Here's the good news. You don't have to leap into this journey with both feet.....just your head. We will start with the basics...baby steps...one rung at a time. You know how it works if you bite off too much of something (no pun intended.) So, we break it down s-l-o-w-l-y.
We move on to the "E" in Getting R.E.A.L. which stands for Eating for Wellness. The hot topic this time of year, for sure. (I said hot topic, not Hot Pocket ~ don't get excited.) Here we go.
Instead of laying out some complicated calorie counting plan, weighing and measuring portion sizes, or paying top dollar for some mass-marketed food system, we begin new eating patterns simply by removing foods and/or ingredients that are not only not nutritious, but downright toxic. Trust me, this is huge.
As a country, we have become super duper lazy in our food preparation. Blame it on hectic schedules, stress, convenience, or simply lack of knowledge. But we eat A TON of junk that is not mean for human consumption. The body absorbs it in ways that are detrimental to our health and it usually comes from a package. The first step is to reduce our consumption of these foods (called "processed") and eat more WHOLE FOODS. How do you know if it's whole? Ask yourself these two questions: 1) Did it have a mother, or 2) Did it come from the ground? (Thanks to Jillian Michaels for that incredible guide.) If the answer is no, then you have to make a decision about eating it. (Whole foods don't have ingredients lists....makes eating a heck-of-a-lot easier). If you choose to eat it, then you move on..........
It's our instinctive nature when trying to "eat better" to flip our packages over and read the little box that tells us the Calories, Fat, Cholesterol, Sodium, Sugar, etc.
That section just below the box labeled "Ingredients" is where we start. Because here's the truth - if we start paying serious close attention to that section, it often takes care of the the stuff at the top. Waa Laa!
The fewer ingredients as possible, the better. And the healthier the ingredients, the better. This one above? Not good. Loaded with yuck. Loaded with chemicals, additives, preservatives. Essentially, full of potential for ill health.
HERE ME NOW: EVEN IF, it says "low in calories" or contains "minimal Fat" or "high in fiber" doesn't mean it's NUTRITIOUS!!!!! It just means that they've found a way to make it appear healthier for you. Horrid ingredients negate any marketing pitch instantly. In fact, much of this garbage has documented research proving their ill-effects on our health, mainly the Big C - Cancer.
Below is a list of ingredients that are known to wreak havoc on our health. Most are food additives. I encourage you to print this list and take it to the grocery store with you. Inventory your kitchen and just see what products contain these no-no's. You can decide if you're going to toss them or just finish them off :)
First, when you see "Artificial blah blah blah"......it's a no.
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
Glutamates, Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
Hydrogenated and Partially Hydrogenated Fats and Oils
Sodium Nitrate and Nitrites; in general
BHA and BHT
Artificial Sweeteners, such as Aspartame, Splena, saccharin, sucralose, ec.
Sodium Benzoate, Benzoic acid
Food colorings - especially Red #40 and Yellow # 5 & 6
This is a short list, but a solid place to start. Here are some sites for your own eyes:
Oh....and the shock factor is b.i.g. Don't flip out.....almost everything you like has a healthier alternative. This is going to take some getting used to, Friends.......don't get discouraged. Over time, you will get in the habit of eating certain products and you won't have to read them every time.