It was a bit crazy last week getting ready for the Natural Products Expo but I learned so much and will be bringing you some exciting new products to talk about. I needed a bit of recuperation after all the walking and talking but I’m back on track now and what’s the best way to get back into the game than to talk about this week’s Healthy Start journal. Or rather, this month in March which has been designated around the country as National Nutritional Month.
Now you might wonder why we dedicate only a month to highlight good nutrition. Proper nutrition should be on the forefront of our daily goals but with so many people in the world still inexperienced or inaccessible to clean and healthy foods, dedicating an entire month to this crucial topic is one of the best ways in educating everyone.Eating nutritional foods and making healthy food choices is important for everyone regardless of age, gender, or physical need. Without proper nutrition our health depletes and we end up relying on medicine to heal us rather than preventing our bodies from needing medicine in the first place.
So what’s the best way in ensuring we eat properly on a regular basis? It’s not all about counting calories or taking in the correct amount of vitamins and supplements. There are quite a few factors to consider before we can truly change our mindset into eating healthier and better. Below, I’ve listed 10 ways we can make the change to eat better and eat cleaner. It’s not hard to do and it doesn’t have to take an insurmountable time to prepare. All you have to do is start – and as the famous Greek philosopher Plato once stated, “The beginning is the most important part of the work.” – let’s begin at the beginning if we must.
10 Commandments for National Nutrition Month:
1- Evaluate your current health. Is junk food practically your best friend? Or do you walk down the produce aisle with love-filled eyes? If you answered yes to the first question then it’s time to seriously evaluate what’s in your fridge and pantry. And if your refrigerator is basically an empty land of bright lights and storage space, then it’s time to head on over to your friendly natural grocery store and load up on some fresh fruits and vegetables. “Junk” food was named as just that – junk that has no beneficial properties. Therefore eating too much junk food only destroys your precious health rather than enhance it. Think about how you feel now. Are you tired, ragged, angry, stressed, or don’t have enough energy throughout the day? Those symptoms are mostly connected to what you’re already eating. Factor in no exercise with poor diet and your health will be greatly affected.
2- Determine the type of nutrients your body is lacking. We all fall short to eating unhealthy now and then but we don’t have to let our bad food choices define who we are and what we want to achieve. If your body is lacking in certain types of nutrients, be it Vitamin D or Magnesium, determine what causes you certain illnesses or imbalance in your life. Do you feel fatigued all of the time? Perhaps your body lacks enough B complex vitamins which includes B1, B2, B6, and B12. B vitamins are known for a multitude of benefits for the body and B5 and B12 helps convert carbohydrates into glucose which gives your body the “fuel” it needs to thrive. The best ways in getting more proper nutrients into your body is of course through natural foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, lean protein, and healthy fats. But if you don’t have enough time to consume all the necessary nutrients your body needs on a daily basis, then adding in supplements is important. Take vitamins and supplements from reputable brands that can trace their source materials and offer you a complete spectrum of supplements to choose from.
3- Take stock of your fridge and pantry. This goes without saying that what you have in your fridge and pantry/cupboards are basically what you’re going to eat.So clear out all the food that contains anything artificial, too much sodium and sugar, and unhealthy, saturated fat. While there are more factors to consider, start with these basic steps towards the journey to a healthier body and mind.
4- Write down healthy food choices on your grocery list. While #3 suggests eliminating poor choices in food, let’s take notice of food that are better for us. Replacing bad food choices with healthier ones is super easy to do. And creating a shopping list helps to curb those urges in picking up unwholesome food that will only damage your health in the long run. While completely eliminating sugar, salt, and fat isn’t ideal for a healthy mind and body, it is possible to eliminate the unhealthier versions or reduce your intake of them. Switch to raw sugar, honey, and agave. Use sea salt or season with the natural juices of vegetables. And use healthy fats such as Omega fatty acids found in certain fish, seeds, and pressed oils.
5- Find balance in what you eat. Nowadays with so many things going on in the world, stress and poor food choices seems to be major causes of illnesses and other health issues. Try to limit intake of “junk” food that you find in grocery stores, resist eating out unnecessarily, and get a proper balance of fruits, vegetables, and whole supplements which comes from unprocessed, raw foods. Whenever possible, limit your intake of animal fat as studies show that animal fat can increase chances of certain illnesses and diseases in the body.
6- Learn about healthier food alternatives. I’ve been a vegetarian for many years and limit my intake of animal dairy and eggs as well. There are many reasons why one choose to eat healthier while others do not. Sometimes it’s out of convenience or a lack of knowledge. Educate yourself in replacing your less than healthy food choices with healthier versions. Try to resist buying foods out of convenience when there are simple ways of making food from scratch. Subscribe to a health or food newsletter where you get recipes emailed to you on a weekly basis. Try websites such as www.deliciousliving.com and http://www.tasteforlife.com/ for healthy and delicious recipes that are created and vetted by professional chefs and health experts. And when you’re at the grocery store, a good general rule of thumb is to shop for products on the outer rims of the grocery store. When you’re finished with buying all the fresh produce, then browse the aisles in between the store.
7- Eat from an assortment of colors. Well, eat foods with natural colors of course. Resist buying food that contain artificial colors as most of these artificially created colors have been known to contribute to certain illnesses and health problems. Think of it this way – your body was created naturally so it’s only right that you give your body natural foods. A good guideline would be to eat foods that are red, orange, green, and yellow and try to stay away from foods that are mostly white. Foods rich in color often correlates with the organs in your body. Red is great for your blood, green is great for detoxifying the liver, and orange is good for your muscles.
8- Add more nutrient boosting foods into your meals. If completely changing your eating habits sounds frightening, take it one step at a time, or rather one meal at a time. Eating healthy isn’t an overnight ordeal or a one time commitment. But starting with just one meal a day or even 3 meals a week can get you on the right path to a more healthy and nutritious lifestyle. Start off with one cup of fruits or vegetables, preferably raw, then work your way up to adding legumes and seeds and whole grains. Legumes can include anything in the pea, nuts, and bean family but be sure to get legumes that are more nutritious such as garbanzo beans (chickpeas), lentils, and black beans. Seeds should include flax seeds and chia seeds which provide some of the highest amounts of health boosting qualities and can prevent many illnesses and diseases. Just be sure to get them organic or grown without genetic engineering or manipulation. Whole grains should include brown rice, quinoa, and oats just to name a few as whole grains contain a great amount of fiber for proper digestive health; they help maintain blood sugar levels; they contain essential minerals and vitamins such as calcium and vitamin B; they help you stay full longer; they reduce inflammation; they lower blood pressure, and many other health benefits.
9- Eat foods that reduce inflammation. Research has shown that chronic inflammation is the precursor to certain illnesses and diseases in our bodies. While some inflammation is necessary as it’s the body’s natural defense system, but when inflammation flares up more than needed, it attacks the body and results in health problems that we all don’t need. While some people might fight inflammation with pills, doctors and scientists recommend eliminating chronic inflammation or – even mild inflammation that won’t go away – with healthier food choices. And while certain foods trigger inflammation such as excess of refined sugar, red meat, and trans fat, there are foods that can combat inflammation. Foods that fight inflammation due to many factors include tomatoes, nuts, certain types of berries, leafy greens, Omega 3 rich fish, and olive oil.
10- Eat more “superfoods”. The term superfoods has been used for quite some time now and while it can be confusing to many, superfoods simply means certain types of foods that are categorized to bring you targeted health benefits. For instance, a superfood such as Goji berries can help increase circulation and provide overall immunity. Another superfood such as Kefir contains high levels of probiotics and supports good digestive health. The superfood Chia Seeds contain great amounts of plant-based Omega 3s, fiber, and calcium. Other superfoods that are on the rise (but not necessarily new to other countries) include Acai, Cacao (or cocoa powder), Seaweed, Mangosteens, Maca Powder, Hemp Seeds, Nutritional Yeast, and Black Garlic. Add more of these superfoods into your daily meals to get additional health benefits and to prevent many illnesses and diseases.
Remember that eating healthier isn’t scary or unachievable. Start by recognizing why you are always tired, ill, or gaining too much weight. Most likely it’s your eating habits and how you view food. Do you look at food as a means of getting full? Or is food crucial in maintaining your health and prolonging your life? Eating healthier doesn’t mean eating food that is bland or tasteless. Healthy and nutritious foods are balanced with proper minerals and vitamins along with adding in the right flavor to make them enjoyable. Research into recipes that include nutrient rich foods and superfoods. Look what’s inside your fridge and pantries right now. If you see mostly junk food laden with fat and artificial ingredients then throw them out or just don’t buy them. We know it’s impossible to resist a sweet treat now and then, but we don’t have to let unhealthy foods take over our lives. We are in control of our health. And when you break it down – without good health, life can be burdensome to most people.
Happy National Nutrition Month and start eating healthier!
Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.
Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.