5 Simple Steps To Start Eating Healthier Today
I used to be a "chronic dieter." I was always busy counting calories, watching my portion sizes and making sure I exercised enough in order to burn off what I ate.
Some days I would only have carrots and radishes for dinner, just because I'd indulged in two scoops of ice cream earlier that day. Food was no longer about pleasure or nourishment — it was all about losing weight and getting thin.
When I finally discovered raw food, I realized that I could eat more, nourish my body and still weigh less. Raw food helped me to make peace with food and my body, and some of the basic principles I learned may help you achieve the same thing, too.
These five simple steps will help you let go of your fear of food and begin eating a healthier diet today.
1. Eliminate all processed foods.
Don’t know where to start? Take a look at the ingredient list of each item in your kitchen cupboards, refrigerator and storage room. Avoid anything that has artificial additives, artificial sweeteners, refined sugars or vegetable oils. This includes fried foods, sweets and refined grain products such as cookies and bread.
Processed foods will mess up your digestion, increase your anxiety levels and more than likely lead to weight gain. There are plenty of healthy alternatives for your favorite comfort foods, such as raw chocolate, flax crackers, oven-baked sweet potato fries, and raw vegan cheesecake.
2. Choose whole foods.
Whole foods include fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, unrefined grains and beans. They're unprocessed, unrefined and don’t contain any added salt, added sweeteners, added fats or artificial additives.
Whole foods are very high in vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and water, which is why they will keep you healthy, beautiful and energized. By choosing whole foods over processed foods, you'll be able to enjoy delicious meals without feeling guilty or bloated afterward.
3. Have at least 1 green smoothie a day.
Green smoothies are an excellent way to start your day. They will satisfy your sugar cravings, cleanse your colon and provide your body with plenty of vitamins and minerals to keep you energized and happy. Green smoothies are also incredibly high in chlorophyll, a powerful antioxidant that flushes out heavy metals, pesticides and other toxic residue from your body.
Never tried a green smoothie before? You'll be surprised by how sweet they taste! Try this simple recipe: 1 large ripe mango (or 2 ripe bananas), two handfuls of spinach (or any other type of leafy green) and 1 to 2 cups of water. Add everything to your blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!
4. Don’t be afraid of fruit.
I used to believe that all carbohydrates were the "enemy" and that too much fruit would make me fat. Then I discovered that not all carbohydrates are created equal!
Do you want to keep it simple and clean? Avoid processed carbohydrates like white bread, cookies, wheat pasta and sugar-laden breakfast cereals, and choose healthy carbohydrates such as fresh fruits and sweet root vegetables instead. They'll reduce your cravings for sugary snacks and keep your energy levels high at all time.
Are you worried about your blood sugar level? The best way to prevent blood sugar spikes and to protect your teeth from fruit sugars is by combining your fruits with leafy greens.
5. Eat your greens.
Green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, collard greens and romaine lettuce will help you to detoxify, alkalize your body and get your mineral levels up. They're packed with essential nutrients such as iron, zinc and magnesium that will boost your energy levels, strengthen your immune system and clear up your skin.
Enjoy your leafy greens as the base for a colorful rainbow salad, blend them into a creamy green smoothie or treat yourself to a fresh green juice. Green juices are an excellent way to avoid that dreaded afternoon slump!
Julie Van den Kerchove is a certified Raw Food chef, coach & writer graduated from the Living Light Culinary Institute in California. After successfully healing herself from several chronic health conditions with the help of raw food, she founded Julie’s Lifestyle, where she now offers customized health coaching in order to help women all around the world to get more energy, reach their ideal weight and ‘lose the fear of food’ with a healthy diet high in raw fruits and vegetables. She is also the author of 3 raw food books. You can find her on Instagram and at Julie’s Lifestyle, where you can get her FREE eBook "Julie’s Top 7 Fast, Easy & Delicious Raw Smoothies & Shakes."