It can get overwhelming trying to figure out where to start when you’ve discovered the world of real food because there are so many “fakes” out there. Below, I’ve compiled a list of 5 easy things you can vow to change in order to lead a healthier, happier you.
1. Cut out all (or most) processed foods and packaged foods: Some of you are probably thinking, what, but they are so cheap and easy!?? While packaged foods are really convenient they aren’t very convenient to the long term effects on your health. MSG, artificial preservatives, chemical dyes, additives, and GMOs are all included in about 80% of packaged foods. It’s best to not even go into the middle isles of a grocery store because all the bad stuff is kept there (even in organic stores). Say bye-bye to Rice-a-Roni and hello to regular rice. Just cook it in a pan yourself (no need for a rice cooker)- if you want to add flavor, saute some finely chopped garlic with olive oil, add the cooked rice, sprinkle salt and pepper and voila, yummy flavorful rice. You can also add some frozen organic peas into the rice to add an extra veggie.
2. No more soft drinks and fruit juices: Obviously soda is a give-in because it is PACKED with GM high fructose corn syrup. Those little (or big) drinks can effect your health dramatically. There is NOTHING in there that is good for you (even the ones that claim they are all natural). While you may think fruit juices are good for you, unfortunately they are not. Most of them are loaded with extra sugars and because most are pasteurized, they are zapped of all the good stuff. Also, most of the nutrients that come from fruit are from their outsides (like the white stuff on oranges when you peel them and the skin of an apple) and are not present in the actual juice. Stick to filtered water and pro biotic drinks like kombucha.
3. Eat whole, fresh foods: This is pretty self explanatory. Try and stay committed to only eating things that spoil quickly and eating them before they are spoiled. Purchasing organic foods is definitely a bonus (less exposure to pesticides the better) but if your budget can’t handle all organic foods, get familiar with EWG’s Dirty Dozen and Clean 15. You can save some bucks buying conventional foods with minimal pesticide exposure. You can find fresh produce at your grocery store but you can also venture out to a farmer’s market near you which cuts out the middle man (grocer) and you get to put a face to the name of your farmer. To find a farmer’s market near you click here.
4. Cut out all industrially processed vegetables oils and refined sugars: Oils include canola, cottonseed, vegetable, soybean, and sunflower oil. Despite their claims of being heart healthy these oils are almost always genetically modified and are completely denatured due to their high heat processing. High heat processing causes the oils to become rancid and chemically deodorized before being put on a shelf. Not to mention they are full of trans fats which are extremely bad for your health. Watch out for these oils and refined sugars hidden in the labels of processed, packaged, and frozen foods! Replace these oils with things like coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil (only the unfiltered, unrefined kind), lard, butter, and ghee. Switch your refined sugar to something like Rapunzel Unrefined and Unbleached Cane Sugar. You want something that has the least amount of processing to it.
5. Buy only organic, pasture-raised meat products: This can arguably be the most costly thing to change but it is well worth it. Not only are you buying meat from animals that have been treated with respect, you are also buying meat that tastes SO much better. You can purchase cuts of meat that aren’t as popular which tend to be less but are still just as great (stick em in a crock pot and let it slow roast for a few hours). The type of meat you want to look for is pasture raised, grass-finished meat. No antibiotics, no hormones, no unnatural GMO feed, no torture. Just real good, naturally raised meat. Even if you can only afford to purchase this kind of meat once a week, it’s better than not having it at all. Any bit counts. Click here to find a farm that raises pastured animals near you.
Oh… I guess I have one more thing which makes it
5 6 easy steps. Read every single label you pick up. This is by far one of the most important steps in making sure you stay away from all those nasty ingredients.
The great part about vowing to change these things in your life is that it just becomes increasingly easier with each day and each time you say no. You’ll start to feel better mentally, physically and emotionally and the last thing you want is something as simple as a bad food choice to bring you down. It may not be realistic to change everything at once but now you have a short list to get you started. Remember, the Egyptians didn’t build a pyramid in one day! Best of luck!