Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Beginner Steps to Eating Your Best

The Ultimate food trigger word right now is "Clean"

Clean Eating - everyone is doing it, the rest us think we should be doing it, some of us (me!) aren't even sure we know what it means. 

I have done some pretty scientific internet searches and I have come to the conclusion that no one can agree on what it means at all.

That leads me to believe that somebody is trying to make money off all this confusion. But that isn't the point of this post - so don't get me started. 

So, Let's drop the Clean title and let's talk about some really basic ways that we can start to eat better. If you are already doing some of these, Great! take on another one, then another.

  • Get Rid of Added Sugars and Artificial Sweeteners - I don't even have to throw any crazy facts or numbers at you. We both know that sodas, packaged cookies, chemical sweeteners and basically ANY nutrition label that has "sugar" as one of the first ingredients isn't good for you.  We might still crave them, enjoy them, and really want to consume them, but it we want to start eating better, we need to cut down on them and eventually quit them entirely. 
  • Read Your Food Labels - I am so guilty of not doing this. Sometimes I am in a hurry, sometimes I am lazy (it seems overwhelming and So confusing), and to be honest, sometimes, I just want to know the bad news. But if any of us hope to make changes for the better, we have got to start knowing what we are putting in our body. There are so many levels of food label reading, but for starters, just begin with the ingredients. What is IN your food. The more ingredients that you recognize and can pronounce the better. The more you know the better choices you can make. At least with starting to read labels, you can make the actual choice to put something in your body or not. 
  • Think Vegetables and Fruits First - Are you feeling like a snack, got a craving for something sweet - looking for a crunchy something? Try fruits and vegetables first. Keep the ones that you really like on hand - We always try and have snap peas on hand, my kids will eat them by the handful and I really enjoy them when I am looking for that crunchy something I usually try and satisfy with chips. We also keep lots of canned fruit around. It isn't a snack that I would choose but my teenage boys eat more canned fruit that I can even know what to do with. Pears, peaches and oodles and oodles of mandarin oranges. If you haven't found something that you like yet, just keep trying new things, frozen blueberries, freeze-dried corn, there are so many ways to eat them and so many of them to eat. You're sure to find ones that you really really enjoy. 
  • Balance Your Plate - Choose My Plate One of the first signals that a diet is to be avoided is that it eliminates entire food groups. Anyone telling you to completely give up Carbs or Dairy doesn't have the interest of your best health in mind. There are exceptions - that you Dr. can help you with, but most of us, most of the time, should be choosing foods from All the food groups. Keeping your diet balanced is the best way to keep your health and your body that same way - balanced. 
None of those were too scary, some might be a little bit harder than others, especially if you like an ice cold Coke as much as I do. But I am learning to drink more water and use something like a coke as a rare treat instead of beverage that I consume the most of.  

I always want to encourage us (me included) to keep making steps forward. To try and do a bit better each day, don't give up on ourselves and our families. We are absolutely worth the effort, the challenges and the rewards.