“I am going to start eating healthier, cooking more, and will eliminate junk food for good!” If this sounds a lot like your latest mantra, you’re in the right place. With goals like these, it’s easy to begin bringing healthy foods into the home. However, people often overlook the fact that in order to eat healthier, you must also eliminate existing problem foods. In this beginner’s guide, I’ve outlined easy ways to rid your kitchen of unhealthy foods and begin your new, revamped diet and lifestyle.
Begin With a Purge
Rule of thumb to eating healthy? Eliminate access to unhealthy foods and rid yourself of the temptation to indulge in junk food. The first step in creating a healthy kitchen environment is to toss the foods that are blatantly bad for you. Begin with a full kitchen sweep by doing a walk-through of the entire kitchen (freezer, secret stashes, and cookie jars included). In modern kitchens, the biggest culprits are processed food such as candy and potato chips. Take a deep breath, because for many of us, getting rid of treats requires some serious willpower! Grab all of the unhealthy foods out of your kitchen and toss them or donate them.
This step isn’t exactly the easiest, but you’ll feel better knowing that your kitchen is slowly becoming a safe space!
Educate Yourself to Make Better Food Choices
Do your research. Phrases like “zero carbs,” or “100-calorie-pack” do not always equate to being healthy. Just because something has a low calorie count, it could be high in fats and sugars. Another item may have zero fat, but can be packed with sodium and preservatives. When you learn to read a nutrition label and understand the information provided, you’ll be more
likely to consume foods that can actually nourish and benefit you.
To follow, know that more often than not, perimeter shopping is the key to unlocking a healthier grocery trip. Perimeter shopping means that you’ll stick to shopping outside of the aisles. Within the aisles are often the processed foods, snacks, and sugary, impulsive items. Most grocery stores will put their deli section, fresh fruits and vegetable section, as well as other fresh food sections on the outskirts. By shopping mostly amongst these outskirts, you have a greater chance of leaving the grocery store with fresh and healthy whole food options.
Find Alternatives to Your Old Junk Food Habits
Now that you’ve purged your kitchen and are making steps to shopping smarter and healthier, you’ll need to prepare yourself to fight or tame temptation. Take some time to identify the junk foods you love. Is it chocolate? Maybe salty potato chips? Maybe it’s the gummy bear stash
you’ve hidden in the pantry? When we recognize what foods have become our weaknesses, we can begin to analyze what exactly it is we want from them. Cravings for sugar, for example are one of the most common that a person can have. Instead of having candy on hand, replace it with an arrangement of fresh fruit. If you’re craving a salty snack, perhaps a spoonful of peanut butter can satiate your craving. If you’re craving something fatty, an avocado on toast may be a great solution.
When we replace problem foods with healthier alternatives, we begin to train our bodies to acclimate and thus begin the journey towards a better diet.
Take It Slow
With these tools at hand, you’ve got all you need to begin the shift towards a healthier kitchen environment. Remember, that sometimes, lifestyle changes like this can take some adjustment time. Take your time, remember this guide, and listen to your body. Use your intuition and dig
deep to find your willpower to foster a great environment for your health journey
Two years ago, I started my own silent campaign against sugar. I always prided myself on the fact that I had little to null sugar cravings. I am definitely more into savory things than sweet, yet I always had at least two teaspoons of sugar in my morning lattes. When my husband would sneak a sip, he would quickly drop the cup citing, “way, way too sweet.” I swear, I’m not a big dessert person and if there is no ice cream in the house, I don’t miss it.
But the sweetness of the coffee was always in my thoughts especially when I saw other people having coffee without sugar. I wondered how they could possibly enjoy coffee without sugar. Then one day, I took the plunge: I skipped the two teaspoons of sugar and simply kept going and never looked back. Now, if I go to a coffee house and order a specialty coffee drink, I immediately tell them, no syrup or hold the sugar. I can’t even drink orange juice anymore unless I water it down because my taste buds have become so sensitive to sweet.
Eliminating the sugar from my coffee made me think about all the other food we eat that contain hidden sugar, like sandwich bread, salad dressings, alcohol etc. I now read every label to be sure that I am not getting added sugar in my foods. I use honey carefully, my one vice-ok, two if you count wine! I’d rather get my sugar while savoring a deliciously prepared healthy meal. So, I haven’t quit cold turkey, but my body has definitely experienced the difference in a totally positive way. I feel more energetic than ever. The long term effects will be even better, like staving of diseases like diabetes and cancer (sugar is cancer’s best friend, btw.)
See this article from the NY times and get more information about taking a month long challenge to eliminate sugar from your diet. The method: no scales & clean eating to rebalance your hormones and eliminate your food cravings.
We know that quitting smoking lowers your risk for smoking-related diseases and can add years to your life. Although it’s not an easy habit to kick, with all the available information out there about smoking and cancer, it is not a habit conducive to a healthy lifestyle. Enough said.
According to new research published in JAMA Internal Medicine, a moderate exercise routine, starting with walking just 150 minutes per week can increase your lifetime by 20%. That’s pretty amazing when you consider how easy it is!
Learning what foods to avoid and consume for maximum health benefits including weight loss is key to a healthy lifestyle and longevity.
Lastly, everyday stress increases our susceptibly to an array of maladies, including cancer. It is especially dangerous in women as they progress through life's stages. Hormonal imbalance associated with premenstrual, post-partum, premenopausal, menopausal and post menopausal changes can affect chemical vulnerability to stress and depression.
Here's To Healthy on You,
Healthy on You will provide you techniques to manage your stress on a daily basis and give you the tools to refresh your body and mind! Contact me below for your free consultation, Gift Certificates also available.
Healthy On You Recipes and cooking tips by Samantha Binkley. Many of these recipes use Samantha's 100% Organic Spice Blends that take the guess work out of cooking.