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Eating Healthier the Canyon Ranch Spa Way

The top chef for the world-famous Canyon Ranch chain of spas offers tips for eating and living well.

The Canyon Ranch Way: Guiding Principles

Honor your individuality.

Genetics, health, medical history, eating preferences, lifestyle, and other factors all influence the way you eat. Assess your personal needs and goals. You may want to consult a nutritionist before you begin your new health regime.

Enjoy the sensual and social aspects of eating.

Eating should be a joyful experience that engages both the physical and emotional senses. Indulge your preferences for flavor and texture and treasure the social aspects of eating.

Consider the balance of your meals.

Go for variety, with generous amounts of vegetables and fruits, moderate amounts of protein-rich foods and whole grains, and small amounts of healthy oils and fats. Develop strategies for eating out, such as sharing entrees or ordering just a salad and appetizer.

Eat to gently satisfy your appetite.

Eat regularly to avoid extreme hunger, and learn to moderate portions by eating with awareness and attention to physical appetite. Be mindful of portion sizes and learn to stop eating when your hunger is satisfied. Learn to distinguish between actual physical hunger, and other reasons for eating, such as stress, anxiety, boredom or emotional hunger.

Focus on clean and wholesome food.

Choose fresh, seasonal vegetables and fruits, foods free of preservatives, additives, hormones, antibiotics, and other unnecessary chemicals.

The Canyon Ranch Way: What types of Food to Eat

Uehlein and his staff follow these basic guidelines when developing their signature menus:

Eat 8 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.

Consider adding fruit to your breakfast, enjoy a medium-to-large salad every day, snack on fruits, and make sure every meal includes a vegetable. Choose organic produce whenever possible.

Emphasize whole grains and healthy carbohydrates.

Whole grains -- like whole wheat bread and tortillas, cooked barley, and brown rice -- provide fiber and stabilize blood sugar levels. Other great carbs include: beans, sweet potatoes, pasta cooked al dente, hummus, lentils, pea soups and vegetarian chili.

Use healthy fats and oils.

Fat is an essential part of a healthy diet. According to Canyon Ranch guidelines, 20% to 30% of calories in the average daily diet should come from fat. But fat in the diet should be the right kind of fat. Foods that contain monounsaturated fats are best, like extra virgin olive oil, canola oil, avocadoes, olives, and nuts. Include omega-3 fat to protect against heart attack and reduce inflammation. Use fresh walnuts and pumpkin seeds in salads; eat eggs that contain higher omega-3 fat in the yolk; and cook salmon several times a week.

Minimize saturated fat by choosing low-fat or nonfat dairy products, skinless chicken breast, and lean red meats. Limit consumption of foods made with butter and cream. Avoid trans-fats found in regular margarine, shortening, many fast foods, and food that contains the word "hydrogenated" on the label.

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