I hear the same question from my patient’s every week… What do you eat? They ask with the expectation that I am going to say, “for dinner I chew on mint leaves and cinnamon twigs, splash it down with some cold coconut water” and proclaim, “I’m stuffed, time for bed.” When I actually tell them about my breakfast, lunch, and dinner options they are astonished. This is because of something I like to call “the gym effect.” The gym effect is when everyday people think that they will never look like a body builder or fitness model so therefore they don’t need to “starve themselves with that organic crap” only to break the bank and still look exactly the same.
Some of you might find this funny, but this is a reality for most. In the past few years, the obesity and over-weight rates have skyrocketed to an astronomical high, effecting over two-thirds of the adult population, and 27.7% of children. This is an issue I find extremely alarming. You see, of the percentage of children who are over-weight/obese most will later grow up to be adults with weight issues and/or obesity. They are also all considered pre-diabetic. Being an over-weight child is more than an aesthetic issue, it means a lifetime of health issues. Thus, raising the epidemic rates even higher. With the understanding that it is never too late to break old habits and make a change, I have decided to open up my refrigerator and let the public in on the secrets to healthy eating.
Let’s start by eating at at home as much as possible. I like to eat at home during the week and splurge on good restaurants only on the weekends. This not only helps you save money, but it also allows you to monitor exactly what is in the food you are eating. In order to stick to this plan you need to have something yummy waiting for you at home. This prevents you from leaving work starving, running to the nearest fast food chain, and diving your face into those little brown bags. Grocery shopping ahead of time is key!
When grocery shopping, I try my hardest to live by the following rule: 80% of your items should come from the left wall and the right wall. The walls, or the perimeter (depending on how your grocery store is set up), are made-up of fruits, vegetables, dairy, meats, fish, etc. The other 20% of your cart can be made-up of things from the aisles: cereal, granola, protein bars, crackers, rice, beans, seeds, nuts, pasta, etc. If you take this rule to heart, you will find your refrigerator will look more and more like mine, and less like an advertisement for Kraft.
You are alive, your cells are alive, and your body craves foods that are alive! In fact, it thrives off of it. It is very hard for your body to process white flour, artificial sweeteners, and high sodium content. Therefore, when you eat a box of mac and cheese, with a side of microwaveable mashed potatoes, and canned green beans, your body literally goes into shock. The digestive process goes into overdrive and your body scrambles to find the nutrients that might be hiding in this high fat, high sugar, high chemical meal… but it can’t. So instead it holds on to the fat, the sugar, the salt, and even some of the chemicals and stores it in your fat cells for fear of starvation. And even though you may have “portion controlled” or even somehow “calorie counted”, you have now gained 2 lbs of pure fat.
But you are in luck! There are several living foods that actually burn more calories digesting than they contain. This would include: celery, grapefruit, lettuce, spinach, kale, watermelon, lean turkey or chicken, apples, and tomatoes. That means if you have a kale salad with celery, tomatoes, grilled chicken, and sliced apple on it, you will actually lose calories while eating it!
When buying produce it is important to try and keep the pesticides and GMO’s down as much a possible, but I understand that not every grocery store keeps a huge organic selection either. Here is a wonderful list of produce to never, ever, ever buy unless it is organic, while everything else you can bargain shop for.
I like to keep a few key staples in my house that I think everyone can benefit from; berries, bananas, organic chicken, organic or friendly-farm-raised salmon, shrimp, plain Greek yogurt, spinach, kale, asparagus, avocado, tomatoes and almond milk. As long as I have these items I am set. I try and add a few other fruits and veggies to the mix depending on what is in season. With every meal I try and have a protein, a fruit or vegetable, and a grain (quinoa or brown rice) or a sweet potato.
Now that I’ve given you the tools to making grocery shopping and eating healthy even easier, it is time for you to try it on your own. So, open up your fridge, clean out the junk, and make room for your new healthy lifestyle!!
Pointing you to wellness each and every day,