If you’re wondering how you can stay healthy, be at a good weight, avoid cancer and heart disease, not have to worry about intestinal or bowel problems, regulate your intestines, and have radiant skin, hair, and nails then look no further than eating healthy!
Mainstream food industry would have you thinking that the mantra “diet and exercise” is the key to health and weight loss but I have real-life experience that says otherwise. My family has been slowly eating healthier, eliminating sugars, avoiding processed foods, shopping on the exterior of the store (where produce, meats, and dairy products are), cooking more from home, avoiding fast food, going to restaurants less, using real garlic and onion (versus onion and garlic powder), using spices, checking labels, not eating things with a long ingredient list, avoiding high fructose corn syrup (it’s in so many things !), and trying to get fruits and veggies everyday.
The food pyramid has got it all wrong in terms of what people should be eating. Realistically a person should get 2-3 servings of fruits a day and 2-3 servings of veggies a day. 1-2 servings of meat a day, and 1-2 servings of grains a day. The most important few things to remember with food choices are : vitamins, fiber, and smart calorie choices. Eating foods that are low-fat just means that there is added sugars. Eating foods that are low-sugar or reduced-sugar have aspartame (more damaging than real sugar). So it’s truly best to eat “whole foods” (ie: an apple VS applesauce or apple juice). The more natural a product is to how it is in nature will tell you how healthy it is. The ingredients in an apple is just : apple. In applesauce it’s any amount of things and usually has added sugars. You can make your own applesauce in a crock pot very simply or just go for a fresh apple. My favorites are the crispy semi-tart ones like Fuji, Gala, Pink Lady, and Pink Cripps.
Gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian diets all have their strengths and for me I just know that I couldn’t commit to them fully. I try and make sure we get a vegetarian dish in our week somewhere and I try to get some fish in there as well- it’s a lean source of protein and has Omega 3’s in it which is good for you in so many ways. We love salmon, tilapia, and other mild fish.
**Simple Tips For Healthy Eating**
1) Pack your lunch for work with wholesome foods and make sure you have something you can bring nearly every day. You can either bring leftovers from last night’s dinner, pack a nutritious lunch, or come up with something special. When I had a full-time job out of the house most days I’d bring : meat sandwich on 15-grain bread, cheese stick, sliced apple, greek yogurt (I love Oikos), something sweet (a few cookies, other fruit, fruit leather, dried fruit, etc), lots of water, and some pretzel nuggets. Some days I’d bring leftover soup in a thermos, leftover casserole, etc. This (even though some processed items) is a whole lot healthier than getting something “out” !
2) Have a meal plan for dinners. This one is great in so many ways. It helps you avoid last-minute grocery trips, you know what you’ll be cooking so there’s less stress in figuring it out, and you can even prepare some things in advance (like chopping onions, etc). Crock pot meals are fairly easy with minimal prep and are great for those who don’t want to cook on any given day. Just wake up a bit earlier than usual and set the items in the crock pot as directed in the recipe (this is important).
3) Try to plan ahead to avoid last-minute hunger perils when going out. If you are going to be away from home for a bit on any given day, bring some healthy snacks with you to tie you over until you can get home. This will save you from eating something unhealthy while on-the-run since you’ll have it ready to go and on you.
4) Invest in an insulated lunchbox and hard ice packs. These go for $8 and $1, respectively, at your local grocery store. These will be one of the best investments you have. They sell them in many sizes and colors and they’re durable enough to last for years and years.
5) Get a water delivery system like Zephyrhills delivered to your door or invest in an upright water cooler yourself ($100 for the base + 5-gallon jugs). We pay $26 a month for 3, 5-gallon jugs of Zephyrhills water delivered to our front door, rental of the water cooler, and they take away the old jugs that we leave outside for them. We use this water for filling our reusable water bottles to take when we go out and for drinking at home. They can also deliver cases of water bottles but it’s cheaper to get those at the store and not as cumbersome as 5-gallon jugs to carry in. We keep water bottles on hand just in case we’re in a hurry.
6) Always eat something before you go to a party. You never know what kind of food will be served and there’s nothing worse than being hungry and devouring junk food.
7) Eat smart. If you want a cookie, have one- just don’t have 10. If you want a dinner with heavy cream sauce, just skip dessert or eat light the next few meals. There’s nothing wrong with eating indulgent foods, just be sure to limit yourself to just a taste. Want a milkshake ? Get a small. Another smart tool you can use is to share a plate with someone at a restaurant- you’ll each get to eat something nice and you’ll cut the calories and the bill in half. Calories aren’t the only thing to consider, but with restaurant food it adds up quickly !
8) When in doubt, go without. This one speaks for itself, but if you’re unsure of the quality, ingredients, or other parts of a food or drink, just forgo it. We should honestly be primarily drinking water and not juice, not milk, not soda, not any other type of drink. I’m working on this one too and it’s hard because sugar is 10x more addictive than cocaine.
9) Think of convenience foods (like crackers, deli items, etc) as not being convenient to your health. They provide little to no nutrition, are packed with sugar and chemicals, and you really don’t need to be eating it.
10) If there’s advertising for it, a coupon for it, or a promotion on it, you most likely don’t need it. When was the last time you saw an advertisement for an everyday item people use like just general items : water, bread, dairy, etc. If a company has to market a particular item it’s probably because they are trying to convince you that you need it. If you just shop for things based on your needs and not the things that mainstream media puts into your head, then you will naturally shed off pounds without even trying.
11) Don’t buy anything with : hydrogenized anything, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), aspartame, etc in it. These are chemical processes that alter the natural state of an ingredient to toxic consistencies and that make it from being a natural, safe food into being a threat to one’s health. Buy natural peanut butter, stick butter VS margarine, “regular” items versus diet or light or low-fat, REAL maple syrup (you can tell because there will be 1 ingredient- maple syrup).
12) Always read labels. You would be surprised how many things have HFCS in them. I went to the store the other day to buy some dijon mustard and saw one that said “honey dijon mustard” and i thought “oh that sounds great !”. I was halfway down the isle when I decided to check and see what was in it. Sure it had honey, listed as ingredient #8 on a long list. Second on that list was HFCS. So it should really be called “HFCS dijon mustard” because in terms of ingredients, that’s what was primary. Companies are in business to make money and the more natural ingredients they use, the more they need to charge for an item because it’s quality. Even if you know a brand is reputable, always check labels for sneaky additions. Jams, jellies, ketchup, ranch- all these have HFCS in them unless you buy the more expensive “natural” or “wholesome” one. We only have wholesome things like that in our fridge and pantry and are going to slowly, over time, add more organic items to our pantry. (Costco’s Kirkland brand is usually organic items)
Healthy eating shouldn’t be as complicated an issue as it is to get proper information on, but there are efforts being made through the consumer’s doings to make that different. There’s a sweeping movement of food awareness and food reality coming to those who have an interest in their bodies and their health. Recognizing that what we put in our mouths directly impacts what happens to our bodies is finally striking home with many people and they are learning that nutrition begins with cooking at home from scratch, having a plan, and not listening to what ads on TV say.
A child or even an adult shouldn’t be drinking milk as a beverage (unless a young infant drinking its mother’s breast milk or formula). There are children in foreign countries that don’t have access to milk or through culture don’t drink it and they have bones that are just as healthy as American kids. Strong bones are created and strengthened through activity and movement, not through milk. The sooner people realize they’ve been dubbed into believing this low-fat, low-sugar, low-calorie stuff, the better. Our health is the main thing we can keep thriving and is the main way to keep illness, disease, and sickness at bay.
Someone I know had angina and potential heart troubles and she began eating “cleaner” (more natural foods), began taking a liquid vitamin supplement daily, drank more water, and improved her health through food and her condition is so much better because of it. Sure, she could have taken meds for her condition, but she decided to “eat her medicine” and as such, she’s a very healthy individual who doesn’t have to worry so much about heart disease, which is what eventually killed both of her parents in old age. As the famous quote goes : “Cook or be cooked”.