1. Drink pure water all day every day. Invest in a water filter for your kitchen. The cost is well worth your health and over time it will save you money if you are buying bottled water. If you buy bottled water get it in the glass, not plastic. The plastic leaches unwanted things into the water in the bottle. (This is a topic in itself).
2. Eat Whole Fresh Foods. When you want a balanced diet eating the whole food is the best way to get it. Each part of the food, the skin, seeds and sometimes even some of the dirt (depending on where it came from) all have a role to play in our nutrition, digestion and elimination. Buy the whole foods locally and in the season. Get to know a local farmer at a farmers market so you understand their farming practices, like if they use pesticides and what kind, how often. Then when you get your food home you will know what to wash it with or if you can rinse it good to leave some of the ‘good’ bacteria on it. Eating the skin and seeds adds fiber which slows down your digestion and cleans out your pipes during elimination.
3. Share a meal when you can. Even if you feed your pet at the same time you sit down for your meal. This helps you experience your meal and to enjoy it. This is good for all parts of your health. More about this in #7.
4. Buy organic. I remember when food was just food; there wasn’t so many choices and need to read labels because we didn’t transport our food across the states and world so there wasn’t a need for all of the preservatives and pesticides. Hopefully, we will get back to those days, but in the meantime, we need to be smart consumers. Organic doesn’t always mean ‘clean food’ some of the organic fertilizers and pesticides are just as bad if not worse than organic. (This is another topic in itself). This is why buying local or close to the source and buying what is in the season is so important, along with getting to ‘know’ the farmer's common practices. Yes, this is a pain but so will your body be if you don’t take care of it. Typically, if you buy local there is less need for preservatives and pesticides. It won’t last as long, but that’s a good thing! The longer food is away from its source from which it was grown or raised the more of it nutrients it loses. Eat fresh and local.
5. Portion size matters. We are the most overfed and undernourished population that have walked this earth! We eat for any and every occasion, even when we are not hungry. We eat while we are shopping for food; we eat when we are bored, happy, sad… We don’t give ourselves time to properly digest what we do eat and what we choose to eat often times doesn’t have any nutritional value to it.
Eat three smaller square meals a day and snack 2-3 times a day with a whole fresh snack. Apples, with the skin, have as much of a pick-me-up as a cup of coffee!!, without the side effects of caffeine.
Think of your food as fuel for your body. Yes, it should taste good and have a positive effect on all 5 senses. Just don’t overdo it.
A portion size is the size of your palm, not your fingers too, just your palm. And not heaping! ;-) Have that size of each of our food groups and call it a meal. A snack is one of our food groups or a 1/3 of each, but it only adds up to one portion (palm) size.
6. Eat more plants. Fill your plate with less meat and carbs and more plants, especially if you are trying to lose weight or have any kind of health concern.
Plants are loaded with all of the goodness we need for a healthy lifestyle. I am not trying to talk you into becoming a vegetarian; I would just like you to give our plants the accolades they deserve. They have protein, minerals, vitamins, micro and macronutrients, and antioxidants. All of which are immune boosters, stress busters, and craving quenchers.
Eat as many different colors and textures as you can pack into your meals every single day. Mix it up! Don’t eat the same salad each time. Try making your own salad dressings, which are so easy to do. Have a different veggie or make it a different way. Steamed and roasted are so good! And this keeps their goodness from being cooked out while boiling. Try them grilled or sautéed. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. OH, and you can do all of the above preparations on some fruits. Hummm…another blog post idea.
7. Avoid eating when your mood is down. Studies have shown that eating when you are sad, mad, frustrated and lonely doesn’t have the same positive effect during your digestion process as it does when you are in a brighter mood. When you aren’t in a good mood different chemicals are cruising in your system that causes your body to breakdown and store, or not, the vital nutrients in your food. Grabbing a pint of ice cream when you are sad will store most of the fats and sugars. Yes, it gives you a feeling of relief, which is temporary due to the spike in the ‘happy’ hormone that gets released. But then you have to deal with the consequences of those pesky sugars and fats that weren’t used or eliminated. And then you feel bad about those!! Plus you have that drop in the ‘happy’ hormone which makes you feel sad again.
Instead of eating when your mood is down, go for a walk, listen to some of your favorite happy tunes. Call a friend for a 3-minute vent and then talk about something good that has happened or you are looking forward to.
Reaching for food will become a bad habit. Who needs another one of those to break!
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