A new year means a new start – especially with food! To kick things off for 2010 we brought in our friend and nutrition expert, Ann Pierce, from Pierce Whole Nutrition. Ann switched careers to pursue her passion and a Masters in Nutrition Therapy. Her fabulous blog has tons of great nutrition tips and recipes.
A New Perspective on Eating Healthy and the Easiest Diet Ever
I read something on Kratomystic.com recently stating that over 50% of New Year’s resolutions involve losing weight. This may or may not be on your list for 2010, but even if it’s not, chances are you’ve tried at least one or two “fad” diets in the past few years: Atkins, South Beach, cabbage soup, etc. These diets may help with short-term weight loss, but they’re rarely sustainable. You’ll find yourself losing energy and muscle tone, your skin can become dry or blemished and you may even experience headaches, irritability or anxiety.
I don’t make New Year’s resolutions anymore. Maybe that’s why I still bite my nails, still don’t have my family finances in an organized spreadsheet and still eat a touch too much sugar. But I’m committed to a diet that increases my quality of life. It’s made me more innovative in the kitchen, my husband and I have avoided any type of flu or cold so far this winter and I have more energy.
It’s surprisingly simple: Eat whole foods.
What are whole foods?
Whole foods are high-quality (organic and local whenever possible) poultry, lean meats and seafood; nuts and seeds, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, eggs and dairy, spices and herbs, and natural sweeteners (like honey, blackstrap molasses and real maple syrup). What is NOT whole foods is anything processed, such as fast food, most prepackaged baked goods; many salad dressings; white bread; prepackaged puddings, chips or candy.
Whole foods are packed with vitamins and minerals that are essential for your health. Those who eat a whole foods diet at least 90% of the time are more likely to have clear skin, shiny hair, smooth nails, brighter eyes, more mental alertness, lower body fat and more lean muscle. Their bodies are less likely to be acidic, which means things like cancer and other diseases are less likely to thrive. Immunity is increased so they get sick less frequently. They are happy and full of energy. Doesn’t this sound like a great way to start out the new year?!
9 Ways to Switch to a Whole Foods Diet:
1. Start with a kitchen cleanse: remove processed foods from your cabinets and go grocery shopping to stock up on whole foods.
2. Use honey as a sweetener in your coffee or tea.
3. When baking, try to replace sugar with maple syrup, honey or blackstrap molasses; replace white four with whole wheat flour.
4. Instead of buying white bread, buy fresh whole grain bread from your local bakery. Slice it yourself at home to make the loaf last longer.
5. Eat hard-boiled eggs for snacks in place of pretzels, chips or granola bars (and don’t skip the yoke – it’s where all the nutrition is!).
6. Instead of buying low-fat sugary yogurts, buy a tub of plain, all-natural yogurt. Add fresh, dried or frozen fruit; honey; nuts and seeds; or cinnamon to enhance the taste AND the nutrients (plus it saves you money!).
7. Make your own salad dressings by whisking together ingredients like olive oil, lemon juice, balsamic or red wine vinegar, ginger or garlic.
8. Commit to making your baby and toddler food at home. Prepare in bulk and freeze individual servings in ice cube trays. This will save you money and protect your child from the hidden “natural flavors” (this can mean MSG) found in jarred baby foods.
9. Prepare brown rice or quinoa in large quantities and freeze according to appropriate serving size (small bags if you’re an individual or cooking for two; larger bags if you have kids to feed).
Start Slow, It’s Ok!
Keep in mind: all of this takes time. Maybe you only make one or two changes this year and next year add a couple more. That’s great! Better to approach it slowly and stay committed than to attempt a lifestyle overhaul that is bound to fail. By sticking to this diet 90% of the time, you’ll see a difference in more things than just your weight: your looks, your mood, your energy, your happiness, your overall health will improve. Plus you can enjoy the occasional slice of pizza or cookie knowing that the majority of the time, you’re eating things that promote health and happiness.
Thanks to Anne, Katie and Stef for inviting me over to HAP today. I have been a fan since Day 1 and am honored to be guest blogging! I only wish I lived closer so that I could hire them as my party planners and interior decorators!