I have often heard people say that "the food you eat is half the battle" and I couldn't agree more. Since I have started eating healthier foods, I have seen a huge change in my life. I feel lighter, happier, I sleep better, I get sick much less often, and I have seen a ton of improvement in all of my workouts. And these are just the short term benefits! I also have the peace of mind that everything I'm putting into my body is fuel for a longer life. Eating healthy will give me good cholesterol, blood pressure, body fat, bone strength, and cardiovascular health for the rest of my life.
I like to compare bad foods to cigarettes. They are both addicting. Our bodies, by nature, love high calorie, fatty foods. The problem is that all of these foods are terrible for us. Most of them are man-made with all kinds of ingredients that are not meant for our bodies. Sure, the FDA approves them for consumption, but the long term effects of eating tons of these horrible foods are equivalent to effects from smoking. Eating poorly and smoking both lead to a shorter life expectancy in some way or another. Poor food choices can lead to heart problems, diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), and even cancer in addition to tons of other horrible things.
Avoiding poor food choices is a daily battle. There is conflicting data on just about anything you pull off of the grocery store shelf. I spend a few hours every week just trying to learn what food is healthy and what is not.
My best advice is to find a hand full of healthy options and recipes that you enjoy and stick to them! Jillian Michaels is a personal trainer and health expert from shows like The Biggest Loser and The Doctors. She has a great podcast I like to listen to each week (It's called "The Jillian Michaels Show" if you want to check it out). Anyways, in one of her podcasts she talked about what she likes to eat to stay healthy. She said she just has 2 or 3 different things she'll eat for each meal of the day. She always knows her intake of calories, protein, fat, etc. I love the simplicity of this! I took this idea and compiled my own personal menu. It was so easy to do and it makes trips to the grocery store a heck-of-a-lot quicker! I know, I know. You're probably thinking "What if I get tired of these meals?" or "What if I can't eat the same thing twice in one week?" If you get tired of something, just can always just switch it out and you can always make the menu as big as you want. Maybe you want a menu the size of the novel they have at The Cheesecake Factory. There's good things to be said for that and I think you could definitely benefit from my upcoming 'Grocery List.'
As a start on my posts on nutrition, I've decided to make a 'Grocery List.' I'm hoping it will be a great resource for anyone making their own grocery lists or even someone looking to add another recipe to their 20 page menu. I have a hard time remembering all of the foods that are healthy. For example, I always forget which types of fish need to be wild-caught and which types are okay to eat farm-raised. I also forget what types of fruits I need to buy organic and what types are okay conventional. For now I'm just going to make a huge list of healthy foods. If you want me to explain my choices, feel free to comment or email me. And by all means, let me know if you have some more healthy options to add to the list. I will try to categorize everything, but I imagine it may take a while to list them all. There are more healthy options out there than you think!
What bad foods do you have a hard time quitting? What's your favorite thing on your healthy menu? Let us know and maybe we'll start a Better Health Blog cookbook.