Learning from experience, when I wanted to see changes in my life, making small efforts daily resulted in progress. This held true for bettering my health. When I started reading wellness articles ranging from medical journals to fan favorite authors like Kris Carr and Dr. Fuhrman, I noticed some trends and started my adventure there. If it was a simple health tip about adding more fruits and vegetables, I just tried it, then consulted with my doctors. If the recommendation included adding herbs, vitamins or other natural remedies, I held off until my I could speak to a medical professional.
Yes, eliminating pre-packaged foods, added sugars, cheese, big ol’ bagels, apple martinis, soda-pop, granola bars, turkey sandwiches, pizza and succulent steaks can be hard. But taking it slow, one step at a time and staying committed, can be much easier than the anticipation of “quitting” it all.
Adding Hot-Water and Lemon Daily:
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again because it has made me feel incredible. My first a-ha moment was replacing my morning two coffee and fake-creamer regimen with hot water and lemon. After a night of sleep, the body can be dehydrated, so waking up and drinking hot water and lemon helps hydrate the body. The lemon juice also helps balance the body’s alkalinity. I wasn’t much of a water drinker before, so I can’t image how dehydrated my body must have been after a night of no fluids and then two coffees, followed by my 20-ounce bottles of Diet Dr. Pepper. After a few short weeks, my body wasn’t as sluggish in the morning and my mind was.
Stopping All Pop (soda) Consumption:
My biggest vice was my “pop.” I loved the taste of Diet Dr. Pepper and many of the lower calorie sodas. Once I was motivated to stop, I didn’t look back. The more water I drank, the better I felt. Every now and then I get a craving for something sweet and fizzy, so tried this Synergy Kombucha drink. The ingredients are all wholesome, so I don’t feel bloated afterward. If I crave some taste, I add herbs, such as mint and basil to my water. I’ve also found some simple recipes for wholesome lemonade made from just fruit and herbs.
Using Himalayan Sea Salt:
I was raised not to add salt to my meals. Instead, I used low-fat (high sugar) tomato sauces and creamy fat-free dressings. I didn’t realize how many ingredients were unknown to me in these items. I got used to the taste, often masked with a ton of sugar, which I liked. So, when I started eating clean I had to learn how to properly season my foods. It’s a lot of trial and error, sprinkling turmeric and pepper on veggies for spice. Or, my simple favorite, adding a little bit of Himalayan sea salt. I especially like this one because it isn’t nearly as processed as regular table salt, so I sprinkle a little and enjoy.
Finding Wholesome Sweet Substitutions – Cacao, Medjool Dates and Sunflower Seed Butter:
As a recovering sugaraholic, I ate a lot of low-fat chocolate puddings, cookies and breads in my day. Rather than grab for a pre-made brand, I now tell myself all my sweets should be homemade. I bake my own dessert-like breads using dates or bananas for sweetener. Add a little cacao powder and a healthy cake tastes like the brownies I miss. Many people use carob powder instead of cocoa (or cacao.) The benefit is that this chocolate substitute is caffeine-free. However, I’m not much of a fan.
When I’m looking to curb a sweet craving I often dunk my spoon into a jar of sunflower seed butter. Nuts can serve a similar purpose, but since my son is allergic to them we eat a lot of SunButter.
Increasing Fruits and Vegetables at Every Meal
This took a little bit of thought, but within days it was super easy. I added smoothies for breakfast, which packed in a ton of fiber and nutrients. I pre-packed snack bags of carrots, apples and red peppers to snack on throughout the day. (Bananas, avocados, grapes and oranges are also easy items that travel well.) At dinner, I created big green leafed salads filled with beets, pumpkin seeds and tomatoes as a side dish. I also started sautéing a variety of veggies.
What healthy tweaks would you like to make to your diet?
Always remember to check with your doctor or natural health care practitioner before making changes in your diet.
Images courtesy of amenic181 and SOMMAI/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net