Our relationship with food is easily the most intimate one we have. Sound crazy? Think about it, the food we ingest becomes our body – making up our blood, brain, lungs, and every part of us. Providing your body with the building blocks it needs means that you’re going to feel FABULOUS – looking FANTASTIC is also a welcome side effect. Nothing is sexier than a healthy body.
In the spirit of LOVE month, here are 7 tips your body will LOVE you for and 5 ingredients to AVOID like the plague.
7 Tips Your Body will LOVE you for:
Eat Your Colors – We have to thank Mother Nature for color-coding our nutrients for us. Phytonutrients (“phyto” means plant) and antioxidants (stops damage-causing oxidation in the body) are bountiful in colorful fruits and vegetables. Challenge yourself to eat a rainbow every day. Kids will love to do this with you.
Eat Organic, Seasonal, and Local – Focus on whole foods that are local, in season, and organic. Eating this way means your food is fresher not to mention you support your local farmers and economy. Check out the list of the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen on The Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org) page and make sure you’re following those guidelines. Also visit www.eatwild.org for more comprehensive information on good quality animal products.
Move Your Body for FUN – Think about the last time you were moving around and having so much fun you had no idea you were exercising. Now find ways to incorporate that into your life. Results in your body achieved through pain will not last. Exercise doesn’t have to be the cookie cutter approach we tend to think of. It can be dancing, working in the yard, playing with kids, a day on the slopes, or anything that involves movement and fun.
Breathe – Did you know your energy comes from your cells? Oxygen is one of the 4 nutrients every cell in your body needs to be healthy and create energy. Breathing is one of the easiest and most powerful practices for health transformation. Try to do some intentional breathing exercises when you wake up and go to bed so it becomes habit.
Sleep – Have you ever noticed that when you don’t sleep enough you’re hungrier? You’re not imagining things there. Our hormones reset as we sleep, including Leptin levels. Leptin lets the body know that you’re satisfied and have had enough to eat. When you don’t sleep enough, it drives Leptin levels down, which means you don’t feel as satisfied after you eat which often causes you to go after more.
Hydrate – Our bodies were beautifully designed to remove energy-robbing and disease-causing toxins, but in today’s world, toxins are piling up faster than we can get them out. Drinking water is a powerful way to help your body flush the crap out (pun intended). How much? Divide your weight by 2 and that’s how many ounces you should drink per day. For an average person, it’s 3-4 (22oz) water bottles per day. Start by drinking a big glass first thing in the morning and watch your energy soar.
Read Labels – This is a biggie. If you don’t flip that package over you won’t actually know what you’re letting in. Here’s a little secret, manufacturers can say whatever they want to on the packaging but they can’t lie on the label. Now that you’re going to read the label, avoid the following 5 ingredients like the plague.
5 Ingredients to Avoid Like the Plague:
GMOs – GMOs are genetically modified organism or foods. The majority (80-90%) of the soy, corn, canola coil and sugar beets grown in the USA are GMO. Conventional pork, beef and poultry are fed GMO soy and corn feed. If you eat conventional meet and dairy you are also consuming GMO foods indirectly. Be sure to buy only 100% organic poultry and dairy and grass-fed organic beef. GMOs are banned in Europe and many other countries.
Trans fats – Anything labeled as hydrogenated oil, partially hydrogenated oil or shortening are what’s known as trans fats. Legally food labeled as ‘zero trans fats’ can have up to ½ gram of trans fats per serving. Avoiding these foods will save you from eating a lot of trans fats which is linked to cardiovascular disease and elevated cholesterol.
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) – Found in virtually all sodas, packed desserts, and even ketchup. HFCS comes from corn (generally GMO corn) and it raises blood sugar much more quickly than cane sugar plus a slew of other negative effects on the body. HFCS is accused of being major contributor to the of obesity and diabetes epidemics we now face as a nation. It’s twice as sweet as sugar, addictive, and can cause liver damage because of the way it metabolizes in the body.
Fake Sugar – Aspartame (Equal and NutraSweet), saccharin (Sweet’N Low), and sucralose (Splenda) are all chemically manufactured in a lab and do a number on your health. These artificial sweeteners affect the nervous system, endocrine system, cause more cravings for sweets and potentially cancer. Studies have shown that artificial sweeteners actually increase cravings for sweets. Stevia – a natural sweetener from the Stevia Rebaudiana plant can be used as a natural alternative. Just be sure to read the label to make sure you’re getting a version that is minimally processed.
Food preservatives, artificial flavors, and artificial colors – Polysorbates, BHT/BHA, Nitrates, Sulfites and Sodium Benzoate are preservatives and have a wide range of side effects from migraines, nausea, infertility, and cancer. Artificial flavors and colors have been linked to many ailments including allergies, headaches and behavior changes such as ADD and ADHD. Unfortunately, these are the very ingredients used in many children’s food items to make them colorful. Limiting intake of packaged foods for you and your family greatly reduces your exposure to these chemicals. Often you can find healthier alternatives for your favorites at your local natural food stores.