It’s January 1st. The start of a new year – a clean slate, a fresh start. I’ve received several messages from people over the last few days telling me that they have decided to start eating better in 2014 and wanted to know if I had any easy tips or tricks for them. I do.
First of all, don’t try “fad diets”. The commercials made it look so easy. Just sign up online or make a phone call and someone will give you a plan to follow or even send “food” directly to your home. I’m talking about Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, Slim-Fast etc.. While these diets may work in the short-term, counting calories/points, eating pre-made meals full of artificial & processed junk, starving yourself or drinking a shake a few times a day is not going to be a healthy, long-term solution.
I know people that have tried these diets. Sure, the weight comes off at first, but then you get tired of counting every calorie or feeling like you are always hungry. Not to mention, what kind of nutrition are you really getting out of microwave meals or eating cereal and cookies and staying under 20 “points” for the day? No one likes to feel hungry and your body has built in mechanisms to tell you when it’s not getting enough nutrient-dense calories. If you feel hungry after eating your Jenny Craig Macaroni & Cheese meal, it’s because it doesn’t contain what your body can convert into fuel.
I understand why people do these diets. It’s simple, and people like simple. All you have to do is go to the grocery and fill your cart with frozen meals & shakes or go online and order meals for the next two weeks. It takes out all of the guess-work. Most people are busy. If you can wake up or come home from work and not have to wonder what you are going to eat, it makes the day less stressful. The problem is that this isn’t a healthy way to eat.
The word “diet” has two definitions according to Websters dictionary.
1. the kinds of food that a person, animal or community habitually eats
2. a special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons
If you want to change your diet for the better, simply take a minute and look at what is on your plate. Ask yourself “where did this come from”. Was it pulled from the ground, out of a tree or did it used to have a pulse? Or was it made in a factory and put into a package to sit on a shelf or in a freezer for weeks or months before you consumed it? More than likely, if what you are eating has an ingredients list, it’s not the best choice.
There are lots of diets out there that consist of good, whole foods in their natural form. The Paleo Diet. The Vegetarian Diet. The Vegan Diet. The Low-Carb, High Fat (LCHF) Diet. The Fruitarian Diet.
I don’t know which one of these is “the most healthy”, and I don’t think that there is definitive research proving that one is better than the other.
If you are wanting to eat healthier in 2014, my recommendation is to not worry about the exact quantities of veggies, fruits, fats, carbs and protein you are eating. If you are eating whole foods in their natural state (unprocessed), you will without a doubt feel better and have more energy in 2014. Don’t think of this diet and what you “can’t” eat, but as a way to discover new foods that you and your family will love!
Here’s a list of a few foods that we eat on a regular basis. There are plenty of other foods out there that are good for you, this is just what we have settled on after eating “clean” for a few years. We try to find local sources for these foods whenever possible. Farmer’s Markets and GreenBEAN Delivery service are good options.
- Olives / Olive Oil
- Coconut (oil, milk, water, yogurt)
- Butter (grass-fed organic)
- Raw nuts or seeds (except peanuts)
- Almond butter
- Brussels Sprouts
- Sweet Potatoes
- Corn (non-GMO)
- White Rice
- Gluten-Free Oats
- Eggs (free-range with yolks)
- Red Meat (grass-fed beef or bison)
- Fish (wild salmon, trout or tilapia)
- Bacon/Sausage (no antibiotics or nitrates)
- Pork (pasture-raised, organic)
- Raw Cheese (grass-fed)
If you have any questions or would like some good books for recipes, send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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