It’s unbelievably sad how hard we must work to eat healthy today. There is so much we must do and there are conflicting reports, sometimes it’s easier to just give up and go with the masses. But our health is the most important thing we have – without it, we have nothing. Health is important for today and for our future; we want to be here for our children as they get older and need guidance and to share their joys.
Here are ten steps to help us eat healthier, feel better and live longer. Good luck on your journey!
1. Get rid of the hydrogenated oils and transfats in your home and in your life.
Throw out the products that you have (don’t try and finish them, just throw them out and add healthy time to your life!) Get a garbage can and go! Look at all the processed foods and words on the label that say “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated oils” and toss into the can. Don’t worry, there are plenty of convenience foods without these transfats.
This is the first cleansing we all go through and it’s in our kitchen cabinets. Then go to the refrigerator and get rid of any margarine.
Don’t buy these things anymore. That includes most shortening and most processed and packaged foods.
Cut out the junk. Highly processed foods offer no nutritional value and shorten your life as well as can make the life you do have miserable with sickness.
Cut out fast food. My family and I don’t eat fast food. Loaded with transfats and plain just don’t taste good. If you lunch at fast foods regularly, cut them out for a month and eat delicious whole foods cooked to perfection, then TASTE fast foods again.
If you don’t think you have time to make foods, there are ways to make them quickly and there are plenty of healthier fast options too. There is no excuse to eat poorly. This is the most important thing we can do for ourselves and our future, not to mention the future of any children to whom we are teaching eating by example. So your eating habits don’t continue to last through their lifetime and then they pass it to the next generation. What a legacy to leave!) You may be surprised to find that they really don’t taste good. We don’t eat them.
If you know what food is suppose to taste like, and if you taste what’s out there in fast food and convenience food, it’s easy to give it up. In order to devour life, we must truly enjoy food and our bodies will tell us what is good if we just listen instead of numbing our senses with advertisements, sugars, processed flours, and the quick stomach fill up. We need to take time and savor the food we eat and the life we have been awarded and make a difference to ourselves, our loved ones, and others.
2. Next, go to the refrigerator and get rid processed meats with nitrates.
3. Go organic!
- Start with those food that have the most heavy pesticides.
- Eat 5-9 vegetables and fruits each day.
- Eat a colorful array of vegetables and fruits, the deeper the color, the better
- Eat those rich in antioxidants to combat free radicals678
- Add organic fruits and vegetables regularly to reap the benefits.
- Juice whole vegetables.
- Eat whole fruits but lower how much fruit juice you drink each week. A good way to transition this is to dilute the fruit juice a bit each week.
- Fiber, found in the skins of fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains, is important for our health. Juicing removes the fiber. Add back some of the pulp to your juice and chew it or make sure you are getting enough fiber from the whole grains and whole fruits and vegetables, skins too.
- Eat more raw fruits and vegetables, or lightly steamed or sautéed to preserve the nutritional value. I mean, if you’re already going to eat Brussel Sprouts, make them count, right? And they are actually tastier that way!
- Eat Cruciferous vegetables each week.
- Eat vegetables containing sulfur compounds like Garlic and Onions
- Eat berries
- Spice it up! Use Fresh herbs and spices.
- Enjoy your food! Prepared properly, healthful foods are delicious! Eat a healthy and varied diet.
- Instead of grabbing a quick processed snack, try a fruit.
- Instead of the same foods and menu each week, try new foods and recipes.
4. Add Omega 3 fatty acids to your diet. These can be found in fish, walnuts, and flaxseeds. The best source is in cold water, wild, oily fish.
5. Use good organic cold pressed extra virgin olive oil (a mono-saturated fat) and keep it in the refrigerator. Never fry in olive oil – it is not good for high heat. Organic Virgin Coconut Oil is a stable oil and can take the high heat of frying. Walnut oil is also great for salad dressings. Organic Grapeseed oil is good for the occasional frying and is a light oil. Sesame oil can be used sparingly to impart flavor. Organic Ghee (clarified butter) is perfect and delicious for sautéing.
6. Cut out the “white” stuff – Limit or stop eating altogether nutritionally defunct:
– white processed flour. The trouble is that we eat way too much grain, and particularly way too much white flour. Many who believe you should cut out grains completely and there are good books on this subject. Grains, as a rule, raise our insulin levels and cause our bodies to go into a tizzy. There are other experts taht believe that whole grains are a good addition to the diet. The key is moderation if you follow that approach. And remember, corn is also a grain. And it’s high in sugar. We’d all do much better if we cut the corn from our foods. Instead of white flour (used to make pasta, cookies,…) eat whole grains:
- o Quinoa
- o Spelt
- o Oats & Oat Bran
- o Brown Rice
- o Wheat Germ
- o Soba or Udon Noodles
- o Kamut
- o Bulgur Wheat
- o Couscous (which is actually a pasta)
- o Millet
- o Buckwheat
- o Rye
- o Flax
– white rice. Conventional rice is loaded with pesticides. Though white rice is a much better option to regular overcooked pasta, it is not a nutrient-dense food that should be consumed regularly. There are so many different kinds of rice that have more nutritional value and are delicious. It’s not just brown rice. Again, rice is a grain and should be consumed in moderation.
– white sugar, corn syrup and the processed foods made from these things. Cut out sugar and corn syrup, as much as possible. This is the single thing we can do to improve our health quickly as we generally consume way too much sugar. And artificial sweeteners are no better for us. We need to stop our cycle of craving sweets and stick with a wholesome sweet (like fruit, dried fruit, a piece of dark chocolate (ok, not particularly wholesome but a better choice than other chocolates when you’ve got to have it!) and healthier “raw” cookies made without sugar and without flour and yet surprisingly delicious! When we cut out the simple sugar, we can really taste the flavor and our bodies will show the change.
Steps to eliminate bad sweets from our diet:
- Give up soda. We have done that in our home. I can’t even remember when I last brought soda into the house. One day we were out and our then 4 year old son went to get water from one of those soda dispensers with his Daddy. Unbeknownst to us, sprite came out. He tasted it and promptly returned it to us saying the “water is bad” and refused to drink it. A week later he had some milk and said “yuck, this tastes like the water at x” – he likened soda to sour milk! It isn’t good for our bodies and it doesn’t even taste good to a clean palate.
- Try to eliminate sweets but on occasion use instead:
- + Maple Syrup
- + Honey, organic, raw preferably
- + Molasses
- + Brown Rice syrup
- + Stevia
- + Agave Nectar
- + Fruit like Bananas, especially ripe ones, can be added to pancakes, cookies or smoothies for sweetness. Try other sweet fruit too!
– milk may also fall under “white” stuff category, particularly the conventional rBGH pumped milk, and the high temperature long time pasteurized milk, and the milk from grain-fed cows instead of grass-fed. Low pasteurized and raw milk can provide valuable calcium and nutrition.
– table salt. There is a huge variety of sea salts out there and adding them to our diet is actually good for us as opposed to regular table salt which is actually bad for us.
7. Eat protein from a variety of sources:
* Nuts, like Brazil nuts and Walnuts
* Seeds, like Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, and even Hemp Seeds
* Beans – (also a carb and an incomplete protein)
* Grass-fed Beef (rich in Omega 3s too!)
* Fish (rich in Omega 3s too!)
* Eggs – especially from Chickens fed a high Omega diet!
* Yogurt, Kefir & Kumiss (adds calcium too!)
* Milk and Cheese
* Fermented soy products like Tempeh and Miso
8. Cut out artificial colors and artificial sweeteners.
9. Prepare Your Food Safely and more Deliciously:
1. Never put your food in a plastic container or use plastic wrap to cover it in the microwave. Use glass or ceramic instead. Might be better to get rid of the microwave all together anyway because of how it changes food.
2. Don’t use aluminum pots and pans; use stainless steel, ceramic, titanium, or glass instead. If you’re using anodized aluminum (black) than be careful not to scratch it. Don’t scratch Teflon coated pans either and never use those on high heat and never heat them dry (without anything in them, always start Teflon pans with oil in the pan if you are going to use them at all.)
3. Leftovers should be stored in glass (pyrex or anchor hoching, for example) or a safer plastic. Never put hot foods in plastic, wait until they are cool to minimize leaching of chemicals from the plastic.
4. Be adventurous and try new foods and new recipes!
5. Steam, braise and poach over frying and char grilling.
10. Live Better:
1. Stop smoking. If you are still smoking. Stop. I have no advice on this so you’ll have to look for help on how but please stop. Do it for yourself, your family, and for us out here who are trying hard to breathe clean air (and for our children.) And keep your children from ever starting by teaching them at an early age the dangers so that they have the information to make their own decision when the time comes. The best way to teach is by example. Children of smokers tend to smoke too. You have the power to end the cycle.
2. Drink plenty of water. It’s tough, I know; the easiest way is to start the day with a glass and have a glass on your bedside table at night. Have water at lunch and drink your glass before your meal and another with the meal. Our bodies need water. And adding a squeeze of lemon does more than just add a little flavor, it helps the water hydrate our cells more efficiently. If you’re nursing, drink a glass every time you nurse. Use filtered water, spring water, or artesian water. Tap water contains many added chemicals. Remove chlorine from your bath and shower.
3. Walk. Exercise. Do Yoga. Move.
4. Take time to relax. Not in front of the TV. Meditate, even for a couple minutes, to help calm. If you’re like me and are restless, try a mantra to help focus. And spend less time in front of the TV, particularly shut off news to lessen stress. Spend more time with family and friends and less time running around. I mean, our goal is to enjoy life yet many of us race around trying to make money so hard so that we enjoy life that we actually miss living life! Simplify your life and take stock of what’s truly important – health and love. These things cannot be purchased with money so why are we racing so much?
5. See your glass as half-full, you’ll live longer! Optimism improves our immunity, lowers the stress hormone cortisol, and reduces the risk of chronic diseases.
6. Get out in the sun a little each day. Don’t sunbathe. Don’t use sunscreen. But just soak in the sun on your walk, even to the car. Get outdoors in a natural surrounding! Sit for 10 minutes on a bench or the grass (that hasn’t been treated with chemicals) and look at the trees and the natural surroundings; listen to the birds instead of the cars; remember gazing at clouds and seeing shapes? What do you see? Great time to spend with your child too!
7. Start each day with a healthful breakfast. Eat smaller meals more often and at regular intervals instead of 3 big meals a day, especially when they are spread apart unevenly. Make your bigger meal at lunchtime. Portion control is key (eat slower, use smaller plates, eat foods that are rich in fiber to help fill you up, eat plenty of vegetables, enjoy what you eat). Healthful snacks (including fruits and nuts) are good for us, even before bedtime to help us sleep well.
8. Sleep. Soundly (if you have kids, as soundly as you can sleep) and in Total Darkness. Get 8 hours of sleep each night. You cannot “catch up” on sleep; our bodies need sleep each night. Block out lights from windows and get it dark for your health!
9. Volunteer. Or help others regularly. Help kids. Be an important part of our community and contribute to the world.
10. Drink a little less coffee and caffeinated products. A lot of controversy on whether it’s good or bad, but it’s hard to give up for many of us and I think moderation is the answer. Aside from getting our blood going in the morning, caffeine can increase body odor.
11. Clean with environmentally friendly and less toxic products. Wash your hands, get under the fingernails, especially before eating, cooking, and after using the bathroom. Special antibacterial soap is more harmful than helpful but use plenty of water (count to 10 as you rinse and rub.)
12. Take simple steps to avoid harmful chemicals in your life.
13. Drink alcohol in moderation. Choose wine over hard grain alcohols.
14. Be cautious about vaccines, especially inert ingredients included in them and multiple vaccines at once.
15. Be cautious about dental care.
16. Consider safer deodorants over harmful antiperspirants.
17. Avoid x-rays when you can.
18. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Compost.
19. Don’t use chemicals on your yard; instead find eco-friendly ways to tend to your lawn and garden. Then get out and play in the dirt!
20. Eat less calories – thin people live longer.
21. Brush and Floss. Regularly.
22. Always use your seat belt when traveling.
23. Learn. Studies indicate that people who reach higher education levels in school and people that continue to learn new things age better and live longer.
24. Do It! Don’t just let fear stop you. Take a chance.
25. Don’t use plug-in room deodorizes, room fresheners or scented or aromatherapy candles, even those with pure essential oils. Instead burn only 100% pure beeswax candles, preferably without artificial color.
26. Supplements and pills do not replace a good and varied healthful diet. Foods work in balance with their nutrient and healthful composition. A supplement or pill cannot do this.
A diet rich in organic whole foods (fruits and vegetables and complex carbohydrates), low (or no) in refined or processed foods, with a nice balance of proteins (including safe fish) allow us to live a longer, more healthful, and very Delicious Organic life!
Don’t just eat to fill the stomach. Savor each moment. This is your life, you are living it right this minute, enjoy it instead of letting it pass you by while you devour something in the car as you race to get somewhere important. That’s no way to live your life. You are more important than that. You have something to share with the world and your health will make that happen. Food is an experience to be shared with friends and with yourself. Enjoy every bite of life!
Additional Tips – add these Super Foods regularly:
- Add Blueberries to reduce cardiovascular disease. Blueberries help keep you relaxed even in stressful situations. Blueberries add fiber, vitamins and minerals. Blueberries can even help ward off cataracts and macular degeneration, cancer and other disease. Blueberries are a powerful antioxidant. This is a wonder food that is equally as delicious so add a handful every day – as a snack, to breakfast cereal, or even as a topping over fish or chicken! Eat a handful every day.
- Goji Berries add powerful antioxidants, beta-Carotene and Vitamin C, contain 18 amino acids and 21 minerals, and are a force in anti-aging.
- Strawberries, Cranberries, Red Grapes, Purple Grapes, Raspberries, Blackberries, and Purple Potatoes all have anthocyanin, a powerful antioxidant. Berries also have flavanoids. Indiana and Ohio State University studies found that Raspberries and Strawberries inhibit the growth of colon and esophageal cancer cells.
- Eat some Tomatoes, Brazil Nuts, Blueberries, Fish, Kiwi, and Broccoli each week because of their great antioxidant value.
- Tomatoes have powerful antioxidants (Lycopene and Vitamin C) and reduce the risk of prostate, colon, cervical, bladder, mouth and stomach cancers.
- Fiber can be found in fruits and vegetables (particularly in the skins), in nuts, seeds, legumes, beans and whole grains (whole wheat breads, oats, brown rice, and other whole grains.) Fiber helps prevent constipation and can reduce headaches.
- Omega 3s from cold water fish like Salmon & Tuna are important for brain function, eye health, may improve memory, and can lessen arthritic symptoms and coronary heart disease. DHA and Omega 3s have been shown to reduce hostility too! Omega 3s can help combat depression, anxiety, impulsiveness and aggression. Cod Liver Oil contains these essential nutrients and fatty acids as well so if you’re not eating your fish regularly, take a teaspoon of Cod Liver Oil daily. Omega 3s help promote a strong heart and immune system, good digestive system, healthy teeth and bones, smart brain, better eyesight (especially at night), glowing skin, and working joints. Wonder food indeed!
- Pomegranates and pure pomegranate juice offers a healthy dose of antioxidants with their deep color; this is a fruit that is low on the glycemic index too!
- Yogurt increases the absorption of Calcium and contains important flora and probiotics (friendly bacteria) for our digestive health. Make sure the label reads “live” or “active” cultures not just “made with” live cultures. Eat Fermented foods for a healthy digestive system and therefore a healthy body. Yogurt can also help reduce homocysteine levels and therefore the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Greens including Collards and Broccoli, Tofu, Sesame Seeds are sources of Calcium.
- Cruciferous vegetables like Broccoli and Kale help break down potential carcinogens.
- A Heart Study found that elderly people who ate Spinach and Broccoli with high vitamin K had less hip fractures.
- Broccoli and other Cruciferous Vegetables are wonder foods and should be a regular part of each diet. They ward off cancer, actually help fight cancer, add fiber, add vitamins and minerals, and help build strong bones.
- Red Cabbage is not only a cruciferous vegetable but has antioxidants (eat your colors!) that are powerful. The reds and blues have the most! Cabbage is also high in Vitamin C and contains iodine and Vitamin E. Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage and aids our digestive system.
- Speaking of reds, let’s not forget Red Beets for the same reason.
- Leafy Greens should be consumed regularly including Lettuce (Red or Green leaf and Romaine more particularly), Spinach, Kale, Chard, Collards, Bok Choy and others help ward off cancers and offer a healthy dose of minerals, chlorophyll, essential vitamins for good health. Greens help the body maintain an alkaline state where cancers can’t thrive, unlike sugars which offer an acidic arena for cancers to flourish. Juice your Greens every day!
- Spinach contains Lutein which fights eye disease, macular degeneration. It is also rich in additional antioxidants, Glutathione, Vitamin C, Beta-Carotene, Folic Acid and Carotenoids. Spinach can also zap some calcium from bones. Cooking is the best way to eat Spinach because that allows us to absorb more of the nutritional value and lessen the negative effects, and be sure to get some extra calcium too (creamed spinach!). Eat it twice a week.
- The Nurses’ Health Study found that women who eat Carrots, Squash and orange Sweet Potato have the lowest risk of breast cancer.
- Oranges, full of antioxidant phytochemicals and Vitamin C and cancer-fighting bioflavonoids, help boost our immune system. Orange juice has too much sugar (about 7 oranges in a glass of juice) so eating oranges is not the same as drinking a glass of juice.
- Apples, with ellagic acid, inhibits some cancer growth. And with so many from which to choose, this is an adventure in and of itself!
- Superfoods include Fish, Fruits, Vegetables, Garlic, Almonds, Wine and Dark Chocolate and should be mixed into a regular diet to reduce the risk of heart disease by 75%! (Did you just hear chocolate and wine? Remember Fruits and Vegetables! Garlic. Almonds. Fish high in omega 3s.)
- Reduce the risk of heart disease by adding Garlic, Shitake Mushrooms and Oyster Mushrooms to your meals. Garlic, with organosulfides and allicinthus, protects against some cancers like breast cancer.
- Reduce arthritic symptoms with spices like Ginger and Turmeric. Many other spices have anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties including Cayenne Pepper, Rosemary, Sage, and Thyme.
- Reduce the risk of colon cancer by lowering sugar and meat intake. Especially work to avoid meats with hormones (conventional meats) and grain fed meats. Go for grassfed meats and grassfed organic meats when you can find them.
- Cilantro can help rid the body of mercury.
- Sage & Lemon may help in Alzheimer’s.
- Hot Red Peppers have capsaicin which fights the carcinogens from cigarettes and protect against lung cancer.
- Green & Black & White Tea is made from brewing fresh unfermented tea leaves and these teas are bursting with antioxidants polyphenols, the most potent of which is catechin.
- Sunshine provides Vitamin D and is a natural anti-depressant.
- Fats that are good include Avocados, Walnuts, Organic Egg Yolks, Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, and Butter. Butter should not be eaten all the time, but it is much better than margarine, especially from grass-fed cows. Butter from conventional cows is poison since the fats contain chemical residues (remember that’s where chemicals accumulate, in fat tissue.) Many advocate raw butter over pasteurized butter. Even though some of these fats are the dreaded “saturated” fats, like Coconut Oil, new research indicates that saturated fats are not the devils once made out to be. These fats are essential to good health, energy and can actually help regular our weight by keeping our metabolism high and in good rhythm.
- Egg Yolks from Organic Hens should not be feared. Eggs are a perfectly balanced food offering protein, fat, vitamins, folate, and antioxidants. Choline in eggs is used by every cell in our body to function properly. Conventional hens are treated poorly and the result is a poor quality and full of stress egg.
- Coconut is high in lauric acid, good for intestinal health. Cook with coconut oil, drink fresh coconut milk, add coconut milk to meals, add coconut cream to smoothies.
- Walnuts add fiber, healthy fat (omega 3 fatty acids), minerals and more. They can help reduce the risk of cancers, heart disease and diabetes. Add a handful for a snack or added to breakfast.
- Avocados are a wonder food that get little fanfare until one gets cancer. Full of healthy fats, vitamins, fiber, and minerals, Avocados are also chockfull of antioxidants that will keep you looking young and beautiful – promoting healthy skin and eyes and health. And eating avocados with red, orange and yellow vegetables actually enable us to more easily absorb the antioxidant carotenoids in those foods.
- Whole Grains can help keep us full and our energy levels even while offering cancer-fighting benefits. Whole Grains are not processed flours and most processed foods do not contain whole grains or contain so much sugar to make that food not a good balance and therefore not a good choice.
- Beans, fresh and dried, are filling and offer a good nonmeat source of protein. They act as protein inhibitors (so cancer cells have tough time penetrating the walls to tissues next door) so can help reduce cancer risk.
- Flaxseeds are high in omega 3s also but are not converted by our bodies as efficiently as omega 3s from Salmon or even Walnuts. Flax can be added to baked foods, smoothies, cottage cheese (or use flax oil) as another source of omega 3s.
- Try some Superfoods that might be new to you including Spirulina, Maca Powder, Sea Vegetables (Dulse, Kelp, and Nori), Chia Seeds.
- Raw Cacao contains magnesium (supports mental clarity and alertness) and tryptophan (essential amino acid that produces serotonin which helps regular mood and sleep.)
- When Pregnant it’s particularly important to include Greens and Cruciferous Vegetables, safe Salmon, and Fermented Foods while avoiding sugars and white flours so your baby comes out healthy and strong and smart!
Cautions – Avoid:
- * Doughnuts – fatty and no value with white flour and transfats and oils
- * Potato Chips and French Fries – not just fatty and the risk of transfat oils they are cooked in, potatoes, when cooked at high temperatures like frying, create high levels of known carcinogens.
- * Corn Chips – fatty and no value, conventional chips use GMO corn too
- * Foods to Avoid if not Organic because of high pesticide levels
- * GMO Foods
- * Sugar and things that spike our insulin constantly. Artificial sweeteners should be avoided too. Instead use blackstrap molasses which is rich in minerals and adds sweetness and flavor.
- * rBGH conventional milk and dairy products, especially those that are High Pasteurized and Homogenized
- * See caution about peanuts and eat sparingly, if at all. Avoid peanut oil.
- * Avoid soy oil and SPI.
- * Corn derivatives like High Fructose Corn Syrup, eat whole organic corn on and off the cob sparingly