Today’s world is becoming dirtier and unhealthier by the minute. It is an everyday challenge to live a healthy life. Our everyday needs of air, food, and water are usually of the “contaminated” form — the air we breathe is no longer pure oxygen but a cocktail of oxygen and pollutants, our food is laced with extra fat and preservatives, and our water is likewise pumped with treating agents to make it “clean.” Nearly nothing is ever what it should be.

After we have exerted everything we could in helping keep our environment clean, keeping the air and water clean is a matter best left to the regulatory bodies to take care of. Food is a different story. There are things we can do to make sure the food we take into our bodies are clean and free of “contaminants.” Eating a healthy diet makes for longer and better quality lives.

Eating a healthy diet means not only looking at what we eat but also looking closely at how we eat, where we eat, when we eat and why we eat. The measure of successful integration of healthy eating in our daily lives is measured not by looking at the weigh scale but by looking at what is served on our tables meal-by-meal, day-by-day. A healthy diet is a way of life, it should not be done for temporary reasons or because of fads and crazes. By improving the way we eat through a healthy diet, we also improve the kind of body we have and imbibe a mental disposition that comes with feeling good physically.

What constitutes a healthy diet? Experts say that a nutritional balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat would make for a healthy diet. Follow the food pyramid: eat more amounts of carbohydrates, moderate amounts of protein and little amounts of fat. Put more grains and complex carbohydrates in your diet and lower your fat intake. Add in moderation meat trimmed of any visible fat. Omega-3 rich food like fish are contribute to a health diet.

Protein, carbohydrates, and fat provide our bodies with calories. Calories are units of measurement for the amount of energy that is created when our bodies break down the food we eat. More calories mean more energy. The ordinary person needs anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 calories depending on his energy needs. Those who use extraordinary amounts of energy like athletes need more. When we take in more calories than our body really needs, the excess calories are stored in our body as fat stores.

Calorie counting can be a tedious task and is best done by someone who is systematic and detail-oriented – one who does not mind including a calculator and a food scale to his food preparation materials. For those of us who would rather not have mathematics involved in our gustatory activities, there are several practical and more convenient means to ensure that we are eating a healthy diet. It would suffice to stick to the most basic of all rules of eating: the closer the way the food looks to the way it actually looked fresh, the better it is for your body.