7 Steps for Eating Healthy
Healthy eating can be easy. If you are looking to maintain a healthy body without going on a strict diet, here are 7 simple steps for eating healthier. Commit to one step each day and by the end of the week you'll be on your journey to better health. Be prepared to have endless energy and glowing skin! Instead of thinking about what you have to give up, focus on what you can add to meals to make them more nutritious!
- Eat your veggies. Cruciferous vegetables like (broccoli,cauliflower, kale, bok choy, arugula, brussels sprouts, cabbage, radish and watercress) boost the immune system and have amazing antioxidant benefits. Be careful not to overcook them, which depletes all of the vital nutrients and enzymes. Instead, eat them raw, lightly steamed, or sauteed in coconut oil, yum! Try to eat a salad with lunch and dinner every day.
- Add more plant protein; reduce consumption of animal protein.
It is now widely recognized that a high consumption of animal protein has been linked to greater health risks, including cancer. It is advised to limit animal products to 2-3 servings per week (or completely eliminate them if you are considering a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle). Consider adding more plant protein to your diet such as, leafy greens, nuts and seeds, legumes and beans, and whole grains, like quinoa.
- Eat organic whenever possible.
Organic crops have greater vitamin and mineral content. Period. Organic foods are more nutritious and do not contain nasty pesticides that are used in conventional farming. Pesticides are extremely detrimental to our health and are linked to many diseases and birth defects. If you cannot afford, or do not have access to, a variety of organic foods, try to include as many as possible in your diet, especially those on the dirty dozen list! When eating conventional, wash your fruits and veggies thoroughly with a spray or simply use vinegar and water.
- Drink more water.
Choosing water over soda may seem like an unrealistic goal for some, but you will feel so much better if you do! Our bodies are made up of about 70% water, though most of the population does not consume of enough of it. Water helps flush toxins and waste out of our bodies. Water is essential for a healthy body and mind. Adding fresh squeezed lemon to your water makes it tasty, adds vitamin C, and aids detoxification. Drinking water also supports weight loss.
- Use dairy alternatives.
We all grew up believing that we needed to consume dairy for the calcium so we would have strong bones. It has always been considered a staple in most American diets. The fact is that human bodies are just NOT designed to break down a lot of dairy products. The main protein in dairy is casein, which is very difficult for our bodies to digest and has also been linked to the growth of cancer cells. Dairy is also acid forming (not alkalizing) and creates mucus build up in the body. Yuck!
Give almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk or hemp milk a try. Personally, I have always hated the taste of milk and rarely consumed it, but I now use almond or hemp milk in all of my recipes, including smoothies. It's delicious! The hardest part for me was giving up cheese. Goat cheese is a much better alternative than cheese from cow's milk. There are also many seed cheeses that are delicious and melt just like cheese from cow's milk! Your taste buds won't know the difference, but your stomach will! Earth Balance also makes a delicious organic buttery spread that tastes and melts just butter!
- Use healthy sugar substitutes.
By now, I hope most of you have eliminated white sugar from your diet. If not, what are you waiting for? Unfortunately, replacing it with some of the popular alternatives is not any better for you! Aspartame that's in NutraSweet and Equal, etc. is a chemical sweetener with many negative side effects. Splenda isn't any better for you. Some recent research studies report a link between artificial sweeteners and cancer and suggest that they may actually cause people to overeat.
Anything that is made in a lab from chemicals and not grown naturally from the Earth, just cannot be good for you! To get your sugar fix you should use natural sweeteners for your drinks and food. Raw organic honey, organic maple syrup, molasses, dried fruit like dates and figs, brown rice syrup, agave and stevia are just a few natural sweeteners that are healthier options. Of course, you should still use all sweeteners in moderation.
- Drink green smoothies.
The easiest thing you could do to start feeling better and looking better immediately, is to add a green smoothie to your morning routine. I drink a simply healthy smoothie every day. I find that it's easier to make a smoothie than attempt to juice every day. Although there are many wonderful health benefits with juicing, with smoothies you have no messy pulp left behind to clean up and you get all the wonderfully nutritious fiber from the fruits and veggies. They are super easy to make. They also keep you full longer and can replace your breakfast. You could alternate between juicing and blending smoothies, or juice on the weekends when you have more time.
If I am traveling or really busy and don't get to have my smoothie for a few days, I can really feel it. Try it for a week and see how you feel. After my first week of drinking them, I started to lose weight, my face started to glow (literally), I had more energy throughout the day, and cleaner "pipes"! I credit Kris Carr who wrote, The Crazy Sexy Diet and Kimberly Synder who wrote, The Beauty Detox Solution, for turning me on to green smoothies. They have great recipes in their books. Here is the smoothie recipe that I make every day!