This challenge isn’t about loosing weight or going on a crazy uber-wholesome diet. This challenge is about taking a good look at your food intake and making a few tweaks. To change a few bad habits into healthy ones. The biggest test may be analyzing what it is you actually eat throughout an entire day. Do you skip breakfast? Do you graze throughout the day? Do you love your carbohydrates? What about protein? Sweets? Fruits and veggies?
We all have our ideas of what healthy eating can be. Some people believe a high protein diet is good. Others swear off sugar and dairy. Some people turn to vegetarian or vegan diets. I am not a nutritionist, so I am not going to preach about what may or may not be the right diet for you. However, I think there are a few basic food facts that make sense.
1) EVERYTHING IN MODERATION – especially sugary foods, highly processed or refined foods, foods with artificial ingredients and fatty foods
2) DRINK WATER
3) FRUITS AND VEGETABLES NEED TO BE CONSUMED REGULARLY THROUGHOUT THE DAY
4) NOT ALL FATS ARE BAD – omega-3 fats are good for your body!
5) FRESH IS BEST
A GOOD LINK to check out: http://authoritynutrition.com/top-10-nutrition-facts
If Your Food Can Go Bad
Then You Know Its Good For You
[There are many lifestyle diets and theories regarding the consumption and/or elimination of either wheat, sugar, dairy, egg and meats. For many people, moderating or eliminating one or more of these things from their diet can make a huge difference in the way their body feels. If this is something that you are curious about, I encourage you to explore dietary changes with a nutritionist or naturopath.]
The first week of the challenge will mostly be figuring out what you actually put into your body. Once you can honestly record your dietary intake, you can see where poor choices come into play during the week. Do you have a decent breakfast? Are you visiting fast-food restaurants too often? How many veggies are you actually consuming in a day? Are you drinking enough water? Do you wonder if ketchup counts as a vegetable…..?
If you are considering this challenge, then you will probably have a couple of ideas about where you would like to make some changes. Just remember to keep the changes simple and realistic. Below I have outlined some simple changes and ideas to make this month a success.
- exchange refined breads for whole grain breads, start with 3 times and week and then gradually increase it to 7!
- add protein to your day in the form of almond butter, seeds and/or nuts
- try a new fruit or veggie each week
- reduce or replace high sugared pop drinks with water or other healthy alternatives
- avoid choosing items that are hard to find or beyond your budget
- replace a highly processed food for a natural food or a less processed food (i.e.: substitute potato chips with almonds or rice crackers)
- introduce new dips and spreads to add variety and nutrients to crackers or veggies – for example hummus, guacamole, or bean dip.
- if you overindulge at a meal (or every meal) monitor you serving sizes – attempt to wait 15 or more minutes before heading back for seconds to fill up your (small) plate
- if you eat out regularly, attempt to add a few more homemade meals to your week and build from there.
- if you are a sugar addict, start by eliminating one sugar food a week (for example, promise yourself that on Wednesdays you will not have 3 scoops of ice cream after dinner) Replace it with a smaller portion or a sweet fruit like strawberries or mangos. FYI, small portions of chocolate are practically good for you, especially dark chocolate!
Once you’ve figured out a handful of items that you think you can handle changing, write them down and get started. Try changing an item a week. By the end of the month, you should have 4 new changes and you will be on the way to a healthier you!
ALSO, keep in mind, your body has gotten used to consuming particular foods on a regular basis. By making changes slowly, your body will adjust smoothly and naturally to any changes you make. You may have cravings if you eliminate regularly consumed foods quickly, but be assured that once your body resets itself, you will find the cravings to be less persistent and eventually you will be able to enjoy that desired food without needing more.
The goal is to choose healthy food most of the time. To be patient with your changes and choices and know that by making small changes over a longer period of time that they will last. Also know, that your body will start wanting healthier food once you start eating it. I actually crave kale now. What? Yes! Last year I started experimenting with kale with rather low expectations on how to enjoy it with an everyday meal….and now I am growing it and would love to have some everyday! As I tell my children, your taste buds do change and what you may not like one day, you will love the next. So keep trying and experimenting!
Good Luck! As always, feel free to contact me with stories, questions or comments
Kirsten Hammond, RMT
While there may be information related to certain medical conditions and their treatment on this website, please consult your doctor or other healthcare professional to determine if a treatment described in the website is appropriate for you.
Kirsten Hammond is a Registered Massage Therapist and owner of Evolutions Massage Therapy Clinic- North & Central Saanich, BC, Sidney, BC & Brentwood Bay, BC