Thursday, February 4, 2010

I Want to Eat Healthy, Where Do I Start??

Changing from the typical American way of eating to eating whole foods is a very long journey.  We have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go!  It's not something that should be done all at once because that would be too difficult!  I have come up with a list of realistic ways to begin a whole foods journey, and I will follow up with what to do next.  I remember reading a list like this once and thinking that I would never get there... but it's not as difficult as you think, over time!

I wrote a blog many months ago sharing information on Whole Foods Nutrition, but I didn't explain where to start, so that information will be covered here!

The MOST important way to eat healthy is to completely cut out processed foods.  Homemade everything is best because of the fact that processed foods contain so many harmful ingredients.  The first step in this process is to learn to read labels.  If there's a bunch of things in the "food" that you cannot pronounce, run!  What you eat should not have a lot of ingredients.  Some changes to begin with are (I'll try to keep it simple!):
  • Cut out High Fructose Corn Syrup:  this is found in most processed foods... breads, crackers, ketchup, canned foods, all "junk" foods, sodas, ice creams, even some "juices."  Even plain old white table sugar is a better alternative (although, eventually, making a switch to natural sweeteners). 
  • Cut out artificial sweeteners!  The FDA has 92 noted symptoms from aspartame.  It has been known to cause many health issues that when cut out, those health issues disappear.  
  • Switch to whole grain products.  If the label says enriched flour, that is highly processed and should be avoided.  There is NO nutritional value whatsoever to refined flour.  Some sources are whole wheat breads and cereals, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, oats, etc.  
  • Cut out margarine, and any other trans fats (look for hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil in the ingredients).  The best ways to get fat are through butter, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, milk, meats, etc (a WHOLE foods source- meaning nothing has been added or taken away).
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables... raw if possible.  Focus more on vegetables because they don't have sugar.
  • When eating meat and chicken, and drinking milk, look for hormone and/or antibiotic free.  Whole milk is actually best because it is a whole food. 
  • Drink more water!  This was a hard one for me... I'm finally at a place now in which my body craves water, but it has taken a long time.
  • Cut down on commercially fried foods.  These contain trans fat!
Some easy ways to make the switch to eating more homemade foods:
  • Get a crock pot!  One of the easiest ways to make a meal is to throw the ingredients in a crockpot, turn it on, and walk away!  
  • Buy simple foods.  Whole wheat pastas, whole grain cereals, rice, beans, eggs, oatmeal, grits, etc.  
  • Learn to make one new meal, fix it once a week for a while, then try a new one.  You don't have to do it all at once. 
  • Cooking meals does not have to be complicated... it just takes practice :). 
Stay tuned for a list of easy meals...


The Man Crew said...

Courtney, great info! Thanks for many people are going to benfit from your wisdom! These are all easy applicable steps that even the busiest of people can use. I'll be waiting for the next installment!

McCoys said...

Thank you, thank you! This is perfect, i've been looking for an easy beginning of this! Already started some of these, can't wait for more!

DaintyDecker said...

Courtney I am so glad that you posted this! I am just starting this journey into eating healthier. This is a great list for me! I can't wait for what's next!