Friday, May 2, 2014

40 Pieces of Advice Challenge - Day 10

If you're reading this blog, chances are good that you're interested in living a healthy lifestyle. Chances are also good that you, like most people these days, understand that fresh, natural food is more beneficial than food-like substances created in factories with dyes, preservatives, fillers and chemicals not found in any food that comes from nature. There are countless scientific studies showing the effects of nutrition on health and longevity, as well as personal experiences of people who have transformed their bodies and lives through proper nutrition and exercise. It seems that every month, the covers of magazines are filled with the same enticing phrases - "lose weight, feel great", "exercise and look ten years younger", and so on, ad infinitum.

So, we know all this, but still many people get caught up in the convenience-food trap. With busy work schedules, weekends filled with catching up on chores and errands, and all the other things that seem to take hold of people's lives these days, it's easy to pick up "dinner" from a fast food joint, or pop a pre-made frozen meal in the microwave. But, the consequences of regularly filling our bodies with foods that provide very little in the way of nutrition and real energy are all around us: obesity, heart disease, cancer and exhaustion, just to name a few, have become mainstays of modern life.

As usual, the "easy" way out is anything but easy.

But there's good news, and I'm here to say that it is definitely possible to live in this busy world and still eat close to nature. Start by adding a green salad to one meal each day. You can buy bags of pre-washed and pre-cut organic greens at just about any store these days. Open up a bag, toss in a handful of raw sunflower seeds and organic grape tomatoes, squeeze some lemon juice and a bit of extra virgin olive oil, cut up half an avocado, add a dash of salt and pepper and you've got a nutritious and refreshing prelude to your lunch or dinner. You can even have a salad for your afternoon snack, instead of a sugary, fatty dessert.

It really is that simple.

In the morning, instead of pumping your system with coffee and a donut to get yourself going, how about a shot of freshly made green juice? Toss a cucumber, some kale and an orange into a juicer and, voila! you have a glassful of energy that won't have you crashing by mid-morning. Don't have time to make juice? No problem, a quarter cup of E3Live will give you over 65 vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential acids, courtesy of Mother Nature.

Are you still craving that chocolate bar? 

Don't beat yourself up over it. Just have a nice juicy orange first, or an apple, a ripe mango, a slice of the tropical goodness of pineapple, some sweet strawberries bursting with flavor. Then wait about 30 minutes. You will probably have forgotten all about that chocolate by then. But, if you still feel like you just have to have it, go ahead, cut off a small piece and eat just that much. 

And be sure that you taste every bite of it - no mindless eating in front of the TV or computer.

By adding in desirable foods, you'll have less room for the manufactured stuff. And, believe it or not, the less you eat of the processed junk, the less you'll crave it. It's just as easy to get "hooked" on good food - it's simply a matter of letting your body and palate experience the flavors and energizing effects of the varieties of food that nature offers.

This is a process of replacing the bad with the good, and it doesn't happen overnight, as much as we might want it to.

Yes, there is a bit of planning involved. For example, when you are doing your grocery shopping, don't fill your cart with packaged foods that will tempt you when they're sitting in your cupboards at home. Buy fresh foods that need to be refrigerated. If you're meeting friends for lunch, opt out of the greasy diners and go to a salad bar.

The important thing to remember is this - you make a choice every time you put something in your mouth. And every time you make that choice, you have the opportunity to do what you know is right. If you fall, pick yourself right up and make a better choice the next time. It really is no more complicated than that.

What choices will you make today?

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