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Quick Tips To Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle

By: Ron Lagerquist

I have been tempted to publish some of the following tips on fridge magnets as daily eye-level reminders. These little personal mottos have been accumulated over the last 20 years of trial and error. Some of them have more to do with tweaking my emotional approach to dietary change than more practical issues like how to read a label. But do not be fooled. Human emotions can trip up the best intentions, and these are real tips on how to effectively manage them.

We have said this before: emotional management skills are as important to success as nutritional knowledge. I suggest you read the following tips, print the ones that really shout out to you, and hang them up on your fridge door.

Allow Time To Retrain Your Taste Buds

Spoon-feed your baby salt-free, sugar-free pablum or pureed fruit and tiny tastbuds will eat it up, as long as you have not previously conditioned their palate by adding salt and sugar to their food. Often mothers add sugar and salt to baby food because of how bland it tastes to them, not realizing to a baby’s uncorrupted mouth, plain food is flavorful and delicious. The good news is, over time we can revert back to enjoying the natural flavors found in whole foods.

One of the things that is essential to this transition is the reduction of salt in your saliva. Because most of us consume so much salt in our foods, our saliva actually tastes salty, making low-salt food taste bland and boring. It is just a matter of a few weeks of cutting back salt intake before natural foods start tasting richer.

I remember trying some salt and vinegar chips, (once a favorite of mine) a few days after a 30-day juice fast. Just a few chips burned my mouth. It tasted terrible. Could you imagine feeding your little baby a salt and vinegar chip. They would scrunch their face up and spit it out. And to think I used to eat the stuff by the bowl full.

Be Patient

Good things come to those who wait. Fat loss, muscle toning, increased metabolism, detoxification, reversed aging, clear skin and enhanced energy all take time. It’s not all going to happen after two fruit salads and three brisk walks, so relax and learn contentment. If you think happiness is a great body, you will be waiting a long time. A calm, unhurried, thankful state, maintained through lots of quiet moments where you stop the race and spiritually regroup is the ticket. Turn off the music and TV, close the door, pull the car over, sort through the voices in your head. Replace the negative fear-based stuff with thankfulness. Remember, success is rooted in patience. Make the right changes and over time your body will take care of the rest.

Read Labels

Look for light, healthy harvest, salt-reduced, whole-wheat, low-fat, good source of fiber, nutritious, eight essential nutrients, low in sugar, twelve-grain. Forget the big bold letters on the front; the real story is the tiny print on the back. Bring your reading glasses to the grocery store because the small print is of grave concern to every cell in your body.

By law, ingredients must be listed in order of amounts. But beware when a product uses different sugars, allowing other seemingly healthier ingredients to be listed first when in actual volume, there is more sugar. Most of all, the fewer unpronounceable names the better, and often, the shorter the list of ingredients the healthier. With practice you will become expert at reading labels. And if an ingredient is unfamiliar, write it down and google it when you get home. It’s worth knowing.

Eat Slowly

It takes time for your tummy to notify your brain that it’s no longer hungry. Eating slowly and chewing your food well improves digestion, helps break impulsive eating, and goes a long way in aligning caloric intake to metabolic demand.

Enjoy Eating

Consider for a moment the things we take for granted. Great shoes, toasters, Wikipedia, form-fitting diapers, and the finest foods shipped from the four corners of the world. Ninety-three-year-old Grandma Lagerquist reminisces about when getting one handmade dress and a red apple on a snowy Christmas day was a wonder and joy. Eat slowly and enjoy every bite. Thank God, no I mean really thank Him for the food you are eating. Take time in your grocery store and rediscover the earth’s bounty. Stand among melons and berries with arms uplifted in celebration of a multifaceted God!  

Eat According To Activity

It is a simple equation: calories eaten minus calories burned, the remainder becomes stored as fat. So if you enjoy eating, increase your activity

Drink lots of water

A good rule of thumb is if your urine is a dark color, you are not getting enough water. Urine should be slightly colored or clear.

Wash food

Wash all fruits and vegetables well. Peel when possible. A study done by Southwestern Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas revealed that washing and peeling removed all traces of pesticides from more than half the seventeen fruits and vegetables tested. Swirl food in a diluted solution of natural dish soap and water, one teaspoon to a gallon of lukewarm water. Wash a bunch all at the same time, then rinse.

Choose Organic When Possible

The availability of organically grown food is happily on the rise as more people are becoming concerned with the chemicals used on their produce. Hopefully, as the market grows, prices will fall, encouraging more people to come on board.  Buy what you can afford. For instance, organic bananas are only about 10 cents more a pound. And watch for the sales.

Keep It Simple

Don’t get caught up in all the latest fashion miracle supplements, food combining and other complicated systems. If it isn’t simple and easy, chances are it will not last more than a week. Increasing raw food in your diet is about as simple as it gets.

Eat Supper as a Family

Eating is a wonderful way of connecting. If your family is too busy to sit down together for at least one meal a day, then your life is too hectic. Eating on the fly most of the time usually results in a poor diet and compulsive overeating.  

Be Prepared

Prepare foods in advance to take to work so you are not eating from the snack truck. Spend a Saturday in the kitchen making healthful meals to freeze in single or family portions for a future busy day. 

Eat What Is Offered At Social Occasions

Do not allow your diet to isolate you from social events. A small amount of less-than-perfect food will not hurt you and will save offending others and show that you are not a fanatic. Freely enjoy what is placed before you. Tip: go easy on the gravy.

Have Healthy Snack Foods In Your Workout Bag, Purse Or Car

I am the most susceptible to hitting McDonalds just after a hard leg workout. My hunger is so intense, I can barely make it home for supper. Having some raw nuts, a Cliff bar or banana in my gym bag has been the ticket—just enough to get me home to a healthy supper.

Choose Healthy Fast Foods

You are going to eat fast food from time to time so take the time to discover some healthy sources. Veggie subs on whole grain, pitas, and Wendy’s chili and baked potato are some examples. You may even have a whole foods market that sells great fast meals. Once you have done the work of discovery, new GPS habits will do the rest.

Make Healthy Snacking Easy

Leave a large bowl of washed fruits within reach for family and kids wanting a quick bite between meals. Dried fruit, like raisins, or unsalted mixed nuts make a great fast snack.  Don’t forget to load up for those long car rides. Homemade healthy cookies are always a hit and help quiet the backseat cries for fries.

Get Enough Sleep

A simple fact: If you are overtired, you’re more likely to compulsively eat. Being well rested affects everything, including your emotional state, which affects your diet. Get seven to eight hours of sleep a night, and take an afternoon nap if you’re active. That 20-minute nap makes all the difference to my day. It’s like rebooting my brain--things run better afterward. 

Look For Good-Tasting Healthy Alternatives

When the feeling of restriction overpowers the excitement of better health, there will be failure. It just will not be worth the pain. So if there was any way to put enjoyment, even fun into healthy change, I am sure you would eat it up.

You have heard this before, healthy food does not have to taste bad. I remember the first time I bit into a soy burger. The package promised, “You can’t tell the difference.” Well I could! It was a far cry from my beloved Big Mac, in fact the thing really didn’t compare to any burger I had ever tasted. Have you ever drank a glass of water only to discover it was coke? Even though you like coke, the first reaction is to spit it out because it was not what you were expecting.

 I believe it is counterproductive to offer a healthy facsimile and try to make it look and taste like something we crave. Well-meaning wives have put to death any hope of their husbands being open to a healthier supper, by trying to “get something by them.” To those men, health now tastes like a really bad burger.

Soy ice cream, sugar free, low fat, salt free, all sounds good, but if it tastes nasty, then forget it. The problem is the food industry knows people are wanting to eat better so they have gotten on the health craze bandwagon and created health-junk food that tastes like cardboard. Fat-free chips or pop sweetened with chemicals taste bad and are not good for you. Fat and sugar are safer to consume than the chemicals added to mutate fat-free or sugar-free junk food into something palatable. Natural whole foods are full of taste and color, your mouth just needs a little time to adjust.

Related Article: List of the Most Nutritious Foods

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