“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
The Healthy On You Mother's Day cooking class with Benziger Wine pairings was a huge success. What a lovely time we all had learning to cook these delicious and healthy recipes. It was a gorgeous afternoon for walking through the gardens and playing with the chickens! We worked for three hours on preparing the May menu which consisted of the Chilled Strawberry Coconut Soup, an Avocado Beet Stack with Smoked Salmon, Arugula and Cauliflower Puree, a Farmer's Market Pappardelle Salad with perfectly seared Scallops and lastly the Rhubarb Galette with a Strawberry and Lavender Glaze.
Afterwards, we all sat down to dinner with each recipe paired with the perfect selection from Benziger Winery. We all had our favorites-the Merlot was perfectly paired with the Farmer's Market Pappardelle with the beautiful fruity flavors. The Rose was excellent with the Strawberry Coconut Soup and the Chardonnay simply complimented the Avocado Beet Stack, bringing out the earthy richness of the fresh beets and avocado.
It was lovely to watch the interaction between Mother and Daughter in this very unique class on such a special day. I thanked the ladies for spending their day with me and my lovely daughter as we experience a healthy food and wine experience abut most of all- togetherness.
Get Healthy On You® - sign-up for the Healthy On You® newsletter today
We all know running is good for you but now there is solid evidence that suggests it really does increase your lifespan. Exactly how much? The data is clear, for every hour of running, seven additional hours are added to your lifespan. Just think if you made an investment of a dollar and got seven in return?? That's pretty good! And this seven hour increase is real even if you drink, smoke and lead an unhealthy lifestyle...now that is a testament to the incredible power of running.
I run and do a light jog several times per week in additional to all my other physical activities like dance and spin classes. Mixing it up is key for me to stave off injury while keeping in shape. Why running has the most benefits in increasing lifespan over any other exercise is unclear except that its a high intensity aerobic activity that that strengthens your heart and targets dangerous belly fat. That's reason alone to push yourself to train to run at least 5-10minutes several times a week, more if you are physically able- A 20-30 minute run is ideal but the benefits of longevity top out at about 3 years! Read more in this article.
Get Healthy On You® - sign-up for the Healthy On You® newsletter today
I love preparing my own fruit and vegetable smoothies at home. This past weekend, when I was coming down with a bad cold, I juiced a mixture of two inches of ginger, with kale and chard (from my garden), frozen pineapple cubes, an orange and coconut water to help get me back on track. It not only tasted great, but the ginger is so healing and good for you that I automatically got a boost of energy and was feeling better.
I always advocate drinking your vegetables because sometimes it’s difficult to squeeze in the recommended 5-9 servings of fruit and vegetables per day. If you have a traditional juicer or a high-powered blender, they both will do the job well but believe it or not, there's a big difference between the two. A traditional juicer extracts water and juice from fruits and vegetables and leaves you with soluble fiber. The insoluble fiber, like the skin and core of an apple is discarded in this process. This makes the juice easily digestible and easier to to consume. For people with a sensitive digestive system this is a great way to achieve or even exceed the required servings of fruit and vegetables per day. The bad news is, you lose the fibrous materials (insoluble fiber) and your body quickly absorbs the nutrients. The sugars in the juice goes straight into your blood stream and spikes your sugar levels. If you are diabetic, juicing is not right for you, especially high sugar vegetables like beets and carrots.
Hope you had a wonderful, stress-free December! As much as I tried to focus on the true meaning of the holidays and spending time with friends and family, I still found myself scrambling to complete my shopping list, attending events (sometimes multiple in one evening.) Not to mention the guilt associated with being completely thrown off my exercise program-all leading to stress!
Now its time to focus on the new year, new beginnings and rejuvenation. Below are a few tips I'd like to share to get you back on track mentally and physically! Please comment if you have a great tip to share!
1. Bust your sugar addiction! This means limiting your daily sugar intake to under 40g. That's the amount in one bottle of those so called smoothies like Odwalla.
2. Is your goal this year to lose weight? Whether you are focusing on the pound or two you may have gained during the holidays or have an ongoing weight problem, start by getting healthy. Healthy changes that take place over time turn into lifelong habits, so go easy on yourself. Start by committing to eating more vegetables (3 servings per day), then gradually reduce your red meat intake. Another good start is incorporating "meatless Mondays" into your meal planning!
3. Get More Exercise. Even though the data suggest that your diet has more impact on your weight than how much time you exercise, physical activity is excellent for your brain and heart. Make sure you make time for yourself to move daily. Get a fit bit or utilize all the new mobile apps that track your fitness. Commit yourself to a routine that includes walking, yoga, pilates-even zumba. It all adds up.
4. Set a goal and plan ahead. How about that 10k you've been wanting to run? Even if you're not in the best shape, being in a group that is determined and excited to exercise will help you along. Not to mention the high you feel when you cross the finish line! Alternately, your goal may be to go on a challenging hike with friends once a month. Whatever you choose, plan to make it successful.
5. Start a Garden! I know, I know...you may not have the time. But you can start small and grow in pots. Gardening is meditative and restorative for many people. It's a great stress buster too! Not only is it helpful in helping you eat more vegetable, its great if you like to juice. I keep an entire garden just for juicing with many kale varieties, carrots, beets and fennel.
Need a Health Coach to get you through the year? Get Healthy on You, sign-up now for your free consultation!
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.