Saturday, January 4, 2014

5 Steps Towards Health

It can be so overwhelming to change your eating habits. Where do you begin? Here are some simple steps towards introducing healthier foods into your diet.

1. Swap Toxic Table Salt for REAL Sea Salt.

Most common table salt is made up of chemicals that are toxic to your body and have the potential to cause an array of health problems. Table Salt is made up of 97.5% sodium chloride and 2.5% chemicals such as moisture absorbents, and iodine.

Healthy Salt
Sea Salt contains the essential trace minerals that your body needs in order to stay healthy. Healthy natural salts contain no toxins and have over 84 minerals and nutrients necessary for optimal health. The Healthy alternatives to Table Salt are Pure Himalayan or Celtic Sea Salt.

2. Decrease or Remove Grains 
Grains today aren't what they use to be centuries ago. Through selective breeding and genetic modification grains contain exceptionally higher amounts of gluten than centuries ago. Grains were also prepared differently throughout the centuries, either by sprouting or souring, making them easier to digest and more nourishing. There are several options depending on your time and lifestyle, to decrease grains in your diet, eat healthier forms of grains, or remove them all together.  I do encourage removing gluten from your diet for a period of 2 weeks just to see if you have any annoying symptoms that go away. Most people are sensitive to gluten only for the simple fact that it is so unnatural to our bodies. But here are some of your options.

Sprouted Grains or Sourdough
Food For Life Products such as Ezekiel Sprouted Whole Grain Bread, or Ezekiel Sprouted Whole Grain Pasta, and even Sprouted Whole Grain Cereals.

For baking use Sprouted Flours from the Sprouted Flour Company.

Learn how to make Sourdough! For sourdough starters Cultures for Health

Gluten Free Options
Almond Butter or Almond Flour try our Fluffy Almond Pancakes!

Sprouted Buckwheat Flour try this Banana Bread Recipe!

Sprouted Garbanzo Bean Flour try this Cookie Recipe!

Coconut Flour try this Bread Recipe!

3. Increase Healthy Fats.
There is a common misconception in the diet world that FAT in general is bad for you when in fact it's essential for health and vitality. Every single cell in our body needs fat to work and function properly. Your brain is made up of 60% fat! It provides energy, and helps your body absorb nutrients. Fat actually makes Hormones and beautiful skin and protects your organs and helps them function properly. It was once thought to cause plaque build up in your arteries, but "Healthy Fats" have proven to actually reverse plaque build up in the arteries!

UNhealthy Fats?
Hydrogenated and Partially Hydrogenated Oils (Also known as Trans Fats) found in nearly all processed foods, especially sugary sweet processed foods, are for the sole purpose of preservation and cost cutting and are known to cause Coronary Heart Disease. Stay away from Vegetable Oils such as soybean oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, and safflower oil as they contain large amounts of Omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids which are harmful in excess. 

Healthy Fats!
1. Grass Fed Animal Fats are a great option! Start eating that fat you usually leave on the side of your plate! It's good for you! Grass Fed Butter is another great option for getting those healthy fats into your diet, but make sure you are using a reputable brand such as Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter or Kalona Grass Fed Butter.

2. Another great option is Expeller Pressed Coconut Oil known for it's dense nutrition, antioxidants, and long shelf life. It has a higher burning point so cooking with it is one of your better options for optimal health.

3. Raw Olive Oil  full of antioxidants and polyphenols, in recent studies say consuming four tablespoons a day can significantly lower your risk of having a heart attack, suffering from a stroke, or dying of heart disease. Make sure you only purchase Good Quality Raw Olive Oil. As most Olive Oils on the shelf today are heat refined and rancid, lacking in nutritional value and in some cases Hydrogenated.

4. Unrefined Sesame Oil is one of my favorite oils for salad dressings! Really high in Omega 3, and zero flavor. Sometimes good quality Olive Oil isn't something I can stomach. It has a strong flavor. So this is a great alternative!

4. Increase Probiotics.
The Standard American Diet has really put most American's gut flora through the ringer. One of the best ways to help aid in digestion, and replenish our gut flora is through naturally fermented foods! Good Gut Flora is truly one of the biggest keys to health and vitality. Without it, we don't function properly, we don't get proper nourishment to our bodies and to our brains. So we really have to focus on NOT feeding bad bacteria in our gut and instead, feed the good bacteria.

Probiotic Containing Foods
1. Homemade Yogurt or you can buy plain yogurt with live probiotics. Never go low fat! Remember fat is good and essential for digestion. I know several people who are lactose intolerant. I told them to drink only whole milk, and they could actually drink it with no stomach upset! So FAT... GOOD..... Raw Milk is also high in probiotics!

2. Kefir! Now this was the biggest health culture shock I experienced. Leaving milk on the counter to sour? What? But as I have learned about bacteria, especially the good kind, you can't go wrong with kefir. It's a powerhouse of probiotics! Nourishing Traditions is an amazing book that offers so much guidance for a newbie! :) You will also need Kefir Grains in order to make Kefir.

3. Homemade Sauerkraut or Pickles. Now I'm not talking about sauerkraut or pickles that have been through a heat process. I'm talking about raw fermented! You can also buy Raw Sauerkraut or Pickles from your local health food store. My favorite and the most reputable brand is Bubbies Sauerkraut or Bubbies Pickles.

3. Kombucha is a tasty treat if you ask me. You can make it on your own or buy it at a health food store! In order to make Kombucha you need a starter, better known as a "mother." Order a starter culture or mother here! You can always get a mother from a friend who's already been brewing their own Kombucha.

4. Kimchi is a seasoned mixture of cultured veggies loaded with incredible probiotics. Here is a great recipe and example of Kimchi! Makes my mouth water just looking at it! :)

5. Replace Refined Sugar
Refined sugar contains no fiber, no minerals, no proteins, no fats, no enzymes, only empty calories. What happens when you eat a refined carbohydrate like sugar? Your body must borrow vital nutrients from healthy cells to metabolize the incomplete food. Calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium are taken from various parts of the body to make use of the sugar.

Healthy Sweeteners
1. Raw Honey is probably the best sugar replacement you could use. For one it is predigested, unlike refined sugar that sits in our guts undigested, feeding billions of toxic pathogens.... Honey is loaded with antioxidants, minerals, and enzymes. It supports healthy digestion and promotes healthy gut flora. Try this recipe!

2. Real Maple Syrup is important to shop smart for. Most Maple Syrup Labels claiming to be real aren't real and loaded with thickeners, fillers, and corn syrup.

3. Coconut Sugar is a more nutritious version of sugar and has a lower glycemic index.

Making a change towards a healthy lifestyle is never easy. So just work towards making health choices manageable. Pick one thing and learn that. Or pick a recipe from my long a yummy list of recipes on Pinterest. This is a perfect start. 

1 comment:

  1. Swapping table salt for Himalayan salt was one of the first healthy changes our family made. It's so ridiculously easy!!!