Twelve Easy Ways to Embrace Healthy Living

(Health Secrets) When I say healthy living is easy, most people just look at me with disbelief.  However, it really is if all you focus on is one small step at a time.  It doesn’t have to be overwhelming or a complete renovation to make it effective.  Just start right where you are, and take one small step each week to change the way you eat, move or think.  It’s that easy!  Here are a twelve tips to help get you started.

* Switch out milk chocolate for 70% or higher dark chocolate.  A little flavoring helps to make dark chocolate taste really great; my favorite is mint.  Organic Endangered Species is an excellent brand and my favorite.  A little square of their dark chocolate goes a long way to satisfying your taste.  And once you get away from processed foods and incorporate whole foods as your primary fuel source, you will find the real taste of all foods including chocolate is a lot more pleasing.  Dark chocolate will be more appealing to you after you revive your taste buds from eating too much sugar.

* Eliminate artificial sweeteners in all forms (Splenda, Suralose, Saccharin, NutraSweet, Aspartame) and minimize sugar in all forms.  Know the names of sugar (usually anything ending in “ose” and syrups). Make sure sugar or sugar like substances are not within the first 5 ingredients of any product you buy.

* Break off your love affair with refined carbohydrates.  You know, the kind that are processed, come in a box or bag, and have a ton of ingredients that you can’t pronounce.  They are high in empty calories and full of chemicals.  Stick with the unprocessed carbohydrates like vegetables (no packaging, no ingredient list, and fresh from the ground), and fruits!  Don’t confuse all carbohydrates as bad – only the ones in packaging are on the Do Not Eat list. Those straight from nature are pure goodness.

* Your body craves healthy fuel.  Eat whole foods in a balance of carbohydrates, lean protein, and good fats.  Remember this important fact:  Fat will not make you fat!  Processed carbohydrates is what makes people fat.  So never skimp on healthy fats, lean protein, and fruits and veggies.

* Maintain your metabolism by eating small portions every 3-4 hours, only eat when you feel hungry, and don’t over fill the gas tank.  Your body can only process so much fuel at a time – eat too much and your body will store the excess as fat. The body is an amazing machine; fuel it properly and you get peak performance in return.  Peak performance includes, refreshing sleep, level energy, alertness, increased concentration ability, and an overall feeling of wellness.

* Look for 100% whole grains instead of refined or enriched grains, and buy sprouted bread.  You must read the label as most manufactures claim whole grain on their label – but, if it doesn’t say 100% whole grain you are eating the less healthy refined grains. Just because a food product says high fiber or whole wheat doesn’t mean it is 100% whole wheat.  Look at the ingredient list; it must start with whole grain, not refined or enriched whole grain.

* Be mindful of sodium content in food – the lower the better!  If you do end up consuming a product such as lunch meat, soup, or breads high in sodium, drink lots of water to help flush it out of your body.  Always choose the lower or no sodium option, and then add sea salt to get a highly absorbable form of valuable minerals.

* Have a Plan B ready.  What if you go somewhere thinking you will make a healthy choice and there isn’t one?  Without a Plan B you will overeat, make an unhealthy choice, and/or be disappointed in your decision.  I’ve learned through the years that having a Plan B helps keep me on track and focused on what’s important.

* Prepare your meals ahead of time.  Make the process of choosing healthy food simple.  Be a food carrier.  I take my cooler of food everywhere!  Bulk cook and freeze meals so you are never without a healthy choice.  Heat them up on the stove or in a toaster oven. Cut up veggies and store in snack pack bags.  Portion out nuts, seeds and meat.  Keep plenty of fresh fruit handy to grab as you go.

* No fried foods!  If you really want something fried, make it an occasional exception, not the rule.

* A salad is an excellent choice until you add croutons, fried chicken, and lots of salad dressing.  Instead try adding tuna, grilled chicken, nuts or seeds, or lots of different veggies to make your salad interesting.  Have the dressing on the side and dip your fork in it instead of pouring it all over the salad.

* Meal replacement shakes and bars are not a healthy choice or a better choice.  If you must have one, be sure to check out the ingredients to see if you can pronounce them or even if you know what each one is before you consume it.

So, there you go – a list of 12 items that if you implement one a week will take you through the first 3 months of your healthy lifestyle journey. Adopting one of these tips each week will make a big difference in how you feel, look, and approach life.

Be proud of your willingness to embrace this change!  Don’t forget to approach the process from a point of wanting to – not from a perspective of should or have to.  The beauty is that this change is going to make your life better!  Don’t let the process become complicated, difficult, or painful.  View it as a beautiful journey of self-discovery, transformation, and choice.  Enjoy and trust the journey.

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