“Those who think they have no time for healthy eating, will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” – Edward Stanley
Forget fad diets and learn to eat healthy! Make a commitment to yourself to seek optimal health for you and your family by learning about the links between what we eat and health issues and diseases. Below I’ve compiled my Top Healthy Eating Tips you can follow to get you on your way. Some may seem hard or you may feel you’d be depriving yourself, but honestly once you make the changes and begin to feel better, you won’t miss those things and you’ll forever thank yourself for making these changes!
Inflammation: The Root of All Evil!
Inflammation is at the root of most all disease including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, allergies and many others. Inflammation is caused when you put foods into your body and it is not equipped to process them. The body has to work harder, and sometimes thinks it’s being attacked and therefore invokes an “inflammatory response”. Many times the body has to rob its tissues of vital nutrients in order to process the food you’ve ingested. Imbalance in the body and a compromised immune system result. The modern diet of high carbohydrates, sugar, high protein and few fruits and vegetables is the biggest contributor to inflammation.
Healthy Eating Tips
I’ve compiled my top tips that should help you in your quest towards healthy eating. Try them for just one month and you’ll see a big difference in the way you look and feel!
- Eat whole foods. Whole foods are those that are as close to their original form as is possible; think fruits and vegetables like they come from the garden. They contain a lot more nutrients than processed foods. Avoid processed foods because nutrients are often damaged, removed or altered. So eat a whole apple instead of applesauce from a can or jar. Start getting away from meals that come packaged in a box, can or plastic container. Enjoy foods the way Mother Nature intended! Your body with thank you with increased immunity and fewer illnesses.
- Read labels. I can’t stress this enough! It is not enough to look at the calories, fat, carbs & protein. Look at the ingredient list. Know what you are eating. Watch out for and avoid products that contain high fructose corn syrup (now deceptively called corn syrup), MSG, hydrogenated oils and chemical sounding ingredients you can’t pronounce. Fats and sugars are the main ingredients in poor quality foods. When you see the word “enriched”, think “processed”. Enriched foods are those that have been stripped of their original wholeness and then stuff has been added back in to try and make it similar to the original form.
- Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. They should form the bulk of your diet (75% in a combination of cooked and raw) because they contain vitamins, minerals, fiber and also help move toxins out of the body. Opt for local and organic whenever possible and look for lots of variety in color and texture. Leafy greens, red and orange fruits and veggies are always great choices! The top fruits and vegetables that are often treated with pesticides and should always be bought organic are: apples, bell peppers, celery, cherries, imported grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, potatoes, raspberries, spinach, strawberries. Visit the Environmental Working Group for this list along with the Clean 15 list of fruits and veggies that are typically safe when conventionally grown plus many more tips on food selection. For an easy way to make sure you have plenty of fresh organic produce on hand, visit your local farmers market! We have an awesome market at the Peachtree City Farmers Market as well as others in Fayetteville and Newnan.
- Eat less sugar and avoid artificial sweeteners. Sugar is very inflammatory, and artificial sweeteners are nothing more than chemicals that the body is not prepared to process. Especially avoid corn syrups of any kind. Try plant-based stevia for a natural sweetener.
- Eat whole grains – but they must be whole grains prepared properly and not “pretending” to be whole grains. Here, organic is best due to the use of glyposate and other chemicals used on conventionally grown wheat. Avoid “enriched flour” which has nutrients and fiber removed and they are replaced (enriched) with certain vitamins required by the FDA. When the bran and germ from the whole grain are removed, the body processes the flour differently causing it to work harder (think inflammation again). Whole grains contain essential nutrients, fiber and vitamins that help remove toxins from the body. That said, many people are unable to digest wheat, barley and rye because they are gluten intolerant. If you have any autoimmune disease, it’s best to stay away from these grains, or eliminate them temporarily to assess their impact on your health. Here’s a great video where Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions talks about how to best prepare grains.
- Eat healthy fats containing omega-3 fatty acids. Healthy fats are typically of vegetable origin, such as olive oil and coconut oil. Coldwater fishes also contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and walnuts and almonds do as well. Even butter from grass fed cows is a good choice in moderation. Avoid anything that contains “hydrogenated” oils.
- Adults should consider reducing dairy intake. Dairy is known to cause mucus in the body, and 3 out of 4 adults are lactose intolerant. Turns out the pasteurization process renders milk difficult to digest which causes the body to work harder and lowers the immune system (that darn inflammation again!). Yogurt and kefir are the exception here as long as they contain beneficial bacteria and no added sugars. Greek yogurt is typically lowest in fat and sugar.
- Consider adding Asian mushrooms such as maitake and shitake to your diet. These mushrooms have been shown to boost immune function and to keep cancers at bay.
- Drink plenty of clean water, eliminate sodas, & limit alcohol. Soda (sugar + caffeine) causes excessive loss of calcium, and the phosphoric acid in sodas also inhibits the intake of calcium – not good for the structure of your body. Drink at least 8 glasses of water per day and distilled or filtered water is best. At a minimum drink water that has been filtered of chlorine which has been linked to increase risk of colon cancer. Limit alcohol consumption to no more than 2 drinks per day. Alcohol is very inflammatory and causes the liver to have to work extra hard to clean the blood.
You only get one body to live in, take care of it!! By the time you begin to see signs of disease or illness, you will have to work even harder to regain health. Start eating healthy today!