Doesn’t it feel like we are always searching for ways to improve our diets and our health? Thankfully, our fast-food society is becoming increasingly aware that what we are putting into our bodies will have a lasting effect on our ongoing overall health. “Good fuel in, Good fuel out!” It’s taken many years of shortcuts and learning the hard way (through stellar obesity rates, heart disease, and diabetes), but finally studies are supporting greater evidence that our eating habits as children are stronger than genetics in determining disease.
This being said, there is endless chatter about fats, gluten, dairy, salt, and dietary information that seems to change as quickly as you hear it. The food pyramid I was introduced to as a child has done a back flip, put on a little weight of its own, and even kicked some family members to the curb! The voices of well-known celebrity docs ring in my ears, who by their own right are making enormous additional incomes dispelling food myths and giving health advice. Even medical practitioners have a vested interest in products and companies opposed to the best comprehensive care of the patient. Remember that Hippocratic oath? “First, do no harm.”
I have found myself becoming extremely skeptical of the advice of doctors, becoming numb to the many opposing studies, and shutting off the happenstance advice of others. My husband and I finally had enough, and took to reading the books, delved into the articles, and tested the investigative research ourselves.
It wasn’t any of that, which convinced us, but rather the “proof” we saw in our own bodies through the implementation. Our family began to embrace dietary changes and alternative remedies. Some of them worked, some of them didn’t. The ones that have worked however, have had such an impact on our full well-being, that it is hard to imagine how we would still be functioning (with three little kids) without the changes.
And it isn’t just “how we are feeling” either. These tangible changes can also be proven through our medical tests and decreased prescription strengths. Heck, I have even been able to lower my overall eyeglass prescription, which has been known to happen with the help of probiotics and decreased gluten.
It remains a constant battle however, against the medical community, as well as those folks who are faithful to it. My husband shocked the doctor when he told him he had increased his full fat foods and oils, after an elite blood test proved he had reversed many negative diagnosis. Family members and friends alike constantly complain about stubborn body weight, and then look at us like we are a few screws short, when we tell them their answer firmly lies in getting rid of the “low-fat” junk in their fridge.
Perhaps you are not ready or committed to a complete dietary overhaul. Perfectly understandable for those in fairly good health. My husband, who greatly suffered with gastrointestinal issues always says that you have to be in so much pain that you have nothing to lose, to fully embrace a complete dietary change. Americans are just so married to comfort food, that pasta wins every time over reduced inflammation.
If you are however, looking to make even a small move in the right direction, then you can certainly benefit from these few easy changes! Start with these four; they’re simple, they’re tasty, and they pack a mean punch! The best part is, that many of these dietary changes are able to be physically noticed rather quickly. Find out through your own experience if these Four Simple Changes for Big Health Results make a difference in your overall health.
#1 – Coconut Oil
Benefits: Makes body resistant to bacterial, virus, illness, yeast, fungus.
Improves thyroid function, blood-sugar, insulin, metabolism. Lowers cholesterol, contributes to balanced weight.
Use: Try to consume at least 2 tablespoons a day
- In place of cooking spray, vegetable oil, and Crisco in recipes
- Add to smoothies, yogurt, fruit salad, coffee/tea
- Moisturize your face after washing (rehydrating and healing properties)
#2 – Sea Salt
Benefits: Unprocessed and natural, containing trace minerals from the sea;
- Helps build strong Immune System
- Builds Alkalizing acids in the body
- Weight Loss through faster digestion
- Improves skin conditions and circulation
- Reduces respiratory inflammation (asthma)
- Reduces high cholesterol levels and blood pressure
- Reduces need for insulin (diabetes)
- Prevents Osteoporosis and Muscle Spasms (vitamin absorption)
- Preserves Serotonin and Melatonin Hormones (Depression and Stress)
Use: Replace iodized table salt with sea salt for all cooking and flavoring purposes
#3 – Organic Cane Sugar and Raw Honey (Local)
Benefits: Unrefined cane sugar undergoes minimal processing, allowing it to retain original nutrients,
vitamins, and antioxidants. Consuming honey that is harvested local to your living area reduces seasonal allergies.
*Sugar substitutes most commonly cause migraines, decreased mood, joint and muscle soreness, chronic fatigue, gastrointestinal disorders, vision disturbances, nausea, dementia, brain cancer, and fibromyalgia.
“Aspartame can potentially lead to Parkinson’s disease, lymphoma, low thyroid function, lupus, multiple sclerosis, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and cancer.”
Use: Consumed within healthy limits (no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar/day). I replace sugar in my coffee and tea with honey. I also often use honey in recipes that require sugar when cooking!
#4 – Almond Butter
I must confess that I am an absolute sucker for this chocolate hazelnut blend! If you love the idea of Nutella, but not the ingredients on the label, then this is your new best friends (wink)!
Benefits: Almond Butter is high in beneficial protein (1 tbsp = 1 oz of meat), as well as high in vitamin and minerals:
- Vitamin E (antioxidant)
- Magnesium ( nervous system, muscle contraction, healthy bone tissue, metabolism)
- Iron (transporting oxygen, antioxidant enzymes in cells)
Use: In place of peanut butter. Peanuts do not have the same nutritional value as almonds. Try to choose brands made from nuts alone, with no added ingredients or preservatives (the fewer ingredients, the better.)
Oil, Salt, Sugar, Butter…what’s not to love? The good news is that you can and should go back to eating pure, whole foods. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to take up farming, but it will most likely cost you a little extra. Just think of it this way, “food is medicine.” You pay now, or you pay later. The same goes for exercise, sleep, and any bodily abuse.
Going back to basics with your food means buying, eating, and cooking with unprocessed, unbleached, and preservative free ingredients. Ditch all foods “diet;” sweetened with cancer-causing chemicals, and embrace raw sugar, real sticks of butter, whole milk and yogurt, fatty protein packed nuts such as almonds, and healthy oils (coconut and extra virgin cold pressed olive). Hit up your local farmer’s markets for fresh veggies and meat from grass-grazed cows. Don’t shy away from fermented foods, organ meats, cod liver oils, and other things that give you stinky breath. Oh, and for health food’s sake…eat the yolk!