Olivia Liu and the Importance of Balance

Olivia loves to make cooking delicious food easy and sustainable

Maroon Staff

Olivia loves to make cooking delicious food easy and sustainable

Hi! My name is Olivia Liu and I’m a sophomore at Scarsdale High School. I will be resuming The Silver Spoon as a food and health blog. Future posts will include healthy food recipes, restaurant guides, and nutrition information. Recently, I’ve transitioned to a plant-based diet after learning about the environmental damage the animal agriculture industry has produced. For those who have dietary restrictions or follow a specific diet, I will do my best to provide methods to make recipes meet these requirements. Recipes are mostly my own and introduce healthier yet still delicious substitutes to common dishes.

  Educating ourselves is a prerequisite to many things, and nutrition is no exception. For the majority of my life, I couldn’t find a good relationship to food. I didn’t know much about nutrition and the importance of a healthy diet. For a while, I believed in popular food stereotypes, including “all fats are bad”, “cut carbs”, and “only consume 20 grams of sugar per day”. These are all unhealthy lies that have somehow infiltrated our society as a whole.

  After many years, I finally realized the importance of research and factual information in the study of nutrition. The key ideas I learned centered around the ideas of body and balance. Also, food should taste good. The stereotype of healthy food tasting bland or just plain nasty is most definitely false. In fact, eating healthy also makes you feel better, too.

  Our necessities relate to the food groups that we learned as children. Carbohydrates provide us with short-term energy that fuels our daily activities. We need a certain amount of carbohydrates to function and feel energized, which is why we need to consume a good amount of carbs. However, we should try to consume more complex carbs than refined carbs. Complex carbs often have more fiber and starch and take longer to digest. They also do not cause spikes in blood sugar, because it takes longer for the carbohydrates to be broken down into glucose. 

Another common misconception is the idea that fats make us fat. What we ought to understand is the difference between “good” fats and “bad” fats. What I refer to as good and bad to not necessarily mean that one is evil, but it does mean that one fat has less nutritional value than the other. “Bad” fats are generally fats that are animal based, however, that only means that we should try our best to limit these. “Good” fats are often plant based, such as olive oil, and fats in avocados and nut butters. These fats do not raise our cholesterol levels as much and bring many health benefits. Fats help to make meals more satiating and satisfying, and they encourage our bodies to feel “full.” Protein is another crucial aspect of our diets. We need to consume a certain amount of protein for our bodies to maintain its muscles. Since they provide the building blocks to repair muscle tears, many athletes commonly have a higher intake of protein to balance out intensive exercise.

 

Common sources of plant-based Carbohydrates, Fats, and Proteins:

Carbohydrates:

  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Oats
  • Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, etc.
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Squash

Fats:

  • Avocado, Olive, and Coconut oil
  • Avocados
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Nut and seed butters
  • Chia seeds
  • Dark chocolate

Protein:

  • Coconut yogurt
  • Beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Soy products like tofu and tempeh
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Meat substitutes/meatless meat products

 

Perhaps the most essential topic of nutrition is balance. Everyone has heard to eat a balanced meal, but our society values restrictions more than necessary. Changing eating habits often require changing mindsets. Instead of focusing on what you shouldn’t consume, we should center the discussion around what a healthy balance looks like. However, eating healthy shouldn’t feel like trapping yourself in a cage. It is absolutely okay to treat yourself to something sweet or savory every so often.

No matter where you are on your food journey, I hope that we can learn, grow, and eat good food together, one healthy meal at a time!

Creamy banana oats topped with bananas, blueberries, and almond butter (Maroon Staff)