Being healthy has always been important to me, even as a child I shied away from candy and sugary sweets because I knew how it would affect my teeth. As I grew older and became aware of the illnesses of people close to me, I started my mission to live healthy. It wasn’t hard because I set a clear no nonsense goal that I continue to keep in mind at all times. Below are some of the tips that I use to keep me on the right track to being healthy.
1. Reduce your salt intake. I can’t remember how young I was when I found out my mother suffered from hypertension, but I remember that she stopped using salt and tried to lessen her stress. As a result of her not using much salt in our foods, my taste buds are satisfied with less salt.
2. Live without cheese. The thought of eating processed rotten milk sometimes helps me reduce my craving for cheese. I also don’t go down the cheese aisle at the grocery store, if I never see it there is less of a temptation to buy it.
3. Try to avoid the processed food section in the grocery store. Many of the processed foods are full of preservatives that are not the healthiest foods for our bodies to digest. The best way to be healthy is to train yourself to like healthy foods. So if you like sweets, instead of going for cookies or cake, try kiwis and pineapple slices.
4. Eat Green Leafy Vegetables. Whether collard greens, spinach, Kale, turnip greens or others, green leafy vegetables provide a host of vitamins needed by our bodies including vitamin D.
5. Drink 100% juice. Refined sugar causes a lot of health problems, so if you must have something to drink avoid sugary drinks like soda and opt for tea, or water.
6. Drink water. Drinking water helps flush out impurities in our bodies. It is also the best thirst quencher.
7. Cook your own meals. Instead of eating out, try cooking for yourself. It is a great way to know exactly how much sugar or sodium you are taking into your body. Use low sodium products, and try to buy foods that are as natural as possible.
- Skip the butter. In some foods you can replace it with olive oil. In others you can just do without it all together.
- Opt for Olive Olive or Vegetable oil. When sauteing food, use olive oil and don’t add a large amount. When you use nonstick frying pans you really on need a cap full.
- Don’t deep fry any of your foods. Instead of frying food, try baking it. Baking also is great because many ovens allow you to set your timer and return when the food is done.
- Have at least 2 vegetables with every meal. It is easy to load your plate with starches. However, the food pyramid is our friend. A little of this and a little of that. No matter what, though, moderation is the key.
- Use honey or agave nectar to sweeten your food. There are many natural substitutes to white refined sugar. In our house we use honey and on rare occasions we use brown sugar or pure maple syrup. Depending on the item, I have also used molasses which is full of iron.
- If you have to use some salt, use a little sea salt. Try to keep your foods as close to its original state as possible. Sea salt and table salt with iodine both can and should be used in moderation. Both also contain essential minerals that our bodies need.
- Try a variety of seasons and spices besides salt and sugar. The more you play with different spices the easier it will become for you to make your food tasty with them. Some of my favorites are dill weed, parsley, paprika, curry, turmeric, basil, cinnamon, and mint.
- Use cayenne pepper instead of black pepper. Cayenne pepper helps with the bodies circulation and it helps stimulate digestion. Also remember, cayenne pepper is very potent so when using it, only a dash will do.
- Use minimum amounts of diary products. Many foods are fortified with vitamin D. In our home we often use Silk soymilk as a replacement for cows milk. There are also other milk alternatives like Almond and Rice milk. Health food stores also have vegan cheese and other products that can help people that are in transition from using dairy products.
- Buy fresh and organic when possible. Grow your own food and you won’t have to worry about all the recalls out there. You will also be more likely to enjoy the fruits of your labor if you spent a lot of hard work trying to grow it. Buying organic meat and fish are a necessity these days, so support your local farmers.
8. Exercise. Walk or bike with your family. There are many activities that help you have fun and move such as tennis, soccer, volleyball, Frisbee, etc.
9. Think positively. Sometimes it is not just things that we take into our bodies causing us to be unhealthy.
10. Enjoy the fresh air and they get some good rest. Being outside helps rejuvenate the body. A little sun, but not too much is important for helping us get our vitamin D. Vitamin D also helps to keep our immune systems strong. Additionally, don’t over work yourself, take a break when needed because our bodies need ample rest.
Lastly, we as parents must regain the health of our families because it is not only our responsibility to keep our children and spouses healthy by serving nutritious foods, but also exercising and thinking positively. If you are on a journey to be healthy, please leave a comment and let me know.
I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and WeightWatchers SmartOnes blogging program, making me eligible to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.
Good food just does something to heart when ...