Five Amazing Ways to Eat Healthy
Everyone loves to eat and always has, ever since the first caveman roasted a chicken leg and said "ugga ugga, wow." Stories of feasting and dietary merriment have echoed down through ages, the tales of happily filled bellies resounding through histories and adventures. Eating is also ingrained our modern American culture, getting a McBurger and a gallon of Coca-cola as American as bald eagles and baseball. TV ads show glowing models simperingly eating fried chicken or men doing manly things while casually pulling a craft beer from their back pocket. Many family gatherings are filled with granny's home-cooked chocolate cake, mountains of fried foods, and that TV commercial voice in your head telling you you deserve it.
What that TV voice doesn't tell you is that all those foods are silently killing our nation. Fried chicken clogs your arteries, all those craft beers cause deadly scarring on your liver (cirrhosis), and granny's home-cooked chocolate cake comes with an extra large side of diabetes. In short, our food choices are killing us as surely as anything can, corroding our bodies like rust on iron. Unlike the ancient heroes in stories, we won't fall in battle. Our tombstones will read "here lies Joe Bob the American; died because he couldn't put the soda down."
Many have already decided they don't want to share in this fate. Some have decided to take a peek into the world of nutrition and try to find their way out. Those brave souls are blasted out of their chairs by mountains of conflicting arguments and noise, rivaling even that time your cousin Kyle decided to start his own death metal band. Like Kyle's band, these arguments cause nothing but confusion and pain. Buzz phrases like "it's just about calories in versus calories out" or "just don't eat fatty foods" or "my momma says gatorade is the devil!" fill the web, making it nearly impossible to figure out how to eat healthy. The worst part is that no one actually cares about eating healthy half as much as they do about being right.
So what can a person do? How can you change your diet and eat healthy?
Here are five simple ways to start eating healthy:
Eat real food.
Eat food that is going to fill you up and make you feel good. Healthy foods are whole foods. This means honest fruits, meats, and vegetables that come out of an animal or God's green earth. If you are eating foods that come from a drive through, are preserved with chemicals, or resemble an alien in suspended animation you are on the wrong. Shopping should be planned like a hunting trip. When you go to the grocery store you should channel your inner cave man, repeating the mantra "Cave man want veggies, fruit, and fresh meat; he hates nasty food with ingredients he can't read."
Throw processed sugar in the river with all that British tea.
Processed sugar is bad for you. It is an addictive substance that can cause dangerous inflammation throughout your body, insulin resistance, depression, and kill off all your healthy gut bacteria. Protect your gut bacteria people! It is also a prime source of diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and all kinds of other diseases. If you are trying to lose weight or lower your blood pressure, dropping the processed sugar is a must! Sugars in your diet should be taken from natural sources like fruit, honey, or agave. Those types of sugar are good for you. So if you want to eat something sweet, pick up some fruit; it's less likely to kill you!
For the love of all that is holy, stop frying your food!
People fry everything these days. It doesn't stop at chicken either; people fry ice cream, they fry potatoes, they fry broccoli. I have even seen people fry ribs!(is nothing sacred!?) There are many reasons why this isn't healthy. The main reason is the oil. Fry oil is like a caloric bomb that goes straight to all those curves you don't want to keep. Its pure fat; not 'healthy fat' but the 'clogs your arteries and strangles your heart' fat. Eating fried food will undo just about any good things you might be doing for your health. If you are exercising and still eating fried foods you are wasting your time. You cannot exercise your way out of a bad diet. Instead of frying foods either bake or air fry them. Don't use excessive oil and be careful about which ones you use. Oils like coconut or olive oil are good in moderation.
Take time off.
You take time off work right? Why not take time off eating? This doesn't mean starving yourself like Ghandi or allowing yourself to wither down to a shriveled husk. This means INTERMITTENT fasting. This involves fasting for 16-48 hours at a time, eating nothing and drinking only coffee, tea, or broth. Sound extreme? It's not as crazy as it sounds. A 16 hour fast sounds crazy until you realize that you already do 8-12 hour fasts every day! Typically people eat in the evening sometime around 8pm, sleep, then eat in the morning some time around 6am. That's a 10 hour fast! All a 16 hour fast would take was skipping breakfast in the morning or skipping dinner in the evening. It also has huge health and weight loss benefits. According Dr. Jason Fung, author of The Obesity Code and The Complete Guide to Fasting, fasting can aid in lowering blood glucose, blood pressure, and risk for diseases like cancer. Intermittent fasting can also help boost your metabolism and aid in weight loss. As your fasts get longer your will need to make sure you drink broth, as it helps your body maintain vital levels of salt and minerals. Keep in mind, starting small is the key to doing well. Don't start with 48 hours. Start small and work big. Consult with a medical provider before you try any fasts over 48 hours.
Prepare for the long haul adventure, not the short lived party.
There are thousands of famous saying about perseverance, sayings like "the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" or "Rome wasn't built in a day" or "its over, Anakin, I have the high ground!"(not applicable but still good). You need perseverance on this journey. Changing your life is hard work. It isn't easy and it won't come immediately. Your body is like that cantankerous old lady at the grocery store; it hates it when you ask for change.
You also need to stick to the changes you make. It will take at least 2 weeks to a month for your diet to cause a noticeable difference. You need to wait at least that long to make changes or adjustments. Also start with SMALL changes! Don't be tempted by Sylvester Stallone's workout montage in Rocky II. Changing one small thing and sticking with it is how you change your life. Your body is like a fire; you add tinder before you add the logs. Pouring gasoline on the fire just causes an explosion followed by your wife yelling at you.
And thats it! Stick with those five steps and you will be on your way.
As you grow more accustomed to eating healthy you will continue to learn and develop your own personalized routine. You may want to be jacked like Schwarzenegger. You may want to be swimsuit model. You may just want to wake up in the morning and feel good for a change. It all starts with the foundation of a healthy diet. Stick to the basics and you will make those dreams come true.
A closing word about money.
You can eat healthy for cheap. A lot of people talk themselves out of taking control of their health by convincing themselves its too expensive. Stop it. It's not true. If your strategy is to eat only filet mignon and black truffles then obviously that is not cheap. However, most vegetables are cheap. Chicken breasts and brown rice are cheap. Apples and sweet potatoes are cheap. A low budget isn't an excuse to let yourself go. Take some time to look around and you will find affordable stuff. This is going to take effort and work. All you need to do is want it.