Real Food Challenge: 5 Steps To Give Yourself A Total Health Makeover

Functional Medicine Practitioner By William Cole, D.C., IFMCP
Functional Medicine Practitioner
Dr. Will Cole, D.C., IFMCP, is a leading functional medicine expert who specializes in clinically investigating underlying factors of chronic disease and customizing a functional medicine approach for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, and brain problems. Cole is also the bestselling author of Ketotarian and The Inflammation Spectrum.

Gluten-free, paleo, raw, vegetarian, vegan — all the information out there on what you should and should not be eating can really be an overwhelming experience for someone who is trying to turn his life around and get healthy. "Where do I even begin?" is what I hear often from those looking to reclaim their health.

Many people have been eating the same way for years, and even the thought of trying to get healthy is too much to handle. It can be a daunting task to determine the right thing to do. For this reason, I've laid out five simple steps to give your body a total health makeover!

1. Throw out "food-like substances."

Go through your fridge and your pantry and if it doesn't grow from a plant, is a plant, or has lived on an organic farm, throw it out! The food industry spends a lot of money on marketing food to you, but not a lot on quality, nutrient-dense foods. The fresher the food the better, so limit the amount of boxed and shelf foods you have around. If it's not in your house, it will be harder to eat it. Throw out foods that cause the most inflammation in your body, like sugar or things that turn into sugar, like grains. Our culture is grain addicted, so this advice might cause you to break out in a cold sweat. But that initial reaction is exactly why you need to do it!

2. Read labels.

When you're in the supermarket, the periphery of the store is typically filled with the real food, so start there. Fill your grocery cart with a variety of these foods:

Healthy fats: extra virgin coconut oil, grass-fed dairy, avocados, organic eggs, raw nuts and seeds.

Organic produce: With the depletion of nutrients in our soil and the use of pesticides, buy organic fruits and vegetable when possible.

Clean protein: Chicken should be free range , fish should be wild caught, and beef should be grass fed.

The center of the supermarket is typically where you'll find the boxed, canned and bagged foods. If the food label is a paragraph of words you can't pronounce, skip it. Look for real food ingredients, the stuff you know your body runs on. Go local when possible, or visit a farmers market where you can find quality real food.

3. Make a meal plan and stick with it.

Now that you've filled your kitchen with real foods, make a simple meal plan using a variety of the different foods you bought to make things interesting. Try new things, and live on the adventurous side. You might like it! Once you've made a meal plan, stick with it. You've organized your weeks meals so you don't have to think much about them when you're in the middle of a busy week. If you plan ahead, you'll set yourself up for a deliciously healthy week.

4. Jump into healthy.

Forget about leaning in — make a commitment to this new way of living! If you want to see the results you are looking for, then jump into healthy. At the same time, give yourself grace and patience. Don't get stressed out about being a perfect eater, no one is, and if they act like they are they are either lying or delusional. When you eat something that isn't healthy, learn from the experience and be aware of how it made you feel. This growing awareness will be an integral part to building new habits.

5. Eat to nourish your body.

Instead of focusing on all the foods you "can't have" focus on what you can have. Focus on what you get to nourish your body with. Eat consciously. Sit down and be present when you chew your food. Everything you eat is either creating health or tearing it down. Enjoy eating because you know you're satiating every cell of your body with the nutrients it needs to be healthy and abundant. Eat as though your life depended on it, because it does. When you're eating real, nutrient-dense foods, your body will begin to tell you when its full, so listen to your body's messages.

5-Week Health Challenge: Are you up for it?

I challenge you to do these five steps for five weeks, and journal your journey during this time. Write down what you eat and what you feel during this process of creating health. Your health journal will further strengthen the organization, accountability, and presence that will manifest in your healthier life.

William Cole, D.C., IFMCP
William Cole, D.C., IFMCP
Will Cole, D.C., IFMCP, is a leading functional-medicine expert and a Doctor of Chiropractic. He...
Read More
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William Cole, D.C., IFMCP
William Cole, D.C., IFMCP
Will Cole, D.C., IFMCP, is a leading functional-medicine expert and a...
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