Transitioning to a Healthier Diet
- Read labels on packaged foods. If there are words you can't pronounce, be suspicious.
- Sugar comes in many disguises. Glucose, sucrose, lactose, maltose and fructose are all sugars. If you're trying to cut down on sugars, watch out for these words. Experiment with lower glycemic natural sugars like rice syrup, agave syrup and fruit extracts.
- If you're living in an area where you don't have easy access to healthy foods, try to find some kindred spirits—people of like mind—with whom you can form a co-op and order foods in bulk. This makes them a lot more affordable. I have seen this system work very well in remote areas. Alternatively, you can direct your local grocer to a source for ordering these foods.
- Of course, organically grown products are always the best choice. However, if you can't find all organic foods, you can rinse your fruits and veggies in a mixture of 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar in a basin of water. Soak for about 10 minutes and rinse. Alternatively, a few drops of citracidal (grapefruit seed extract) in a basin of water will work to remove pesticides and other residue from your produce.
- Take another deep breath, and smile. A smile can brighten up a dull day, exercise those facial muscles and make you look younger, and a lot more attractive. Much better to encourage those body parts to move north rather than south as the years go by!
- A teacher of mine once said, "You should drink your food and eat your drinks." Digestion begins in the mouth—the enzymes in the saliva start to break down the food and prepare it for the next stage of digestion. To get the most nutritional benefits from your food, it's very important to chew it thoroughly before swallowing. If your weight is an issue, this is also very beneficial as you tend to eat less if you're taking time to chew.
- Eat consciously. I have seen people slouched in front of the TV, with a newspaper in one hand and eating with the other. Take time to give thanks for your food and savor the flavor in each mouthful. Your digestive system will be grateful!
- A good quality kitchen knife is a very worthwhile investment. It makes cooking a lot easier. I travel with mine (but make sure to check it in with your luggage!). My preference is an NHS, which is a Japanese-style, square blade knife that is made from durable carbon steel, sandwiched between two pieces of stainless steel, so that only the cutting edge of the carbon steel is visible. Carbon steel is very strong and will hold its sharp edge for a long time, but it will rust easily, so the stainless steel protects it. Check around and find one that feels good to hold, and make it your best friend.
- Make at least one meal a day a family ritual. I'm aware that many busy parents struggle with finding the time and energy to prepare nutritious meals for the family every day, but the benefits of sitting down and sharing this time with family members are manifold. In my family, with 11 hungry mouths to feed, if you didn't make it to the table in time, chances were you missed out.
- Prepare your foods with love and gratitude. Fuel your body with the best nutrition and you'll be assured a life of health and vitality. I'd much rather spend a little extra money buying nutritious organic foods than spending it on medical bills.