. Behavior change related to food is an on going process that requires commitment and dedication, short term goals and the long term satisfaction that results in optimum health.

Rather than address what a balanced food plan looks like and the changes that almost everyone here in Rwanda need to make, let me just give a few guidelines so that you can observe yourself and the food you eat. That’s essential if you are going to move yourself in the direction of good health.

-The FIRST guideline is to take adequate amounts of water. If you missed the articles on water, you can probably find them in the archives.

Bottled water
Bottled water

-The SECOND guideline is to have plenty of vegetables and fruits with color such as mangos, greens, avocados, carrots, tomatoes.

vegetables
vegetables

-The THIRD is to reduce (better is to eliminate) fried foods.

Fried food
Fried food

-The FOURTH is to have some sort of raw food daily.

raw food sample
raw food sample

 

Each of these guidelines and more on behavior change will be addressed in the next article. Keep coming back because it gets better and better as does your health when you follow these guidelines for optimum health through optimum nutrition.

Joanna   

UM– USEKE. Volunteer

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