Happy almost New Year! If your Christmas Season was like ours, it was very busy, but awesome. Lots of time spent with family and friends. Small splurges ‘here and there.’ I do believe in splurges at times, but it’s time for us to get even more serious about our already serious dietary changes. David’s actually been more hardcore lately–we know that the most likely time period for his cancer to return is between 3-5 years. We are approaching 3 years and so I think we’re both making sure that we are doing everything we can to support his health. Cancer or not, I feel that the dietary changes we’ve made since David got sick are life changing. I WILL NEVER GO BACK. PERIOD. I feel so much better and what we eat now tastes better too! In the classes I’ve taught over the past few years, many people have come up to me, very overwhelmed by all of the information shared, and asked where they should start. This post is dedicated to YOU! Anyone who has ever wondered where to start a healthier lifestyle. Many people have shared with me that they are scared their kids will ‘revolt’ if the family ‘diet’ changes drastically. Small steps. Baby steps. Any change in the right direction is a great starting point! This is the first of many ‘doable’ posts. Ideas and suggestions that everyone can implement. Here are 5 ways to thrive in 2015!
1. Skip the SUGAR!
I learned shortly after David got sick that sugar ‘feeds’ cancer-especially brain cancer. Did you know that PET scans are tests where a radioactive ‘sugar substance’ is injected into a person’s body and the ‘areas of concerns’ are those areas where the cancer cells gobble it up? I know this is not scientific..but it’s the easiest way for me to explain/makes sense of it. Sugar also feeds a HOST of other health issues. Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, so much more…Sugar is addictive. We do not use any form of ‘processed sugar.’ We do use organic raw honey or Stevia. Those are two acceptable sweeteners that I’m okay with. We used agave nectar for a while, but the research is so mixed–we just use honey now. Before cancer David was a sugarholic. He could eat dessert faster than anyone you’ve ever seen. Eating a refined sugar free diet is the BIGGEST change we’ve made overall. Sugar is in EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING has sugar. Point made? Candy is a huge problem. Not only is it filled with sugar, it also has a TON of artificial flavors, dyes, and preservatives. These ingredients are harmful for all of our bodies, but especially harmful for children. Check out this package: Basically sugar, sugar, and tons of food coloring. Another huge problem with candy and sugar is that when we eat ‘junk’ food, we are filling our bodies with JUNK. If you get full on candy, then you won’t have any room or appetite for nutritious food.
Here are a few quick, easy, and healthy snack ideas for 2015:
- Green drinks (see Wells’ picture above)! Here’s my recipe! More to come!
- Fresh fruit/veggies.
- Almond meal cookies! Or Almond butter balls!
- Dried apple chips (see above)! Organic! $2.29 at TJ Maxx or HomeGoods!
2. Opt for Organics!
Did you know that Trader Joe’s organic baby spinach is the SAME PRICE as the conventional (non-organic) baby spinach? Same size package. $1.99 each. That’s a no-brainer. This Whole Foods yogurt (that Wells enjoys with a little bit of organic raw honey) is $2.99. Fruits/veggies/dairy products can be laden with GMOs, pesticide residue, and other artificial stuff. The only way to make sure you are not buying GMO food items is to go Organic or look for the “Non-GMO project certified” label. Check out this list below. The DIRTY dozen includes items that are MOST important to purchase organic. The CLEAN 15 includes items that have less pesticide residue. CORN is a MAJOR GMO crop, please purchase ORGANIC corn AND organic products with corn by-products. When we began changing our diet, I took a printed copy of this list with me to the store (or snapped a photo of it with my iphone). I always had it with me incase I forgot. Now I purchase as much organic as possible. If the item I’m purchasing is on the Clean 15 and it’s expensive, I do weigh the cost difference. If it’s not significant, I go organic!
3. Look at Labels!
If you aren’t someone who typically reads labels when shopping, it’s very important to begin to do so! We eat as much ‘whole food’ as possible…meaning that we eat little processed food. Of course I’m going to allow Wells to have some snacks, but I do purchase Annie’s organic snacks, instead of conventional brands. Ex: they have organic cheese bunnies and he eats those instead of goldfish. If you are shopping at Whole Foods, Earth Fare, or Rosewood Market, you are guaranteed food items that are free from artificial preservatives, flavors, and colors. If you’re shopping at a conventional grocery store, you’re going to need to really watch your labels. Here are a few examples:
Bad: The front of the Capri Sun box reads: “No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.” High fructose corn syrup (a highly processed form of sugar) is the 2nd ingredient! Probably made with GMO corn. That’s a highly processed form of corn and is not something I want anyone in my house to drink. As a special treat we buy Honest Kids juices. Here’s their box.
Better: Honest Kids Drinks-Organic, 50% less sugar, and no high fructose corn syrup. Ahhh. Much better.
Bad: Pringles- Check out that list of ingredients. They are tasty and cheap, but is it worth it? I think not.
Better: Terra Chips-made from real vegetables. These are not organic, but most are non GMO project certified!
Bad: Conventional Microwave Popcorn. GMO corn, artificial ingredients. Preservatives. Better: Make your own! Buy Organic corn kernels! Heat 1/4 cup kernels in a brown paper bag in the microwave for approx. 2 minutes. Pour in olive oil, coconut oil, or grapeseed oil. Sprinkle with salt. Serve! Affordable, healthy, and delicious!
4. Moooooooooove toward Heathier Meat!
Want 100 reasons? Watch Food Matters-that will do it for you! I only purchase meat at Whole Foods or Earth Fare. Scared of what it will do to your grocery bill? Check out my posts on how to save money at Earth Fare and Whole Foods! I usually buy meat at Earth Fare when it’s only sale. I stock up. I buy 6+ lbs of chicken when it’s less than $3 per pound. I individually bag it and freeze it. I always have it when we need it and I bought it at the best price. I do the same thing with steak, salmon, and crab cakes. They run specials ALL of the time on their meat. You do not want to get ‘stuck’ without meat when you need it…if you have to go buy it and it’s not on sale, it will be more expensive than conventional meat. I LOVE the strict standards that these stores have for the meat they sell. No antibiotics, hormones, etc…and they value animal welfare! As for red meat, we only eat grass fed red meat. Note: Bison is delicious and all bison is grass fed.
5. Educate, Eat, Enjoy!
Don’t be scared to watch some documentaries that outline problems with our food supply. They are convicting and EXTREMELY informative. Fed Up and Food Matters and two of my favorites! Also, as I’ve shared before, one of my favorite reads is:
I wish, wish, wish that I knew then what I know now. I honestly wish that I could rewind time and begin the healthy habits we have now years ago. I am convinced that making healthy dietary choices has a huge impact on health.
Prayers that this post might encourage you to make 2015 your healthiest year yet. I have so many recipes I need to post. I will be posting much more often in 2015. That’s my commitment to you-I am very passionate about the information I’ve learned and love teaching others. Have you made any resolutions to be healthier in 2015? If so, please share below! If you implement any of my 5 ways to thrive in 2015, I’d love to hear how it’s going!