ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS! Let’s start at the beginning and think about some everyday choices that are simple to do and can make a big difference. Incorporating the following actions into your nutritional plan will lead to some profoundly positive changes in your physical health, energy and mental well-being.
- Eat as close to nature as possible: This means eating whole foods, such as organic vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds in their most natural state. Try to avoid pre-cut and prepackaged vegetables. Every time you cut up a fruit or a veggie, nutrition escapes, so the less slicing of fruits and vegetables you do, and the sooner you eat them, the better.
- Opt for organic foods: It’s a known fact that organic foods have a higher content of phyto-nutrients and antioxidants. It always cracks us up when we read the odd article on the front page of the newspaper, declaring that it makes no difference if you eat organic or non-organic foods. We can tell you without a doubt that eating foods that are sprayed with chemicals does make a difference. Even though it might not show up immediately, eventually it will play havoc with your overall health. “My Potato Project; The Importance of Organic” is a great video on YouTube that will change the way you think about organic food.
- Eat locally and in season. The fresher the better. It’s better to buy food from your own backyard than food imported from a foreign country. This is not only for environmental and economic reasons. Eating local food puts your body in tune with your immediate environment and compensates for the nutritional demands the weather puts on your body.
- Reduce animal protein: There’s plenty of evidence to show that reducing meat on a daily basis is a good choice (see end of blog for list of resources). If you can’t live without meat at each meal, start with baby steps, and incorporate a few vegetarian meals a week into your diet. When you do eat meat, keep serving sizes to one third the size of your hand and make sure they are organic and from happy, well-fed animals.
- Eat tons of raw, colorful vegetables. Almost all diets include lots and lots of vegetables, and the rawer the better. Although there are a few vegetables that are better eaten cooked, most vegetables lose nutritional value through cooking. As well, eating a rainbow of vegetables and fruits is a simple and fun way to ensure you get the variety of nutrients you need for optimum health.
- Include fermented foods, sprouted foods, and fresh green juice in your diet. All of these foods boost nutrition and are excellent for your digestive health.
- Supercharge your diet: Add some nutritionally packed super-foods, like aloe vera, coconut, goji berries, blue-green algae and acai into your diet. However, don’t get carried away with this. These need to be eaten in small amounts.
- Keep lots of healthy snacks on hand: Vegetables that are cleaned and ready to grab are one of the best. Whenever you leave home, carry a bag of food and a glass bottle filled with healthy filtered water. If you’re going to a movie, make your own popcorn and grab an apple, or bring your own goji berry and nut mixture, complete with raw chocolates, or whatever is handy. If you don’t bring your own food, you might be tempted to make bad food choices, and that food is usually loaded with sugars, horrible fats and additives.
- Find the right percentages: Try the 80/20 and the 90/10 rules. The 80/20 rule is eating until you are only about 80 percent full so you don’t overtax your digestive system and allow it to work far more efficiently. The 90/10 rule is eating healthy 90 percent of the time and cutting yourself a little slack 10 percent of the time. If you have to cheat, go for it and suffer no guilt.
- Calm inflammation by slashing the sugar and refined carbohydrates and balancing the fats by increasing omega 3s.
The key is to just focus on adding healthy foods to your diet, rather than taking things away. Eventually, your taste buds will change, and you’ll be less inclined to eat foods that aren’t good for you.
The China Study by T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell
No Happy Cows: Dispatches from the Frontlines of the Food Revolution by John Robbins
The Amen Solution by Dr. Daniel G. Amen
Sugar Impact Diet by JJ Virgen
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Health Coach Rita Thomas and Chef Erin Holm hope to inspire families, friends and communities to live happier, healthier and more delicious lives.