A few simple rules for eating after 50

By Michele Wojciechowski

“Sugar is more addictive than crack,” chef Mareya Ibrahim, aka The Fit Foodie, talks about eating better at 50+ and how to do it

This article is reproduced with permission from NextAvenue.org.

My name is Michele. I am 54 years old. And I want to learn how to eat better.

Chef Mareya Ibrahim to the rescue!

Ibrahim, also known as The Fit Foodie and author of the book “Eat Like You Give a Fork: The Real Dish on Eating to Thrive”, is more than happy to help.

Born in Alexandria, Egypt, then raised in New York after her family emigrated to the United States when she was two years old, Ibrahim knows all about how eating better can help. She says growing up in a Middle Eastern family, shopping, cooking meals for many and then eating together was the anchor of her life.

“I really enjoyed being with my family,” recalls Ibrahim, 53. “The only part I didn’t like was the feeling that I always had to eat too much. I think the starvation mindset of a third world culture was that if you have food, you should eat as much as you can. work for me.”

“The Fit Foodie was born out of a desire to love food and embrace beautiful cooking, but at the same time take a sustainable approach that gets you fit in mind, body and spirit. and soul,” says Ibrahim.

So how do you become a foodie?

building blocks of life

Protein: Ibrahim says the main thing people over 50 need to think about in terms of diet is protein.

“Protein is the building blocks of life. It’s what fuels your muscles, and as we age, maintaining muscle is extremely important for a number of reasons. More muscle burns fat efficiently. helps keep your skeletal system in shape. It helps build your bone density, which is important with calcium,” she explains. “By keeping lean muscle mass on your body, you’ll help prevent the inflammation that often stems from joint breakdown, lack of collagen in your system, and general aging.”

Read: More ‘good’ foods vs. ‘bad’: 10 healthy eating ‘habits’ to prevent heart disease and death

When we think of a meal, many of us tend to think of simple carbs, she says — pasta, rice or bread. “And in small amounts, it’s fine anyway,” she says. But it’s essential to focus on and prioritize lean proteins like chicken breast, turkey, fish, and omega-3 fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and tuna.

Even eggs – yolks and all – can be good for you. Be sure, however, to stay away from bisphenol A (BPA), an industrial chemical that can be found in plastic and metal cans.

Leafy greens: Second, add leafy greens to your diet. If you’re not thrilled with them, Ibrahim suggests incorporating them discreetly into your diet. For example, you can make a smoothie that includes spinach, but also cocoa powder and blueberries. “It tastes like chocolate milk,” she says. “You don’t taste the greens, but they give you a lot of benefits.”

Changing your diet is all about rewiring your brain; wanting to avoid bitter vegetables is natural. “From a historical point of view, bitter has always meant danger,” says Ibrahim. Bitter foods tell our brain to be aware. “If you pair it with other things that change the flavor for you, it becomes really palatable,” she says.

When you focus on your nutrition, then you can add complex carbohydrates. And start retraining your taste buds.

For example, we all love sugar. But “sugar is more addictive than crack,” says Ibrahim. “After age 50, it’s much harder to metabolize if you’re not getting enough protein. You store it, and we don’t want you to store it. We want you to burn it.”

See also: These are 5 promising ways to live healthier longer – and it’s more than diet and exercise

don’t starve yourself

Sometimes when people want to lose weight, they start starvation diets. “They want to cut calories, and that’s all they’re focused on. But it’s not just about fewer calories. It’s about eating the right foods and doing it throughout life. day so you can actually support your blood sugar,” says Ibrahim.

Focus on a healthy approach and, unless under doctor’s orders, eat no less than 1,300 calories a day. “It’s not acceptable. You will lose muscle,” she says. “If you’re moderately active, you should be consuming at least 1,500 calories a day through a good diet.” High in protein, low in sugar, lots of green vegetables and plenty of water will help you maintain a healthy body and a healthy metabolism.

Don’t tell yourself that you will never eat a particular food again. “It’s not sustainable because it ends up creating this anxiety around food,” she says. Instead, focus on the “90/10 rule.” This means that if you eat well 90% of the time, you can eat whatever you want 10% of the time.

“You can eat whatever you want on the fork. In training, it’s called ‘refeeding’. Metabolically, it’s actually very important to refeed, because you can’t keep your body in a constant state if you don’t consume extra calories from time to time,” she says.

See also: Can we run after 50? These trainers and runners and a physical therapist say you can and should. Here’s how to do it safely

Biggest issue to watch out for

“One of the biggest mistakes people make is relying on going out to eat for their main source of nutrition,” says Ibrahim. “It can create all sorts of problems because the portions are often too big. They’ve added too much sodium and saturated fat to make it taste good.”

Having worked in restaurants, she adds that “the amount of butter used is just amazing. The restaurant doesn’t care about your diet. They care about making the food good for you to come back to.”

Finally, taking control of your eating habits means becoming comfortable with cooking. Ibrahim gives advice in his books on how to make a shopping list and prepare meals. If you cook chicken breast, you can use it in salads, soups, and even tacos. Having prepared foods helps because when you’re hungry, there’s something good to eat.

“Your age is not a barrier to health. There is a difference between your chronological age and your biological age. It doesn’t matter what happened in your past. It doesn’t matter if you had any problems. I helped people get off 16 different drugs just by changing their lifestyle and eating habits,” she says.

“You are not a prisoner of your body. You are not your parents. Just because they suffered from something does not mean that you are destined to do the same. Find out what your ‘why’ is Why do you want to do this? For me, it’s my family. I want to be there for them.

“It’s a way of life,” she adds. “It’s a commitment, but it’s a really good commitment. It will change you for good.”

Ibrahim offers a free booklet of 10 recipes you can make in 15 minutes or less on his @ChefMareya Instagram account. She has a link to a free program for women going through menopause. It also offers free downloads on its website.

See: Your Diet Isn’t Just Making You Obese, It Could Be Accelerating Cognitive Decline

A recipe from The Fit Foodie

Dark Chocolate Avocado Mousse with Raspberry Coulis and Coconut Whisk From “Eat Like You Give a Fork: The Real Dish on Eating to Thrive” by Mareya Ibrahim

Raspberry sauce

1 cup fresh raspberries 1 tbsp. granulated stevia2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Avocado mousse with dark chocolate

1 large ripe avocado 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1/4 cup almond milk or unsweetened coconut milk (or rice milk, for a nut-free option) 1/4 cup granulated stevia

Optional toppings

Coconut whipped topping, raspberries, blueberries, all-natural coconut whipped cream, star fruit slices, slivered almonds, unsweetened shredded coconut, dusting of ground cinnamon and/or unsweetened cocoa powder – or any combination of these your heart desires!

directions

Michele “Wojo” Wojciechowski is an award-winning writer living in Baltimore. She is the author of the comedy book Next Time I Move, They’ll Carry Me Out in a Box. Contact her at WojosWorld.com.

This article is reproduced with permission from NextAvenue.org, (c) 2022 Twin Cities Public Television, Inc. All rights reserved.

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