11 Foods You Need In Your Life

When it comes to wellness, and nutrition in particular, a great tool to try is “crowding out,” essentially adding more to your diet, instead of taking away. 

Sounds, crazy, right? 

By adding whole foods such as fruits, vegetables and grains, you're filling up with FRESH, nutrient-dense foods. 

Over time, your cravings for junk food will dissipate. 

Did you know that you can alter your tastes and cravings by consistently feeding your body items filled with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals? 

Simple, but powerful stuff! In fact, crowding out can be applied to other areas of your life, too. 

By slowly adding non-toxic beauty essentials to your medicine cabinet or bathtub, you can crowd out the ones filled with parabans, sulfates and other carcinogens. 

By filling your life with interests, exercise, work, projects, and people who inspire and enlighten you, you'll have less time for the inconsequential, the draining, the toxic. 

So go ahead...start adding in the good stuff and feel better, weigh less!

With that in mind, here is a short list to get you started: 13 of my favorite things that make their way into my life almost daily. (And they can totally help you crowd out, too.) 

1. Lemons

Almost a year ago, I said sayonara to coffee, and, thanks to lemons, I’ve not looked back. These little guys have replaced my morning joe in the way of warm lemon water. Sometimes I add a pinch of cayenne or ginger, but mostly I just sip it solo. I feel as if I’m doing something great for my body first thing in the morning. 

For “breakfast,” you are actually “breaking a fast,” from the eve before, so its nice to put something gentle into your body to start. In addition to their high vitamin C content, lemons are a natural antiseptic, known to fight infections and germs. What’s more is that they are so versatile. Use them in salad dressings, dips, sauces, on veggies, over fish...the list is endless.

2. Kale  

Kale has been receiving top nutritional honors for the past year now, and its rave reviews are the real deal. This queen of greens is packed with vitamins A, C and K and antioxidants that help fight cancer, as well as compounds that promote eye health. Kale is high in fiber, and contains more iron per calorie than beef and more calcium per calorie than milk. 

This versatile veg is perfect in smoothies for breakfast, massaged with olive oil and lemon juice for a base salad and steamed with quinoa, roasted butternut squash and spicy tempeh for a hearty vegan dinner.

3. Avocados  

If I were stranded on a desert isle and could only bring one food, it would be avocados.  I seriously have one a day almost every day.  

Avocados are a good source of fiber, potassium, vitamins C, K, folate and B6, they are a fabulous all-natural beauty food (superb for your skin). Their fats are monounsaturated--the kind that can help lower bad cholesterol levels and they are free of trans fat and cholesterol.

4. Amazing grass green superfood  

When I don’t have time to juice or blend up a FRESH green smoothie, I turn to this amazing stuff. One scoop contains tons of green food blends (wheat grass, spirulina, chlorella), a healthy dose of antioxidants, fiber, and digestive enzymes.  

And, after trying numerous green blend powders, I can honestly say this tastes great (especially the Chocolate, made with organic cacao). They even come in single-serve packets for when you are on the go, making it super easy to get your greens anywhere, anytime (think planes, trains and automobiles)!

5. Almond milk  

This is my go-to milk alternative. My favorite is the Almond Breeze Almond Coconut Original Unsweetened. It’s a perfect base for smoothies, with cereals, mixed and refrigerated overnight for chiapudding, and a great before-bedtime snack warmed with honey or organic hot chocolate mix! (P.S. 1 cup of almond milk has 30% of your daily calcium, on par with 1 cup of 2% reduced-fat milk.)

6. Bananas  

Always available, always affordable and always adaptable, bananas make a great breakfast, snack, smoothie, dessert, and all-around-pick-me-upper.  

They are high in potassium, magnesium, fiber and vitamin B6. When I need energy, it’s bananas to the rescue.

7. LaraBars  

Here is a packaged food item that I approve of. If you are on the go and just need a “bar” in your bag to power you through, consider this grand option: LaraBars blend delicious unsweetened fruits, nuts and spices for creations made from whole foods. Most flavors only contain three or four ingredients...pure and simple!

8. Unrefined coconut oil 

There is so much good stuff about coconut oil that it deserves its own piece. Hmmm...I’ll have to get on that. Coconuts in general are fab all around--the flesh, the water, the oil. In other parts of the world, coconut is commonly used in tonics and Ayurvedic remedies. It's a great source of natural electrolytes, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. 

The oils that are in the coconut are saturated, but because they are plant-based they are also raw, unheated and sans cholesterol so it’s the perfect replacement for butter in recipes. And, when heating it has a high smoke point, which means it won’t break down during heating (less carcinogens, yay!) Coconut oil also improves digestion and is valuable to your immune system due to its anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. 

This super-duper food is a great skin beautifier and softener, too. It triples as my makeup remover,  cleanser and lotion.  It also makes great homemade toothpaste ... deodorant ... diaper cream ... need I go on?

9. Chia seeds  

This ancient superfood was used by the Incas, Mayans and Aztecs to provide them with energy and strength. In fact, it was referred to as “Indian Running food” since it was given to messengers before they traveled by foot long distances. 

We now know that chia seeds are a complete source of protein with more than twice the amount of protein than any other seed or grain. They are a wonderful source of iron, calcium, and fiber and have incredibly high levels of omega 3 and omega 6. 

Chia also has three times more antioxidant activity than blueberries. So, yup, these little babes are potent powerhouses. Sprinkle them on oatmeal or salads, blend into smoothies or toss with almond milk and refrigerate overnight for morninng chia pudding.

10. Kombucha   

Kombucha is raw, fermented tea that is loaded with antioxidants and probiotics, which aid digestion. As a former IBS sufferer and someone with a sensitive stomach in general, this product rocks.  Besides coconut water, it’s the only bottled beverage I drink and a great alternative to soda or sugary juices. 

I love GT’s Enlightened Kombucha and my favorites are Multi-green, Gingerade, and the Synergy Raspberry or Black Chia.

11. Water   

The body is 75% water, so it makes sense that this essential fluid must be continually replenished. How much is the right amount? It varies based on your weight, activity level, diet and climate, but whatever you are drinking, chances are you could drink more. 

A large majority of the American population is dehydrated, which can contribute to a host of health ailments including premature aging, inflammation, headaches, hypertension, and more. Proper hydration can help regularly flush toxins (dead cells and other waste products) from the body.  

Note that when you get the message that you are thirsty, you are already on the verge of dehydration. And, since dehydration occurs as mild hunger, having a tall glass of water can actually help alleviate all sorts of cravings.

Plus, here are two things you should also incorporate into your everyday life:

Healthy loves  

Adding in the good stuff doesn’t only pertain to food items; in fact, believe it or not, food items are secondary to achieving true health and well-being. Consider these questions: How is your physical activity? Do you surround yourself with healthy/loving/nurturing relationships? Is your work fulfilling? Do you pursue interests you are passionate about? If your life is filled with draining people and activities, it will leave you feeling “hungry.”

Movement  

Our bodies thrive on movement, and quickly degenerate without it. Be experimental and find activities you like: it will make it that much easier to build exercise into your life and nourish yourself on a regular basis.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

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About the Author
Rachel Frank-Tuomey is a certified holistic health coach and nutrition counselor. She is the author of numerous articles on food-based healing and is passionate about the power of whole foods. Rachel believes that life sure can be one fast ride so she founded “Life in the Fresh Lane,” to provide you with the tools and resources necessary to slow down, eat fresh, and live well. 
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