Deciding to go on a diet or change your way of eating can seem like such a promising way to get “healthy” or “thin” quick. In our society today, diet culture revolves around the belief that certain foods are either good or bad. The diet industry gives dubious hope to consumers, promising that all their dreams will come true when they lose weight through restrictive eating. However, anyone who has boarded the dieting rollercoaster before knows that sticking to certain diets can be nearly impossible. While you may lose weight or feel healthier at the beginning of your diet, you eventually have to “break” or “fail” due to simply living life and being human. Yo-yo dieting is very common and can take a toll on physical and mental health. 95% of all dieters will regain their lost weight in 5 years due to not being able to stick to diets long-term. Restrictive diets, although promising, don’t work as a healthy lifestyle change.
So what can we do if we shouldn’t diet? Let’s say we want to lose weight and eat healthier. Don’t decide to try the latest trending diet you’ve heard about and throw away all the food in your pantry just yet. Luckily, it is possible to accomplish our health and wellness goals through a positive, uncomplicated, and sustainable alternative to restriction. A worldwide study on diets across 187 countries found that the people from countries in Africa, such as Chad, Mali, and Cameroon, have the healthiest overall eating patterns. Instead of going off-and-on different diets, these people practice truly healthy eating through leading balanced and consistent lifestyles. The general lesson we can learn from this part of the world is that to make an impact on your health truly, you must change your eating pattern over a long period. Therefore, “quick-fix” diets that are impossible to maintain don’t work.
An easy and non-restrictive way to make a sustainable and healthy lifestyle change is to eat more variety of new nutrient-rich foods. This entire mindset shift is an attainable goal for health improvement. Below is an African-inspired dish that can jumpstart your healthier mindset:
Moroccan-Style Spiced Stuffed Peppers (Recipe from Whole Foods Market)
Serves: 4 - Time: 35 min
- 4 red bell peppers tops removed, cored and seeded
- 1/2 pound ground lamb
- 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 cup cooked short grain brown rice
- 2 cups chicken broth divided
- Bring a large saucepan of water to boil. Add peppers and simmer until softened, about 5 minutes. Remove peppers with a slotted spoon, then drain peppers upside down on towels.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, brown lamb and garlic, breaking up lamb. Remove from heat; stir in lemon juice, mint, spices, cooked rice and 3/4 cup of broth. Stuff peppers with mixture.
- Stand stuffed peppers in remaining broth in a large saucepan. Bring to boil.
- Reduce heat to low. Cover; simmer 15 to 20 minutes until peppers are just tender.
- 1. Grodstein, F., Levine, R., Spencer, T., Colditz, G. A., & Stampfer, M. J. (1996). Three-year follow-up of participants in a commercial weight loss program: Can you keep it off? Archives of Internal Medicine 156(12), 1302.
- 2. Parmer, R. (2016, February 8). Which Country Has The Healthiest Diet? Find Out! Retrieved from https://www.lifehack.org/361575/which-country-has-the-worlds-best-diet-and-how-can-learn-from.
- 3. Recipe: Moroccan-Style Spiced Stuffed Peppers. (2008, January 18). Retrieved from https://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/moroccan-style-spiced-stuffed-peppers.