New Year’s Resolutions….lose weight, exercise, eat better. Many people start out the year to grand ideas on how to improve their health. With all the trends and diets out there, how do you know what to do?
For our family, it started 7 years ago with clean eating. We began our food journey by removing artificial colors, artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners and artificial preservatives. Some of the common offenders are: Red #40, Yellow #5, BHA, BHT, TBHQ, vanillin, sucralose, and aspartame.
With such a push from the medical community to monitor calories, fat and cholesterol, it can be easy to forget about the ingredients. However, I believe that this is the first thing to evaluate when making changes to how you eat.
Chemically-based ingredients saturate the food supply. Processed foods are more man-made than God-made. It is no wonder that our society has seen such a dramatic increase in auto-immune challenges, cancer, diabetes and other food-caused diseases in the past 30 years.
If you have been considering making changes to your eating habits, here are some things you can do:
1) Read the ingredients in the foods already in your pantry and fridge. Decide what can stay and what must go.
2) Stop buying it. Food doesn’t just magically appear at your house – find the self-control to just leave it at the store.
3) Make a list of the worst offenders and find suitable replacements right away. Don’t feel like you have to throw out all your food and immediately clean out your pantry. It might take you a couple of months (or more) to replace everything.
4) Locate where to buy the products you need. I usually have to go to 3 stores locally and order online to find everything. I also shop discount grocers and occasionally, a specialty health food store that is an hour away.
5) Look for the words “all natural.” You still need to read the ingredients list — more and more manufacturers are using this as a gimmick.
6) Compose a weekly menu. This will help you plan ahead to make fresh meals with clean ingredients rather than relying on ready-made boxed helpers.
7) Ditch the fast food. Sure, its convenient and your kids want it — but it’s full of artificial junk! Take few more minutes to get out of the car and go into a grocery store for a quick meal or snack. Consider planning ahead and packing snacks or meals.
8) Don’t let setbacks discourage you. Guilt over “cheating” is one of the main reasons people quit their diets. So, you caved and bought a sugary, yellow soda or that candy bar that was calling your name. Tomorrow is another day…you may even notice that it makes you feel bad and have the strength to say “no” the next time.