We all know good habits are best formed early in life, and it is much easier said than done most of the time. In order for the good habits to form, your parents, society, and friends all have to inspire you.
I don’t know about you, but my parents smoked, drank alcohol (please don’t think they were some low life alcoholics), drank sodas, ate carbs and worked in fumed filled factories. These are not good combinations if you want to live a healthy and prosperous life or instill good habits in your children. This was the 70’s and 80’s when people did not know any better. I feel that food talk and discussions only started in the late 90’s and to this day it is not very clear to most people what is right and what is wrong. Yes, we all know that processed food full of additives might be the biggest contributor to the growing obesity epidemic, but how do we avoid it? How do we persuade the doctors that it is not as easy as putting a band aid (aka prescribing drugs) to heal the nation and the world?!
One of the foods that has not been here even 150 years ago is sugar. It is now used not only as a sweetener for coffee or tea but is added to most processed foods. Think cereal, yogurt, power bars, restaurants even add it to their meats.
What some people do not understand, is that starchy foods once they are processed in their body’s become sugar. Just by eliminating sugar and starchy foods you can lose anywhere from 20 to 60 pounds in just 3-6 months. Seems simple enough, so why not do it?
Not all calories are equal. Well maybe they are in a sense of how much energy it can provide but not how they make you feel. Ever noticed how after eating donuts you feel tired and sluggish? How about if you had a green smoothie? Did you notice how light that made you feel? Still, all are calories but they have a different outcome.
We hear this all the time – “eat your veggies!” What if some of us do not have time? Dislike veggies? Not a fan of salads?
There is a very simple solution to this problem – green smoothies. What if I told you that it only takes about 5 minutes a day to make a smoothie that will have all essential vitamins and minerals that should come from vegetables? All you need is 5 minutes to not worry for the rest of your day if you are getting enough nutrients.
Here is one of simplest smoothies you can make that is sure to help your body function and give you all-day energy.
This smoothie is both light and hearty. We recommend almond milk for the base as it is low calories but still provides protein. Almond milk and frozen bananas are key ingredients for most of my smoothies if I want a nice velvety feel. Fresh spinach adds a bunch of vitamins. Pitted dates are a perfect touch of sweetness.
This smoothie is great for those who do not get enough greens into their diet, do not have time for breakfast, have trouble incorporating protein into their meals, struggles to eat healthier or simply wants to add something healthy into their daily routine.
Green Super Smoothie
- 1 cup unsweetened almond or soy milk
- 2 cups of spinach
- 1 frozen bananas
- 2 soft pitted dates
- 1 tbsp natural peanut butter
- 1 ice cubes
- 2 tbsp hemp seeds
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 2 tbsp slivered almonds (could be toasted)
Combine all ingredients, blend on high until smooth and frothy. Sprinkle topping on top if desired. Enjoy!
Fruit should definitely be a part of your healthy diet but one thing to remember is that fruit is still sugar. Yes, it is not the refined kind and is actually called fructose, but your body still has the same reaction to it as it would to any other kind. That is why many dietitians and a famous elimination diet advocate Dr. Hyman, notes that any artificial sugar even natural sugar substitute like Stevia will cause same effects on the body. It can increase craving, sugar spikes and sugar withdrawals.
Unlike other sugar sources fruit will not cause the unwanted body reaction if consumed in moderation. 2-4 fruit servings a day is a great suggestion to keep in mind.
“Portions are too big” – I have heard this numerous times. But what about the solution? What should I portion sizes look like? Assuming we all know not to consume prepackaged, processed, sugar added foods let’s say you eat some sort of a protein with each meal, a few vegetables and a fruit for dessert. We already covered fruit. Veggies should be about 4-6 servings a day. Protein should be about a size of your palm. It would probably be anywhere from 4-6 ounces of meat or fish. When it comes to greens – load them up. Stack a lot of greens, top it off with sliced or cubed vegetables, add protein and about ½ of grains or starches like sweet potato, pumpkin, green peas etc. Eating like this for about 1 week will improve your mood, energy levels and will give a smaller waistline.
There is always a debate about water consumption, and how much is enough. Some say there can never be such thing as too much water and others say “only drink when you are thirsty”.
Some experts say that our advanced body mechanisms can adjust to any amount of water provided and you should only drink to quench your thirst rather than push yourself to consume so much that you have to pee every 15 minutes.
Some, however, argue that drinking at least 64 ounces of water a day, more if you are tall and heavy, is crucial to accommodate bodies need to be hydrated.
It is really up to you and your body to decide. Keep in mind that dehydration can cause serious problems like: increased thirst, dry mouth, swollen tongue, weakness, dizziness, heart palpitations, confusion, fainting, decreased urine output.
According to the National Institute of Health amount of sleep needed depends on the needs of each individual. On average it is recommended that adults get about 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Some people however might only need 5 hours and some as much as 10 hours of sleep each day. Depriving your body of sleep can create sleep “deprivation”. Eventually your body will need to get that “debt” paid off or it might cause serious health problems like heart attacks, stroke, type II diabetes and obesity.
These are just a few basic things that we all should do and teach our children to do every day. There are many other daily habits that should be incorporated into our daily lives but let’s start from the basic biggest one and then we can take steps to further our well-being. Love yourself first!