eating for health and warding off disease

At some point in our lives, whether it be when we are in middle school or thirty years old, we realize that we are in control of our overall health, both internal and external. We may or may not do good things with this new realization, but most of us strive to. Many times we agonize over what is going to make us look fabulous on the outside. The perfect hair color. The longest lashes. A soft youthful complexion. Ok so obviously we want to obtain those things. When it comes to our bodies, many people control their appearance based on calories which is great, but only with great care. Having one meal a day and starving the rest of the time, or eating a slim nutrient deficient diet to stay slim is NOT the way to go. Of course, eating this way may produce timely results, but it won’t do any good for our bodies for the long haul. Overtime, this could start to impact, say, our skin, our hair, and our energy levels, which is completely the opposite of what we were after to begin with! It isn’t easy at first, but eating for health is the very most important thing we could do for our health. All the rest will follow. I say this because when you start to care about what you eat, it forces you to value yourself enough to ward off toxic things that don’t belong on your plate. Then, you start to adopt other great habits that will all contribute to making you look and feel beautiful!

It’s baffling to think that even with crude medical technology that has evolved immensely over the last few decades, folks are living to 100 and beyond. This is sometimes the case regardless of the cigarettes and other “typical” disease causers.  These are people who were born and raised in the early 1900’s. Think about that for a minute. Think about how far food has come (and I don’t mean that in a good way). There’s a good chance these people were eating simple farm fresh products. They may not have been eating superfood cacao nibs shipped in from the heart of South America, but you can bet they weren’t ingesting an abundance of chemicals and preservatives like we do now. It appears that more and more people are getting diagnosed with a laundry list of diseases the further along we get, and I feel strongly that it’s due to so many additives and corners cut. We are used to not caring about the lists of ingredients because the majority of them contain many things we don’t recognize, so what’s the difference? Well. A big one.

Understanding how much food impacts our health is vital to believing it. If you look at the colon, it runs through your entire core. It is where your fuel is turned into energy. Then, it sends love to all of your other body parts, all the way out to your skin and to the tips of those long gorgeous lashes. All those things we hear about vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are relevant, even though we can’t see it with our eyes. They work to make us look and feel our best. If we don’t eat and drink a variety of simple, pure colorful foods from the earth, replacing that with processed garbage, it will eventually catch up with us down to a cellular level. Unfortunately, this nutrition-void environment we create when we eat badly is the perfect place for pathogens to hang out causing us to be sick and unhealthy. Also, unhealthy overly acidic tissue (which is what we end up with if we don’t eat enough alkaline to balance things out; see fab guide here) nourishes cancer which is obviously a fear for many of us. Now, I haven’t been through med school but I believe this to be true. Research for yourself. It’s important.

So what to eat? What not to eat? Tips! 

No more fake sugar. It’s proven to be horrible for you. Yes, you may think you are saving a few calories but it is not worth it. As you adopt this new lifestyle, you will be able to afford a bit of sugar, and still be so much better off and probably thinner than if you’d kept with the diet soda. Many people love flavored coffee creamers from the store. Investigate how to make your own. Simple syrup is the base of all coffee shop drinks; which is sugar and water cooked down. Add in vanilla, almond or any other extract to make your own sweet coffee addition. Add a little organic half and half and some of your homemade syrup. If you can, only add a little which will cut down your calories. +bonus, you can add cacao powder to coconut oil and a little cane sugar to make mocha. Add espresso or coffee and half and half and you have a delicious simple homemade inexpensive mocha! On soda, get with the times, it’s horrible for you. If you like the taste, try adding a little juice to Perrier or another mineral water. You never know what you will get addicted to, leaving that junk in the past! Huge difference for your health.

Colorful snack foods. As a mom, I struggle with what to put in my girls’ lunches. When we are at Costco, they ask for bright orange chips and “fruit” snacks that are literally bright green and blue. Ok. They are kids and I get that putting them in a food bubble will only turn into a disaster once they can make their own decisions. However, I feel like they have so much artificial crap outside of home that it’s my job to try to feed them super healthy the majority of the time. Packaged foods are convenient, no doubt, but they are often bad for us, and if nothing else, not enriching us in any way. Nuts, cut up veggies, cut up fruit, homemade granola, greek yogurt, small sandwiches made with simple fresh whole grain bread and hormone-free meat are just a few ideas. The simpler the better. You know your kids. Find the healthy things that they like and send that instead of junk food. Push natural earth made colors, not artificial ones. Oh yeah, same for you. Pack a little almond butter and an apple and you won’t even be tempted to go to the vending machine.

Raw. Vegetables are filled with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Fruit too but we have to monitor how much sugar we take in, even from fruit. In reality, if we eat a good amount of fruit, we really shouldn’t be eating other sources of sugar because carbohydrates also turn into sugar and then we are just one sugar bomb. Eat at least 50% raw if you can. For the other 50%, eat simply. Eat grilled veggies, beans, nuts, lean meats, and good fats. Limit carbs. Try Quinoa instead of rice. Try spaghetti squash instead of spaghetti. If you like the real deal, just limit, eat slow, and enjoy!

Sweets. If you have a sweet tooth, fruit probably won’t cut it. If it can, great! Have a fruit smoothie with almond milk instead of sweetened juice, or maybe a cup of hand squeezed juice. +you can even sneak greens into your sweet cup of juice if you juice or blend it yourself. If you crave more, figure out a healthy alternative of what you crave. If you crave chocolate, see here for a fab chocolate recipe. If you crave baked goods, maybe you could try adding in less sugar than the recipe calls for, or cook with almond or coconut flour in lieu of white bleached flour. I love granola but it has so much sugar and calories. I made my own. 1/2 the honey, and still delicious. See here.

Alcohol. Oh sweet end of day retreat after a long day of kicking fanny at everything. As with anything, we have to have moderation. Not only can alcohol adversely impact you in a number of ways when it comes to health, but it turns to sugar. If your favorite cocktail is compiled of a sugary mix, it may be good to limit yourself only to one. Or, maybe you could find a healthier alternative. Perhaps instead of adding soda, add mineral water. Also, whether or not we drink alcohol, soda, tons of juice or even an abundance of milk, water should be the majority. Water will help flush the bad stuff, and process the good. Drink at least half your weight in ounces, everyday.

It’s important for us to take a step back and cleanse every so often. Adding healthy fitness habits are great, but remember diet is such a key piece. It takes a lot of control and thought but becomes easier as we learn what good and bad foods do for our health. If we only have one body and one life, we should be our best. We should also teach our kids. Be well.

XO

Jessie

P.S. One of my goals is to naturalize my non-food products that I use. I am not 100% there yet but taking steps! One of my favorite hair, body, and face revelations has been Kopari. They offer organic, pure, clean beauty products, moisturizers, cleansers, and even shimmer which I love. Add a little on your collar bones for a little extra glow! Check it out.

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