If you could change just 2 habits for improved health in 2016, what would they be ?
It’s almost a year now since I completed my first Whole30 round. Because my results were overwhelmingly positive in sustained weight loss and improved blood tests, I’ve stayed close to the Whole30 program for the past year. My take away from the experience? Some old practices about healthy eating are gone for good because they weren’t good for me after all, but on the other hand some old habits were confirmed excellent and they are here to stay. Improved health is an exciting journey that I’ve been on for a while now (I’m 62, so yeah…it’s been since I was 18). It’s an adventure that never gets old. And it helps that I love good food 🙂
The healthy practices I’m talking about boil down to 2 habits that anyone can start right now. What ever your dietary preference is; if you’re vegan, paleo, vegetarian, standard American diet…you name it, these 2 habits are a one size fits all and will improve your health. You will have more energy, normalized blood sugar levels, maintain a healthy weight, lower LDL (bad cholesterol), better immune system, and overall improved health.
So, are you ready to hear what they are? Here we go.
- Eliminate sweeteners. Giving up white sugar was something I did a while back, but it wasn’t until my Whole30 experience did I realize that I needed to take it a step further. Before Whole30, I still managed to eat sweets by using maple syrup, honey or coconut sugar in baking. (What else can you expect from someone whose parents owned a wholesale candy business?) With a family history of high cholesterol, and in spite of eating a plant-based diet, my LDL was on a roll upward. Eliminating all sweeteners stopped that trend and put it in reverse.
Here are some tips that help me –
- Salty food increases cravings for sweet food. It helps to not add salt at the table and cook with less salt.
- Keep plenty of fresh fruit on hand for a light snack or dessert.
- Read labels! Unfortunately many prepared foods, especially condiments have sugar in them.
- Increasing veggies on your plate, both cooked and raw actually minimize cravings, especially sweet winter squashes and sweet potatoes.
- Eat at regular meal times to eliminate cravings. It’s when a meal is skipped that I’m most vulnerable.
- Eat lean protein! It provides a sense of satiety. (many thanks to Whole30 for this revelation)
- Cook and eat at home where you know what is going into your food. Besides, restaurant food is more heavily seasoned than homemade.
- When baking for my family and have leftovers, they go in the freezer to serve later. In so doing the temptation is out of sight.
- When eating out I set myself up for failure when self talk is “I’m not eating____” I have more options when the focus is on what I can eat and not on what I can’t eat. Instead, I look for my best options on the menu and enjoy them. It’s all about mind-set.
- An occasional planned treat, is just that. It’s enjoyed for a special occasion. Don’t allow it to be the beginning of a downward spiral. Keep up the momentum of good choices.
- Revel in your overall improved health and well-being. You will soon realize the greater good is in building good health rather than catering to a sweet tooth.
- Check out these sweetener free treat recipes on my blog ; Rich and Creamy Hot Cocoa, Baked Stuffed Apples, Pumpkin Apple Breakfast Cake, Grain Free Seeded Crackers, Second Wind Smoothie, DIY Almond Milk, Raspberry Basil Cooler.
2. Eat more vegetables. This goes hand in hand with cutting out sugar. The more veggies you eat, the fewer sweets you will crave. In quantity and variety, raw and cooked, pile more veggies on your plate. It means more fiber, minerals and vitamins in your diet. Consuming more vegetables help with elimination, weight loss, blood sugar and lowering cholesterol. Go beyond the norm of iceberg lettuce, green beans, spinach and baked potatoes. There is so much bounty to choose from.
Some tips for getting more vegetables on your plate.
- When cooking veggies for dinner, make enough to last a few days.
- Put leftover veggies in frittatta’s, omelets and scrambled eggs.
- Buy the bag of Power Greens at Costco and use them in smoothies or saute a large quantity with garlic for a side. They are washed and ready to use (easy!). Just make sure you check the date on the package.
- Instead of seasoning vegetable sides with butter and cheese, take advantage of the flavor of roasted vegetables.
- Challenge yourself to introduce a vegetable you’ve never had before.
- Be well stocked with a variety of vegetables so there is plenty to choose from when prepping meals.
- To bring variety and novelty invest in a spiralizer for $30.00. It turns some veggies into noodles and brings something new and fun to your meal times. We love ours and use it almost daily. Bonus: it makes prepping vegetables faster than cutting them.
- Have some frozen vegetables stored in the freezer for those days you’re short on time.
- Another time saver, Trader Joe’s and Costco have a variety of packaged salads, made with cabbages, Brussels sprouts, and kale, dinner ready.
- Spend a day a week washing and prepping veggies to make cooking them at meal times less time-consuming.
- Try recipes that look good to you on my blog. Click on the tab Recipes, then click on salads and vegetables. Try the Soups and Meal in a Bowl tab too.
So is anyone with me? Make this coming year the year you slay the sugar dragon and pile on the veggies.