There are so many steps to take to live a healthier lifestyle, but a few stand out as simpler choices that will help you to start walking in the right direction. Although we’ve heard it all before, focusing on a few key concepts to kick it into gear may be all we need to begin to take notice and initiate change. So here goes, the InnerMom list- some food for thought…
1. Make a decision today to become what Dr. Joel Fuhrman has coined a “Nutritarian.” Exactly what does this mean? Simply put it means you make your food choices based on their nutritional value, aware that these choices will impact your health as well as your longevity. Too often, in the crazy pace of our life we eat mindlessly, easily forgetting that food is the fuel that supplies our body with what it needs to carry us through our life. So each day think to yourself, “What have I eaten that is feeding my life? What have I eaten that is just taking up valuable real estate in my digestive tract?”
2. Start reading labels. Anything that you take out of your pantry or refrigerator should be viewed suspiciously. For example, at what point in our lives did we become comfortable eating food that has the word “artificial’ in the ingredient list. It wasn’t long ago that I would just grab stuff of the shelves without really questioning the contents. How complacent have we become in our dietary choices that we are comfortable putting anything ARTIFICIAL into our body? Food should be real, consist of identifiable ingredients and have some nutritional value. To drive my point home, the next time you are at a supermarket, go to the aisle where the breadcrumbs line the shelves and pick up a can of “plain” breadcrumbs. What should be in “plain” breadcrumbs? You know, like the ones you would by at an Italian Deli, that are made out of… bread. Well, obviously, in a perfect world the ingredients would be- bread. My sons have a lot of allergies so I need to read an ingredient list very carefully. I cannot by breadcrumbs off the shelf because even the “plain” breadcrumbs have so many unidentifiable ingredients in them; I am blurry-eyed every time I need to read through my options. It has become very complicated to purchase even the simplest products, so we need to keep our eyes open. Real food isn’t complicated…
3. Eat a powerful, nutrient dense breakfast. Our grandparents knew this was important, our parents knew this was important, and somewhere along the way we lost this info in the crazy pace of our lives. Studies show that people that eat a solid, healthy, balanced breakfast are healthier, have fewer cravings throughout their day and make wiser food choices; in addition eating a healthy breakfast decreases your risk of heart disease, insulin resistance, obesity and decreased mental performance, in ourselves and in our children. Just Google – breakfast study and heart disease, breakfast study and attention, breakfast study and the words Harvard, Yale, or the Mayo Clinic- and see what pops up. This is science, not theory.
4. Slow it down. Are you burning through every day of your life- always wishing you had more time? We are all, no doubt, living crazy, busy, frazzled, stress-filled lives. We have very little time for ourselves as we rush from one appointment/commitment to the next- always hoping that this will magically shift at some point and our life balance will change. The truth is, we all have only 24 hours in the day. No more, no less. So first and foremost we need to acknowledge that the pace is unacceptable and then make a decision to slow it all down. It is possible. I was caught up on that hamster wheel, and I jumped off and implemented gradual changes into my day-to-day that have enabled me to live a less harried life. And it is marvelous.
5. Use smaller plates. This visual shift has a definitive impact on how much we eat. Researchers Brian Wansink and Koert van Ittersum conducted a study that the size of the plate you use actually effects how much you eat. The larger plate not only causes us to serve ourselves more food, it also tricks us into believing we have eaten less. After I became aware of this study, I immediately headed over to Target and bought a few smaller dinner plates. I so I speak from experience when I say that this does make a difference in how much you eat at each meal. Try it- and see for yourself.
6. Spend more time in the produce department and less in the center of your supermarket. The average supermarket is designed to have the real food on the sides and back of the store and the processed packaged foods in the middle aisles- and that is where you need to take your reading glasses out. In the infamous words of Michael Pollan, “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants”- seven very simple words that sum it all up in a very powerful way.
Dr. Joel Fuhrman http://www.drfuhrman.com/library/are-you-a-nutritarian.aspx
Michael Pollan http://michaelpollan.com/books/in-defense-of-food