Baby steps to better health
I often get the impression that some people get very overwhelmed when faced with the idea of changing their eating habits. They are keen to try something new (because what they are currently doing is not working for them), but they just never actually get started. Besides, which diet does one follow ….. and what are the rules of each game? The thing is, you won’t know what is going to work best for you in terms of health and weight loss until you get going and try. So I want to give some idea of the baby steps you can take to move you closer towards better health, and a flatter tummy. Once you have the basics established, it will be much easier to take further steps as your knowledge grows, and you come to a better understanding about your own body and what food it needs to thrive.
The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are. – John Pierpont Morgan
Baby steps to better health
These seed oils come from genetically modified seeds, and the oils have been extracted using very high temperatures, chemicals, solvents and heavy metals. There is nothing natural or healthy about them. They are extremely toxic and damaging to your health . Rather use extra virgin olive oil for pouring over salads and cook with fats such as butter, lard, duck fat and coconut oil.
Stop consuming artificial sweeteners
Again, they are toxic and unnatural and do more harm than good. They also increase your appetite which is not helpful if you are trying to lose weight. A good rule of thumb – try not to put anything artificial into your body. So avoid diet drinks and rather drink water or home-made iced tea. If you need to sweeten drinks and food, rather use xylitol or stevia, which are natural.
Switch to dark chocolate
Who wants to ever give up chocolate, right? But it can help to make the best choice available. Regular milk chocolate is actually much higher in sugar than a good quality dark chocolate. We all know that sugar is not good for you, so the less of it you have the better. It might take your tastebuds some time to adjust to the reduced level of sweetness, but then you will soon be enjoying the delicious flavour of 85 % dark chocolate (where a little goes a long way).
Avoid low-fat products
Low-fat or fat-free products are often full of sugars, which can really be counter-productive if one is trying to lose weight. When food manufacturers take out the fat, they replace it with sugars or artificial sweeteners to make the product more palatable. Remember, it is sugar that makes us fat. Fat does not make us fat. Our brain and our body actually desperately needs healthy fats to function optimally. Also, fat is the single most satisfying food on this planet. Therefore, if your body can handle dairy, always opt for full cream dairy in the form of milk, plain yoghurt, cheese, cream and butter.
Cut back on starchy foods
Even though this is one of the steps that people battle with the most, it is the one that has the most impact on your health and weight. Starchy food is the reason why many people are overweight. They are consuming more carbohydrates than their bodies can actually use for fuel, so the excess gets shunted into their fat cells and stored as fat. High carb foods such as potatoes, rice, bread, pasta, pap and pizza, leave you hungry a few short hours later, due to how they spike your blood sugar and insulin. If you cut out foods made from flour, you will also give your body a much deserved break from gluten. Gluten is pretty toxic and inflames our bodies causing all sorts of ailments such as headaches, joint pain, skin rashes, mood disorders and tummy bloat. So fill your plate up instead with lots of nutritious salads and vegetables smothered in olive oil and butter, and stay away from the bland beige stuff!
Reduce your fruit intake
Yes, fruit is natural and contains many vitamins and minerals, but it is also packed with sugar. An easy way to reduce your overall sugar consumption is to try and cut back on how much fruit you eat in a day. Making a switch to berries which are lower in sugar, will also help. There is also nothing you can get from fruit, that you cannot get from leafy green vegetables (which don’t contain all that sugar).
Stay away from convenience and fast foods
I understand that convenience foods are “the business” for everyone who has busy lives. The thing is, if you haven’t made it from scratch yourself, can you really trust what goes into it? Start reading the labels on microwave meals and things out of cans, bottles and boxes and you will soon realise that all sorts of nasty things end up in there. Preservatives, seed oils, artificial colours and flavours, gluten and added sugars. Yes, making your own food might take extra time, but it will also taste so much better than anything you can buy ready-made. Buy fresh foods that don’t even need an ingredients label and cook it yourself using healthy fats.
So there you have it. Some basic steps you can take, which are hopefully not too overwhelming to implement and sustain. I wouldn’t be surprised if just making these small changes, makes a huge difference to how you feel in general. When people start sleeping better, or having more energy or experience weight loss or all of the above, it motivates them to keep going and to take further steps to eating better. I hope that person will be you.
Food DOES affect us, and knowledge IS power.