Just five years ago, I was 85 pounds overweight. I was extremely unhealthy, suffered from anxiety attacks, and 95 percent of my caloric intake consisted of cheese, fast food, and alcohol. Things got so bad that I began considering weight-loss surgery and had a monthly prescription of Xanax. Thankfully, right before reaching my breaking point, I discovered yoga and a plant-based diet. This is where my transformation began.
How I lost the weight—and kept it off for good
Most of us have good intentions. We want to be healthy, fit, and have energy to spare. Some attain these goals, but sadly, many do not. So what separates these two groups of people?
The answer is simple: Intentions are useless unless they are powered by action.
Obesity and a reliance on prescription pills are rampant in developed countries all over the world. More than 60 percent of the world's population is overweight, and 59 percent of Americans currently rely on prescription drugs to battle chronic conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, poor blood circulation, heart conditions, and more. We need to realize that there's a better way to live.
How to become conscious of what we are putting in our mouths
Potato chips. Candy. Ice cream. Cereal. Protein bars. Store-bought sauces and condiments. High-fructose corn syrup. White flour. Frozen dinners. Canned goods. Fast food. These are some examples of what I like to call "non-foods." They are not natural, pure, or real.
Non-foods contain modified substances masquerading as real food that accomplish nothing for our bodies. Yet, they are inexpensive, convenient, readily available everywhere, and promoted through various media channels.
Free yourself from processed foods
It's time to stop allowing the greed of others to affect your health in a negative way. It's time to take control of your own life.
Thousands of years ago—way before fast food joints popped up on every street corner—people survived off of real food. Planet Earth is already equipped to sustain mankind with fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, natural starches, and whole grains. People were never meant to find sustenance from processed meats or imitation food created in a factory or fast food restaurant. Non-foods are merely man-made inventions that, frankly, our bodies are better off without.
Eliminate processed foods
If you are serious about improving your health, reconnecting with the earth, and refusing to settle for nutritionally bankrupt food, then anything that originates from a laboratory or factory needs to be eliminated from your diet. As a good general rule, if it contains ingredients that are unpronounceable, it probably does not belong in your body.
Real food does not require any processing, modifications, or enhancements. It is perfect just as it is found in nature. In fact, most plant-based food doesn't even need to be cooked!
When I decided to eliminate non-foods, I had to stop finding ways to defend my unhealthy choices. Here are some common excuses for not consuming enough plant-based foods and tips on how to fit healthy eating into your life:
1. I don't have the time to cook healthy meals.
I completely understand that the last thing you want to do after a long day of work is dice vegetables. But instead of giving into convenience and temptation, try dedicating several hours one day a week to doing nothing but preparing healthy meals that will fuel you through the upcoming week. You can easily triple or quadruple your favorite healthy recipes and refrigerate or freeze the leftovers in meal-size portions.
Then—when you are on the run or tired after a long day of work—all you have to do is reheat the healthy food you have already prepared. Doing this is worth the extra effort, and it's so much healthier (and cheaper) than takeout.
Instead of ordering breakfast or lunch at work, why not just take 20 minutes each night to prepare food to take with you? Find a sunny spot outside and enjoy your healthy homemade lunch in peace while connecting with nature at the same time.
2. Healthy food is boring.
When plain raw vegetables are compared to cookies and pizza, I guess healthy food could seem boring. But believe me, this is just not true! To this day I am still amazed at how delicious a simple bowl of steamed vegetables can be.
First, you need to stop comparing vegetables to man-made non-foods—or you will never be satisfied. Secondly, purchase a great plant-based cookbook, have fun testing the recipes, and appreciate each meal for what it is: a tasty opportunity to heal your body. If you still think healthy food is boring, rest assured that all you need to do is commit to one week of change. After just seven days of consuming different types of real food, your taste buds will change, and pretty soon you will begin to crave healthy food instead of dreading it.
3. Eating healthy is too expensive.
Yes, it can be, but it doesn't have to be! The key is knowing where to shop and what items to eliminate from your list. Purchasing fresh produce at major grocery store chains can definitely add up. To get the most for your money, seek out your local farmers market where larger quantities are sold for a fraction of the price.
Another money-saving tip is to learn how to make your own sauces instead of buying brand names from the store. By creating scrumptious dips at home you'll not only save money, but you'll also avoid harmful chemicals and preservatives. Invest in a quality blender or food processor and have fun whipping up your own healthy creations. Preparing your own meals and condiments doesn't have to be a chore. Turn it into a fun new hobby!
Eat food from the earth
The key to optimal health and well-being is to eat as close to the earth as possible. This means consuming a diet rich in plant-based foods. Spending time in nature lifts your spirits and provides a fresh perspective on life, and consuming foods that grow wild in nature can have a similar effect on your body, mind, and spirit.