Changing how you eat can be one of the most difficult tasks to undertake. Until you change how you think about food and the relationship you have with it, the harder it will be to implement dietary changes. Start viewing food as a source of fuel for your body instead of something that brings you pleasure.
Consider this, 7 out of the 10 leading causes of death in the United States have a strong link to nutrition. They are heart disease, cancer, lower respiratory disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and kidney disease. You have the ability to improve your health by changing your diet.
The Standard American Diet Is:
Good Nutrition Is:
The word “diet” is meant to refer to a way of life. It is not supposed to be a temporary change to achieve a short term result. In the US it is typically used to describe a particular way of eating or following a certain food plan. Most of these, FAD, diets are not healthy because they are not sustainable over the long term. And as stated above, the human body needs a balance of carbohydrates, protein, fat, and fiber.
Using willpower to change how you eat does not work. Every morning you start out with lots of willpower but it gets used up throughout the day. So by nighttime you don’t have any left. It is better to not have unhealthy foods in the house so you aren’t tempted to eat them.
Setup for Success
Stock your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer with only good, nutritious foods. Purchase fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dried and canned beans, grass fed meat, raw seeds and nuts, and lots of spices.
Do not purchase highly refined, processed foods, or foods high in sugar and sodium. Read labels and don’t be fooled by those that say “sugar free" or “low sodium”. Artificial sugars are not good for you and many products labeled low sodium have more sodium than those that do not mention it on the label.
Salad dressings typically have a high sugar content, as does ketchup, fruit juice, and cereal. Sugar is highly addictive so it’s best if you avoid added sugar. Salad dressing is simple to make or just use vinegar or liquid aminos for dressing. Eat oatmeal or muesli instead of cereal.
Cook as many meals from scratch as possible. It doesn’t have to take a long time. Make use of the slow cooker, or an Instant Pot to speed things along. Pick a day of the week when you have time to do meal prep or batch cooking. Buy pre-cut veggies, spiralized or riced vegetables, quick cooking grains or pasta and you can whip up dinner in less than half an hour. Make things ahead and freeze them to be pulled out at a later time. Have a plan in place so you aren’t tempted to make poor food choices when pressed for time.
Purchase cookbooks and magazines, or search online for healthy recipes. Download the Yummly app, it’s free.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. Awareness is the first step to making changes. Don’t attempt to do too much too fast. Start slow and be consistent. Remember, how you view food and what you eat are critical to optimal health.
Before making any drastic dietary changes be sure to check with your physician.