1. Minimize packaged foods and processed sugar.
If a food can last for 10 years on a shelf without spoiling, chances are there is not much nutrition in that food. Whole, healthy foods all have one thing in common: they ROT. That’s right; if you don’t eat them quickly, they decay. The other key thing about the longevity of packaged foods is that they have often been pumped full of chemical additives, preservatives, and flavorings to maintain taste and flavor in the food. These chemicals, color dyes, and flavors have been linked strongly to cancer, hormone disruption and fertility issues, and Alzheimer’s disease. SO…we want MOST of the foods we eat to be whole foods that grow from the ground or that come straight from healthy animals.
2. Minimize eating out.
I cannot stress the importance of this one enough. Restaurant and fast foods are sorely lacking in nutrients and loaded with saturated fat and salt. Even items that appear healthy like salad often are not. Remember the picture I sent all of you a few months ago of the Jason’s Deli salad one client made that looked healthy but turned out to have over 1,000 calories? That is a good example of what I’m talking about. Restaurants usually use the cheapest ingredients possible, then add fat and salt to make them tasty. They also use a lot of flash frozen food, which is nutritionally deficient. Also, restaurants are where we consume most of our alcohol. Alcohol is a weight loss KILLER. Finally, for those of you that have kids and are letting them eat fast food regularly, I would like to make a very important statement. Chick Fil A and Subway are NOT healthy places to eat. They have slick marketing which has made many of us think they use higher quality ingredients or that the food is somehow healthier, but it simply is not. I recommend you and your kids eat out no more than 2 meals a week.
3. When you do consume packaged food….
My guidelines for packaged foods are 8 ingredients or less on the Ingredients List, and every ingredient must be recognizable and pronounceable. If you follow this guideline, you will be eating the healthiest options available among packaged foods.
Also, here are key ingredients you should avoid AT ALL COSTS:
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Blue #1 & #2, Red #3 & #40, Yellow #6 food colorings
BHA or BHT
Propylene Glycol (also known as antifreeze; usually in ice cream and salad dressings)
Here is a link that describes in detail 50 dangerous and common food additives to avoid: http://www.sustainlv.org/focus_on/50-toxic-food-additives/
4. Eat organic when possible.
Organic foods are grown and raised without the use of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides that harm the natural nutrient balance of soils and therefore create nutrient deficient plants. Organically raised animals are not given antibiotics or growth hormones and are allowed to grow at nature’s normal rate and to a normal size. It’s important to understand that in order to be considered organic, animals do not have to graze on grass, they can simply be fed organic vegetarian feed. This is often in the form of cornmeal, which is not the best food for an animal. The best food for cows and other animals we eat is natural grass. Therefore, when you buy meat, you need to look for both organic and grass fed meat. For those of you already thinking about the higher cost of organic food, use the money you will save from eating out minimally and I promise you will still come out ahead financially over eating and drinking out all the time.
5. Eat Superfoods.
Superfoods are foods that occur in nature that have phenomenally high nutrition, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. You should eat superfoods every day.
Here are a few of the most powerful superfoods:
Berries – blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, elderberries, acai berries, goji berries
Raw Nuts – almonds, walnuts
Greens – wheat grass, barley grass, chlorella, spirulina, green leafy vegetables
Coconuts and coconut oil
Raw Cacao (raw chocolate without ANY processing; it is considered the highest antioxidant food in the world)
Royal jelly, bee pollen, and raw honey
Kelp and other seaweeds