The most important thing a person can do to upgrade their nutrition is to give up processed foods. There is little chance of being healthy if your diet has too many packaged, processed foods on the menu. If this is the case for you but you are willing to learn new ways of eating and are also willing to make some lifestyle changes, then improved health is within your grasp.
If you know little or nothing about how to eat healthy, start by eliminating all the processed foods then begin to increase your intake of vegetables, and you’ll be closer to better health almost immediately. Once you eliminate the processed stuff, you can focus on adding in more of the healthy plant-based foods to your diet. Set a challenge for yourself to prepare some healthy but delicious recipes, featuring plants or mostly plants. Experiment and explore with new and different recipes. There are so many blogs and free sources to get new recipes that you could get started as soon as you make your next trip to the grocery store. (A good way to boost your veggie intake fast is to get organic green super food powder (this contains freeze-dried or dehydrated vegetables and super foods), mix it with a little water or apple juice and a sprinkle of cinnamon, and start drinking it most mornings. It is a relatively pain-free way to get more veggies in you! Then continue your quest to find mouth-watering vegetable recipes.
Once you make a start in the healthier direction, make it a priority to educate yourself and allow this interest in being healthy and feeling wonderful to motivate you. There are some great teachers in this area out there, like Mark Hyman, M.D., Josh Axe, M.D., Sara Gottfried, M.D. (“Dr. Sara”), The Food Babe, and Kris Carr, to name just a few. Once you begin, you will be amazed at the help and good advice at your fingertips. The key is to begin….right now, right where you are.
Remember to put your focus on the plethora of foods you CAN eat, instead of the things you cannot. If you build your diet on what you must stay away from, your willpower WILL cave in time! Ask yourself the question, “What great foods can I add to my diet?” Stop thinking “no, no, no” when it comes to food, and instead make a list of healthy foods you like and have fun creating new meals. Remember that you want to get it right more often than not. No browbeating yourself! Just start incorporating some healthy yummy food in your diet today.
Here are some of the food guidelines I live by. Maybe they will help you too.:
- Protein at every meal, plant based most of the time. If you like meat too much to give it up, pay the extra for organic free range meat. There are too many antibiotics, hormones, and chemicals in mass-produced meat to eat this way any longer.
- Lots of vegetables, some raw.
- Fruit, but limit the high sugar-content fruit to every other day (bananas, pineapples, mangos).
- Limit grains and starches, and sugar
- Lots and lots of water
It is simple, and not at all boring once you get out of the box and explore the possibilities of lovely food you may not have previously considered. If this seems too much all at once, decide to start with one day a week that features healthy and meatless food, and let your creativity run wild.
There are some unwavering truths about healthy eating, then there are lots of opinions floating around out there. It can be confusing to read and hear so much conflicting information….Eat whole grains; avoid all grains – raw food is the way to go; raw food is not sustainable and rots your teeth – use lots of extra virgin olive oil; oh but it’s bad to cook with it (and maybe don’t eat fats very much any more!). I think the “truths” are to make your diet more plant-based, don’t eat genetically modified foods, and stay away from white sugar and white flour. At least, these are the truths to which my research has led me. I’m sure there are others out there who would disagree. The important thing is for you to find what is the best diet for you. (No, it’s never going to be doritos and snickers bars, sorry). But you have some wiggle room as to what is acceptable. I took a long time to realize that wheat and gluten was tearing my gut apart – mostly because I didn’t want to know this. Now I know, and as painful as it was to give up wheat, it is now part of my life and is relatively easy for me.
In summary: give yourself the tools you need to get started by doing a little research, collecting tasty recipes, and adding great food to your pantry and fridge. Don’t beat yourself up by placing your awareness on what you cannot eat; just begin to crowd the bad stuff out of your diet by adding in the good. Enjoy the daily pleasure of healthy, living food.