A healthy lifestyle is definitely a transition. I was what you would call a fast-food, standard-American-diet, ate-whatever-tasted-good, type of person when it came to eating. It was simple—I ate what I enjoyed, and I still do that today. But the foods I enjoy have changed and the way I fit these healthy, delicious foods into my diet to get the most health benefits has changed, too!
When I shifted my eating patterns, the foods I enjoyed changed as well. I found that my transition to a healthier lifestyle was like a scavenger hunt. Once I discovered one clue about healthy eating, it led me to more people with information that has helped mold my current healthy lifestyle.
My transition started by adding more healthy foods to my diet. I began planning and cooking more meals, and I reduced the amounts of processed foods I used. Next thing I knew, most of my meals contained vegetables, organic and lean meats, and whole grains. I now eat primarily a whole food diet.
It wasn’t easy; however, over time, eating healthy just became part of who I am. So to help you to make your transition to a healthier diet, here are three small tips for healthier eating that have made a major impact on my overall health:
Tip #1: Soak Your Nuts, Seeds, and Beans
Beans, nuts, and seeds are full of nutrients, and you definitely want them to be part of your diet. People will snack on almonds, pumpkin seeds, and cashews, and while they make delicious and healthy snacks, soaking them overnight actually adds to their health benefits.
Nuts, seeds, beans, and even grains contain toxic substances in their coating, or their outer layer. The coating is known to protect against bacteria, fungi, or viruses. It allows the healthy foods to be stored for a long time, and soaking unlocks important nutrients and enzymes. It is always best to use a ceramic or glass bowl, and avoid metal or plastic. Purified water from a reverse osmosis filter or spring water is best for soaking.
Tip #2: Grind Your Flaxseeds
You may have started adding whole flaxseeds to salads because you heard about the health benefits of these tiny seeds—they contain 3.5 grams of the polyunsaturated fat omega-3 fatty acids and 5.4 grams of fiber in just two teaspoons!
I used to buy ground flaxseeds that I would add to my morning smoothie, but I soon found out that I was actually better off grinding them myself! It takes only five seconds to grind the seeds, yet freshly ground flaxseed is digested better than whole flaxseeds, and they retain more nutrition. Pre-ground flaxseeds are known to contain lower amounts of omega-3 and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). The polyunsaturated fats break down from the longer oxygen exposure and heat, and the flavor can become rancid. You won’t break the bank grinding your flaxseeds, either. A coffee grinder will only set you back about $10.00 to $15.00 at a department store. Trust me, the health benefits are well worth it!
Tip #3: Switch from Cow’s Milk to Almond Milk
When you cut processed foods from your diet, you may think that milk doesn’t count as a processed item. However, cow’s milk is loaded with antibiotics and growth hormones. Even organic milk may cause sensitivity reactions, such as gas or bloating, in most people. When I was tested for food sensitivities, I was surprised when I reacted to dairy and milk. Two foods I ate every day for more than 26 years actually caused harm to my body. So I had to substitute my daily dairy products with a healthier alternative that would allow my body to get only the best health benefits from my diet. That’s when I turned to almond milk.
Does your morning routine include cereal? Almond milk is considered an adequate replacement. It is still a processed food; however, you avoid the chemicals contained in cow’s milk. The next healthy transition is learning to make your almond milk yourself.
Another helpful tip: eight 8-oz. glasses of water should be your goal. Water is essential for digestion and preventing many degenerative diseases. I have a 22-oz. glass water bottle that I fill up four times daily.
These healthy diet tips have worked for me, so I stand by them. Give them a try. You might find that they work for you in your healthy eating transition as well.
Sources for Today’s Article:
“The Hidden Dangers in Your Whole Grains, Beans, Nuts and Seeds?” Health Beyond Hype web site; http://www.healthbeyondhype.com/the-hidden-dangers-in-your-whole-grains-beans-nuts-and-seeds-ezp-138.html, last accessed November 18, 2014.
“Q: Are store-bought pre-ground flaxseeds as nutritionally effective as buying whole seeds and grinding yourself?” Eating Well web site; http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/nutrition_news_information/are_store_bought_pre_ground_flaxseeds_as_nutritionally_e, last accessed November 18, 2014.