Now that spring has officially arrived (even if the temperatures haven’t entirely warmed up yet), it’s time to do some spring cleaning. But I’m not talking about household chores. I’m talking about four eating habits you need to spruce up this spring for a cleaner, healthier diet.
Forming New Eating Habits
As you get ready for all the events, vacations, and get-togethers coming up this summer, many people tend to pay more attention to meeting up with old acquaintances or the numerous pictures that are sure to be taken and we start to get a little weight conscious. So maybe you pledge to work out more or eat a healthy diet, but making these shifts just aren’t as easy as you’d thought; soon you’re back to your old habits. But what’s interesting about habits is that ditching a big habit is hard—eating healthy, for instance—but making tweaks that allow you to shed smaller bad habits tends to be easier. There are four main habits I have tweaked in the past few years. As a result, I have a lot of energy, and I have stopped making the same health goal every year. Let me tell you about my four healthy eating habit changes…
Four Healthy Eating Habits for Spring
Healthy Habit #1: Find Healthy and Delicious Gluten and Wheat Replacements
Gluten gets a bad name, and it should. People often replace white bread with whole-grain, multigrain, or sprouted breads with chia seeds or flaxseed. However, should you eliminate gluten, wheat, and even bread from your diet? The problem is that wheat products contain two gluten proteins—gliadin and glutenin—that trigger inflammation in the body. Many people unknowingly suffer from hidden gluten or wheat sensitivities. Why? They simply don’t know the signs. Gas, bloating, and weight gain are core symptoms when you have an adverse reaction to a food. What are good gluten and wheat replacements? Consider the suggestion I made to my dad the other day: I recommended rice and quinoa pasta to replace his go-to wheat pasta, and he didn’t even notice the difference. Small changes like that can really go a long way towards improving your health. This spring, discover more nutrient-dense non-gluten grains, such as buckwheat, teff, brown rice, wild rice, and amaranth, and add them to your core diet.
Healthy Habit #2: Skip the Dairy Aisle
Dairy may be that best friend you’ve been trusting for years, and yet, you’ve been secretly betrayed. Dairy consumption is part of the standard American diet. The United States Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate recommends three cups of dairy for anyone above nine years old. Understandably, the elimination of dairy may be a hard sell for some people. Dairy products are often promoted for calcium, protein, and probiotics; however, dairy is far from healthy. It is a processed food, and many dairy products contain antibiotics and growth hormones. Dairy consumption is associated with inflammation, bone fractures, gas, bloating, and diarrhea. Even raw and organic dairy can cause problems for people with digestion issues. So what do you have in your cereal instead of milk? Almond milk can help assist you in your transition from cow’s milk. Try to make your own, and avoid unwanted chemicals in processed varieties. Other good calcium sources include spinach, collard greens, sesame seeds, and mustard greens.
Healthy Habit #3: Kick Your Sugar Addiction (Finally!)
It’s no secret that sugar addiction is a health hazard. In fact, the average person consumes his or her own weight in sugar every year! It can even lead to serious health concerns, such as weight gain, candida overgrowth, anxiety, depression, arthritis, diabetes, and cancer. Unfortunately, ending the habit is not that simple. Even the more well-intentioned dieters are addicted to sugar. Sugar still hides in low-calorie cookies, flavored yogurt, vitamin waters, and dried fruit. So how do you make your sugar cravings disappear? You establish solid nutrient-dense eating habits. For instance, I went on the anti-candida diet (a low-sugar, nutrient-dense eating plan) for six months last year, and I didn’t even miss sugar. When I craved something sweet, I would use green stevia leaf powder. It is like the anti-sugar—it is void of calories and it can lower blood sugar levels.
Healthy Habit #4: Replace Your Morning Coffee with Herbal Tea
Many people will not start the day without a cup of joe. According to the 2013 National Coffee Association’s online survey, about 83% of Americans drink nearly three cups of coffee daily. Sure, there are plenty of studies that boast about the benefits of coffee, but there are also negative consequences as well. I haven’t had a coffee in probably three years. Why? It can lead to deficiencies in such key nutrients as vitamin C and many B vitamins, which are important for adrenal function. Caffeine will also mask adrenal fatigue symptoms, so you think you have energy when you really are tired. It is also known to mess with your liver, hormones, and digestive system. What can help with your morning energy boost if you eliminate coffee? I suggest adding energy-boosting herbal teas to replace coffee, such as ginkgo biloba, licorice, ginger, or ginseng.
When you cut gluten, dairy, sugar, and coffee from your diet, you will have greater energy, and it may actually be easier to lose weight. Just by adopting the new four eating habits listed above, your health can improve dramatically, and any goal you make will be easier to obtain as a result.
Sources for Today’s Article:
Henry, D., “Top 4 habits to upgrade in 2015,” Natural News web site, January 2, 2015; http://www.naturalnews.com/048167_dietary_habits_New_Years_resolution_natural_health.html.
“National Coffee Drinking Trends 2013,” National Coffee Association USA web site; http://www.ncausa.org/i4a/pages/Index.cfm?pageID=731, last accessed March 20, 2015.
“Dairy,” USDA ChooseMyPlate.gov web site; http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/dairy.html, last accessed March 20, 2015.