by Brenna Cavazos
Healthy eating means something a little different to everyone. So when your goal is to get your family “eating healthier” it may be really hard to figure out what that is. This post (and future posts) should help you take some steps towards a healthier diet. Keep in mind there is no “bad” or “good” food, only “effective” and “ineffective” foods. An ineffective food will not help you reach your goals (but may be an effective food at other times). An effective food will enhance your health and help you reach your goals.
Firstly, you’ll want to become a label-reader. Adjust your glasses, get your iPhone out (if you have a Samsung just stop reading, you have other problems)(jkjkjk) and start googling ingredients. Start comparing. Learn how to read a nutrition label. Get wise to the marketing tricks of the people who don’t give two flying figs about your health and only want your money. Things you want to care about on labels- serving size, fat/protein/carbs(added sugar), ingredients. A bottle of “healthy, green tea” from our beloved HEB will cost you 38 grams of sugar per bottle but the label breaks it down into serving size so to the unwise consumer the bottle only has 19grams of sugar (which is still a lot). The ingredients tip you off when you read them- first: water, second: sugar, third *less than 2% of green tea and everything else they’ve put in and fourth: zero of that zen feeling you thought you were going to get. So you’re basically drinking sugar water; congrats, you’re a humming bird now. Same goes for fat free substitutes. Read those labels. Oftentimes, the fat free versions of your fav foods may have the same amount of calories because they’ve taken out the fat and replaced it with… dun dun dun… SUGAR. I’ll take a smaller serving size of something with more fat and better taste than more added sugar, thanks.
Secondly, learn how to cook vegetables. Make them taste good. Make it a spiritual experience. Let the Sugar Snap Pea be your spirit guide as you saute it with a little bit of butter. Be amazed at the colorful vibrancy of chopped vegetables as they go from fresh to steamed. Bake your broccoli with s&p and a drizzle of olive oil from the Holy Land and revel in it’s crunchitastity. Chop up one or two strips of bacon and toss it with a bunch of brussel sprouts and watch your brain explode from all the EXTREME HEALTH & EXTREME NUTRITION & EXTREME TASTE and you’ll soon be floating on your kitchen ceiling above your now totally healthy body wondering on all the things you’ve missed out on in life by not eating brussel sprouts because they are the tiny holy baby cabbages of this weird, vegetable spirit world I made up.
Vegetables also make great fillers and personally I live by the belief that vegetables don’t even count to my daily calorie consumption. I know that’s not entirely true but most of us are barely getting one serving of fresh Veg a day- imagine if you just started filling up every meal with vegetables. Shove them down until you learn to love them. If you make Mexican rice- add a buttload of green & red peppers & onion. If you make spaghetti, cut up a squash or two or six and cook them with your sauce and while you’re at it add an onion, a pepper, whatever else you got. Make a taco bowl and fill that bowl up with cabbage (way better tasting, crunchier, and more nutrient dense than lettuce) tomatoes and cilantro. Go crazy. You will feel full, satisfied, less bloated and you’ll radiate health. To be fair, you’ll probably radiate some gas too.
THIRDLY, quit the fast food BS. You know whats wrong with fast food? Besides all the weird, non-food ingredients, horrible storage and cooking conditions, the insane amount of calories straight up from fats and sugar and strange test-tube, footless-wingless protein sources? You eat too much of it and your own food will never be as satisfying. You’ll never get that super delicious yet disgusting taste at home in your own food. Because you don’t even have the storage space in your cabinet for that much salt or oil. Kick that habit of going through the fast food line and watch how your body goes into withdrawal (which should tell you something)… how you’ll want more and more (you’re an addict)… and how those cravings will gradually subside. Your own food will taste better, your heart won’t be struggling to beat because it’s arteries will be pumping with happiness at their new lease on life, your armpits will smell better (seriously, do a sniff check after you eat fast food, do you know how many people smell like fries at the gym? And if you didn’t know people smell like fries at the gym it’s probably cause you smell like fries at the gym, just saying :P) (and yes you smell mildly delicious but still). And if you’re a regular fast food eater I bet you 10 bucks you’ll even lose weight and feel less tired at the end of one fast-food free month.
Lastly, stop being a baby and drink water. Have you ever seen the meme that says water in the middle of the night tastes like it was poured straight from God’s personal pond? That’s because water is our elixir of life. We are 60% water. We are basically very complicated cucumbers. Just do it. Just drink it, man. Pumping your body full of water (not soda, juice, or energy drinks) is like giving your bod an oil change. All your basic functions will basically function better.
So, we’ve established you need to learn to read your nutrition labels, learn how to deliciously cook your spirit vegetables so they can fully experience their destiny (and you can too), quit your addiction to fast food, and drink your water. These are just 4 tips to start living a little healthier. Try implementing them all or just one or two. Slowly change your lifestyle to one that enhances your life and brings you more energy, focus, less pain.
Seriously. Drink your water.