1. Beginner’s Tip: Eat more veggies. Easiest tip of all is to incorporate more vegetables into your meals. It’s extremely easy to add spinach or kale to a smoothie. I also add a raw carrot to mine, and no you can’t taste any of these because the frozen fruit masks the taste. Find my smoothie recipes here. If you’re making spaghetti, add zucchini, carrots, peppers, and/or broccoli to your sauce.
2. Eat more FAT. Yes, I said it…fat is good for you. And FINALLY, conventional medicine is catching up and realizing the truth behind fat. What fats do I recommend? Well, the ones you were probably told to avoid….fats that are in real butter, coconut oil, ghee, grapeseed oil, avocado, nuts, 100% grass fed beef, and the list goes on. I could write a book on all the reasons fat is good for you, but I’ll try to just focus on a few. For example, fat is essential for your brain health. Your brain is mainly made of fat and cholesterol. Though many people are now familiar with the importance of the highly unsaturated essential fatty acids found in cold-water fish (EPA and DHA) for normal brain and nerve function, the fatty acids in the brain are actually saturated. A diet that skimps on healthy saturated fats robs your brain of the raw materials it needs to function optimally. Fat is important for:
- proper brain/nerve functioning
- insulation and energy storage
- protection for our organs
- absorption of Vitamins D, E, A, and K
- hormone regulation
The war on fat has been going on for at a least a decade now. Thank goodness, the fat-free craze is not as popular as it used to be. I used to fall into the fat-free trap, buying fat-free salad dressing, fat-free yogurt, fat-free everything. And you know what? I was heavier and sicker then than I am now, and I’m eating a lot more fat these days. Eating fat does NOT make you fat. Eating sugar & processed food makes you fat. And you know food companies have to replace those “fat-free” products with something else to make it taste okay. They replace the fat with sugar, which is so much worse for your health. Want to read more about how fat is good for you. I love this article by Chris Kresser, “The Diet-Heart Myth: Cholesterol and Saturated Fat Are Not the Enemy.”
3. Cut out the junk. What do I mean by junk? Processed food. As much as possible, try to stop or limit what you eat out of a box. Food companies add an insane amount of chemicals, preservatives, additives, and even sugar to their products. The easiest way to cut out the junk is to eat real food. This means eating foods that are as close to nature as possible. For example, instead of applesauce out of a container, eat an apple. If you must eat something out of a box or wrapper, try to limit the number of ingredients to 5 or less. It’s harder than you think if you’re not used to eating that way. That’s why it’s easier for me to just shop the perimeter of the grocery store (better yet, a farmer’s market) and buy fresh foods.
4. Avoid GMOs like the plague. There are many genetically modified crops, but the 4 main ones are: corn, cotton, canola, and soy. If you use/consume these 4 crops in any way, buy organic. GMOs are linked to infertility, food allergies, cancer, birth defects, and the list goes on. Go to www.GeneticRoulette.com for a full presentation. Here is a teaser of what you’ll find:
- The only human feeding study on GMOs ever conducted showed that genes “jumped” from GM soy into the DNA of human intestinal bacteria and continued to function. That means that long after you stop eating GM soy, you may still have GM proteins produced continuously inside of you. (What if the pesticide-producing “Bt” gene found in GM corn chips were also to jump? It might transform our intestinal flora into living pesticide factories—possibly for the long term.)
- Most offspring of mother rats fed GM soy died within three weeks (compared to a 10 percent death rate in the non-GM soy group). Similarly, when a lab switched to rat feed with GM soy, most of the offspring at the facility died within two weeks.
- Studies with mice also show reproductive problems. Mice fed GM soy had altered sperm cells and the DNA of their embryos acted differently.
- Hundreds of farm workers complain of allergic reactions when touching GM cotton.
- After sheep grazed on GM cotton plants after harvest, about one in four died; about 10,000 deaths in one region in India.
- Farmers on three continents say their livestock became sterile, sick or died, after eating GM corn varieties.
If you want to read more about GMOs & how they’re destroying your health, read my post on it here.
5. Find out your food sensitivities. Trying to lose weight, but it’s just not happening? Or do you have headaches frequently, digestive issues, IBS, or just tired all the time? Hidden food sensitivities could be the reason why you’re not shedding those pounds that you’re working so diligently to lose, and they could be the reason for your symptoms. Identifying food sensitivities is key to feeling better, and I truly believe you’ll see just how good your body was designed to feel if you avoid foods that you’re sensitive to. I offer skype/phone consultations if you need help in identifying your food sensitivities. I’ve seen first hand clients of mine not only lose weight, but their pain went away, their asthma went away, and their energy was back when they identified the food triggers. So just because a food seems “healthy” doesn’t mean it’s healthy for your body. That’s why I don’t believe in a one size fits all diet (technically, I hate the word diet anyway Every one of us reacts differently to food or environmental triggers, and we all have a different make up; therefore, what works for one person may not work for someone else so I like to work with people on a individualized plan.
Giving you just 5 health tips was hard. I think I could go on forever when talking about health and nutrition. If you need extra help with your health and nutrition goals in the new year, I would love to be your personal Dietitian. If you don’t live in the Nashville, TN area, we can work together via phone, email, or skype.
Most importantly in the new year, I want to encourage you to stay positive about your health. Whether you’re trying to lose weight or heal your own body from chronic pain, it’s essential that you focus your mind on positive things. “Beliefs have the power to create and the power to destroy. Human beings have the awesome ability to take any experience of their lives and create a meaning that disempowers them or one that can literally save their lives.” -Anthony Robbins
Happy New Year to you! May 2014 be your best year yet.
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, CLC