Eating simple shouldn’t be a chore, and once you’ve got the basics of healthy eating down, the foundation is built and you get to create what balance looks like for you.
1. Avoid processed or fried foods – By doing just this one thing you will be eliminating a host of harmful chemicals and ingredients that are bad for your health. Processed and fried foods are nutritionally devoid foods. Most all nutrients are sensitive to light, heat and air and will be destroyed when exposed to them. This means that the more “processes” your food has been through, the fewer nutrients it will have.
This also means that your body is having to do all the work of digestion, which requires a lot of energy and resources without the pay off of getting nourished. This is what nutritionists mean when we say that foods are “empty calories.” It means that they require digestion but give nothing back to your body. Fried foods contain substances that are known to cause the development and proliferation of cancer cells so we do not recommend that you consume them ever.
2. Avoid packaged foods – Eat from the produce section as much as possible. I totally understand the convenience of packaged foods, and not all foods that come in a package need to be avoided. What I’m talking about when I say “packaged” foods are the foods that have several artificial and chemical ingredients added too them to give them a really long shelf life.
If you want, take baby steps and start by reading the labels of all food items you purchase at the grocery store. If there are any ingredients in the foods that you are purchasing that you don’t recognize or understand, do a quick Google search on your phone, or don’t buy that product unless you know it’s actually good for you.
The more you eat whole, unprocessed foods the more your palate and body will crave them. It may be a bit of an adjustment at first, but eventually you will prefer the taste of fresh foods.
3. Real juice doesn’t come in a box, carton or bottle – Drink water or use a juicer. This is a huge area where people get duped by the processed food industry. So many juice companies use the terms “real” or “fresh” or “100% real fruit juice” in their labelling and marketing campaigns, but this could not be farther from the truth for a lot of brands.
Making juice shelf stable is actually a huge and drawn out process involving chemicals and processes that you could not replicate in your home even if you wanted to. To give you an idea, juice is similar to oil in the fact that it is sensitive to light, oxygen and heat. This means that when you make a fresh juice at home it will start to degrade within 15 minutes, lasting up to a maximum of about 48 hours if you have a slow juicer. This is because all of the protective fiber has been removed, and the nutrients are now hyper exposed to the elements that can damage and degrade them. So imagine what must have to be done to the juice to make it last months or years on the shelf?
Another thing to consider with bottled juice is how they get every bottle of juice to taste the same as the last. In nature, when you eat oranges does every orange you eat taste identical? Most likely not. Nature is varied and complex in its flavour profiles and if you are paying attention you will notice subtle taste differences between variety of produce, the seasons and areas the produce was grown in, and even flavor variation among produce of the same variety grown in the same place at the same time.
But you can be sure that every time you go for a bottle of orange juice from your favourite company it will taste exactly the same as every other bottle of juice you have had from that brand. Juice manufacturers work very hard to find the exact taste they want their juice to have and there are several chemical and mechanical processes that go into creating that patented flavor for every bottle of juice. At the end of the day, processed juice is just plain sugar water. Some may have added vitamins and minerals but those will most likely be synthetic which means that your body won’t get much used out of them.
5. Have a big green salad or plate of dark leafy greens each day – No matter what the rest of your diet looks like, whether you are used to eating lots of raw and fresh foods or if you are new to whole foods, adding a big green salad to your day will be of benefit to you and your health. Dark leafy greens are pound for pound one of the most nutrient dense foods you can eat.
Leafy greens will add fiber, vitamins and minerals, phytochemcials and other nutrients to your diet that can improve your digestion, help nourish your blood, aid in the detox processes of your body and so much more. If you’re having raw food, make a giant salad, if you’re eating cooked foods you can steam or sauté your greens in coconut oil and add some chickpea miso to the greens afterwards.
6. If you’re eating animal foods then choose responsibly – Buy local, organic and grass-fed animal foods. It may be beneficial to simply cut back a little on the amount of animal foods you are currently consuming. Generally speaking you may not need to have them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A large majority of your diet can still consist of plant foods. You could try having just one plant based meal a day.
Remember, what goes into animals that you eat also goes into you, including stress or negative energy so it’s important to consider the way the animal was raised, treated and fed. If your animal foods are not grass-fed, they may be lower in good fats and higher in bad fats, so quality is everything.
Eating healthfully does not have to be super complicated. It should really be straight forward, easy and enjoyable. There are so many incredibly healthy and nourishing foods for you to explore, so get out there and discover what’s available to you!
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