Start where you are and proceed step by step toward the goal. Follow these overall guidelines:
- Read the label before buying anything. The best indicators of how highly processed a food is can actually be found in the list of ingredients. If what you are buying contains more than 5 ingredients and includes a lot of unfamiliar, unpronounceable items you should reconsider before buying. Avoid packaged and processed foods - don't buy anything in a box, bag or can.
- Eliminate partially hydrogenated oils and trans fats from your diet. These have no nutritional value and serve no purpose other than to derail your health. Keep in mind that certain products that actual contain trans fat (like the chocolate chip cookie dough you can buy pre-made) can get away with listing 0 grams of trans fat on the label as long as the amount per serving is under 1 gram. Don't be fooled!
- Don't use coupons! Yep, you heard me.... cheap food is usually just that, cheap! When was the last time you saw a coupon for a organic avocado? or for organic eggs or beef? That majority of coupons are distributed for big box manufacturers, like Kraft and Kellogg so you'll often be forced into buying boxed, packaged and highly processed food thinking you're saving money. Just don't! Instead buy from local farmers or in bulk and you still save money and avoid those "deals" that are detrimental to your health. If you do happen to find the rare coupon for whole foods, by all means use them!
- Avoid eating at fast food restaurants. Instead plan ahead and bring a home-cooked meal or healthy whole food snack with you. Learn to cook at home with real whole food ingredients. If you really want to be in optimal shape and your best health in 2015, there is just no getting around the fact that you must learn to prepare food at home.
- Dump the sugar and high starchy foods (crackers, potatoes, rice, scones, cookies, etc.). Sugar is the most inflammatory thing that we consume and most of us consume far too much. Recent studies showed sugar addiction to be a more powerful stimulator of dopamine reward pathways than cocaine! While it's hard at first, going through a sugar detox will free you from the need to eat every hour or two to keep blood sugar stable and will give you mastery and control over your food choices since you're not following cravings.
- Use healthy low-glycemic fruits to satisfy sweet cravings. You can make some delicious desserts in a healthy way to satisfy a sweet craving. Some of your best options are fresh or frozen organic berries, green apples, or a fresh fig. Try my delicious recipes for Chocolate Avocado Pudding and No Bake Vitality Treats if you need a start...
- Eat 4-5 servings of non-starchy vegetables daily. Best bets are cruciferous vegetables, like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and leafy greens. If you don't like them steamed, broiled or raw, try a green smoothie drink with lots of spinach or kale - it's delicious! Here's a great Green Smoothie you might enjoy. Be sure to add fiber, too, like chia seed, psyllium or flax to your meals, smoothies, veggies. Fiber is filling, good for healthy bowel function and aids in producing short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) to feed your good bacteria.
- “Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself, ” to quote Michael Pollan. If you have to peel, chop and deep fry potatoes every time you wanted French fries then you might not eat them very often. Eating “junk food” such as cakes, sweets, and fried foods only as often as you are willing to make them yourself will automatically reduce your consumption.