Everyday we are surrounded by assaults from media messages that lead to confusion when it comes to choosing foods that are healthy for ourselves and for our family. Everywhere we look the media and agribusiness are pulling on our strings. From highway billboards, to product packages, misleading and often flat out false health claims are being made. Who do you trust? How can you tell who is honest? How do you tell the good stuff from the bad stuff?
Truthfully, if you want to simplify your life, the best way is to never eat packaged food. (Wow, that feels drastic, doesn’t it?!) It is possible to eliminate prepackaged, prepared foods from our shopping carts, but it feels uncomfortable, and can incorporate a whole lot of priority jumbling when you are trying to do this on your own. What do you cook? What goes best with what? Further, HOW do you cook it!?
Whole foods supply what we need to live dynamic, energetic, healthy lives. At one point in time, not long ago, whole foods were all we had. Until the 1940’s, people existed without prepackaged, instant dinners and were much healthier for it. (Ask your grandma!) Foods that come directly from nature are packed with vitamins, fiber, phyto-chemicals, and antioxidants. Many are easy to prepare, most are completely portable, and with a bit of practice, they can quickly become practical too! Still, it can be overwhelming to eliminate packaged foods, so suddenly, from your diet. In the real world, change takes time.
Here are some tips to help you begin to bring whole natural foods to your table:
*Try to find recipes that call for whole foods such as grains, vegetables, fruits and legumes of any kind.
*Opt for recipes with 5 or fewer ingredients, which will simplify preparation.
*Choose a diverse range of colors when you are shopping for whole foods, this includes legumes and grains!
*If you are feeling tight on time, opt to serve raw foods. Raw foods have much needed enzymes that assist our bodies in assimilating the nutrients in the foods we eat! This is like adding extra points in the game of life! Tip: Chop fresh veggies such as broccoli, carrots, radish, cauliflower, jicama, and endive. Serve with sweet pepper hummus. This is a very nutritious meal and is fun for kids to eat!
* If you are opting for packaged foods, (It’s okay, we all do this sometimes.)
Read the labels carefully. I always suggest to my clients to look at the ingredients before you look at anything else.
Do not buy what you don’t know.
*Ask yourself, is this food going to nourish me?
*Avoid sucralose, saccharin, high fructose corn syrup, and aspartame.
*Do not consume hydrogenated oils of any type (these are trans fats and it is legal for a manufacturer to put .5 grams of hydrogenated oil per serving in a product and state 0% trans fats!)
Over all, including more whole foods in your diet, reducing processed foods, you will find a dynamic effect in your health and the health of your family. Being knowledgeable about what is healthful and what is not feels complicated these days. Following these simple tips will help you to become a more educated consumer.
Tammi Hoerner is a board certified Holistic Health Coach, who specializes in helping busy moms and professional women find their way back to their healthiest and happiest selves, one step at a time. Tammi is President of New Beginnings Health & Wellness and Director of The Nourished Life.
To learn more about Tammi and her coaching program visit: http://tammi-hoerner.healthcoach.integrativenutrition.com/