I have had multiple requests for a simple explanation of how I eat now. The place I am now nutritionally is even more involved than this write up will describe, but I know that to give all the details will overwhelm the beginner. In my experience starting with these basics will prepare you for even more extreme changes for an even greater shift towards lifelong health. At a later date I will create a similar write up for the next steps, involving homeopathic healing, gut healing, fermentation and allergy exclusion.
I can give many reasons for each of these steps, but I know you don’t necessarily want to read a book on the subject. I will try to keep points brief, and probably won’t explain too much. Over the next few months I will continue elaborating on these points and others in my healthy living tips. If you want any more detailed information about any particular point please leave a comment and I will do my best to explain more here or write a future blog post.
If your goal is weight loss than these will certainly help, but in my experience getting healthy is a significantly better goal and will usually result in a body type closer to that of which you desire anyway. If your goal is health you are more likely to stick with a dietary shift even if you don’t see drastic weight loss immediately. Don’t be tempted by fad diets or pills, they might work short-term but they do not keep the weight off long term and will actually negatively affect your metabolism.
I will put these points in order of importance and general ease.Try to implement as many points as possible, but doing any of these will help you long term. I have been discouraged in the past by the “all or nothing” camp and couldn’t stick with many changes long term. However, the longer I stick with a few changes the more likely I am to add in others later on. Do whatever you can and don’t be discouraged if you slip up. Just get back on the wagon tomorrow. Don’t give up just because you messed up. And remember, your health is worth it!
1. Drink more water. – Inversely this also means drinking less of other things, namely soda, coffee, fruit juice etc. Soda is bad, period. There is no good amount of soda. If you can go cold turkey on anything this is the one I most highly suggest. Coffee isn’t too hot for your body either, and by the time you add in cream and sugar it can be really high in calories, preservatives and toxins. Fruit juice is deceptive because it seems good for you, but usually isn’t. If you absolutely have to have fruit juice, juice your own. I don’t drink anything but water or homemade green smoothies anymore.
To find out how much water you need a day, take your weight, divide by 2, and drink that much in ounces. Add extra when working out, breastfeeding, or if in a very hot or dry climate.
2. Snack – yep, you heard right. Eat small amounts often rather than large amounts. Try to split up your calorie intake over 5-7 meals, and try to keep all those meals before 6-7pm. Don’t skip meals either, it keeps your metabolism going. Skipping meals will not benefit your health or weight.
3. Increase your vegetable intake. Vegetables should be the most abundant food on your plate. Challenge yourself to eat 5 or more different vegetables each day. There are plenty of ways to hide veggies in food, see https://beingonpurpose.wordpress.com/2012/11/28/healthy-tip-3-hide-those-veggies/ for ideas.
4. Take supplements – It is best to get your nutrients from your food, but that is not easy for everyone. Until you are fully committed to totally clean eating take extra probiotics, cod liver oil, vitamin D and a good natural multivitamin.
5. Make your own food – Seriously, just cook your own food from scratch. You know how much better it is than prepackaged or restaurant food? You will chop your calorie and toxin intake drastically just by making food from scratch, with as many whole (not pre-prepared) ingredients as possible.
6. Cut out processed foods and specifically “fast food”. This one doesn’t need much explanation. It is very hard, but probably will make the most significant difference in your body. All of the crazy toxins in processed foods wreak havoc on your health. Most diet foods destroy your system, most “low fat”, “sugar-free” or “enriched” foods have more fake chemicals than real food and are totally toxic to your body. When beginning, don’t worry so much about the calories of a whole egg or ground beef or fruit or pork, they are whole and natural and even if they have “high” calories they will probably result in less weight gain long term. I have shifted my diet to include more alkaline foods, less grains, more fermented foods and a whole variety of other foods uncommon to the western diet; but, I will elaborate on some of those concepts in later blog posts.
7. Go organic. – Produce, meat… all of it. There is sooo much research about why this is best, and there are a million ways to make it more cost effective, but I am convinced that this is the way to go for overall health.
8. Switch out your fats – See this blog for more information on which oils are best https://beingonpurpose.wordpress.com/2012/11/21/healthy-tip-2-switch-up-your-fats/.
9. Stop eating refined sugar and switch to honey when you choose to eat sugar based desserts. This will automatically cut out pretty much any pre-made sweet thing, but the damage that refined sugar does to your body is well documented and severe. I assure you that homemade treats sweetened with honey are ridiculously yummy.
10. Evaluate eliminating common allergens (gluten, dairy, nuts, eggs, soy, corn etc.) for a period of time to see how your body responds. Often we don’t know the havoc something is wreaking on our body until we go without it for a few weeks. Gluten, corn and processed soy are all particularly bad, and many theorize that they harm EVERYONE, but only some people see effects great enough to encourage them to eliminate it from their diet. As a gluten free individual I can tell you that it really isn’t as hard as it seems, and I don’t ever plan on eating it again.
Let me know which points you plan on implementing and how it goes. I love seeing individuals work towards greater overall health and hope to continue giving you recommendations and pointers for your health journey.