From Guest Blogger: Susan Rahaim
After completing a required holistic health class my eyes were opened to the toxins in our food, water, and even everyday beauty products. I began to read food labels, buy organic produce, and seek out organic meats. I read countless articles and books on processed foods and the detrimental effect too many can have on our body. I began to understand the connection of whole foods and our overall health and well-being. When I started to have chronic pain after the birth of my first child I dove deeper into the connections of whole foods and our bodies’ functions. I began to cook more greens and use herbs, fresh ginger and garlic daily. I snacked on nuts and veggies and completely eliminated foods from a package. Not only did I begin to feel better, my moods and my whole body shape changed! The amazing thing is I feel more connected to the earth, to God and I have such a deeper respect for my body and health. I hope all of you can be inspired to reach for optimal health.
Do You Know What you Are Eating?
Food, Inc is a documentary movie bound to stir up some controversy. The Movie shows an unflattering look inside Americas corporate controlled food industry. The basic message is to stay away from mass-produced beef and chickens (instead eat grass fed beef occasionally, and free range antibiotic and hormone free chicken/pork), eat organic and what is in season whenever possible, and avoid ALL processed foods because they are technically not food.
After watching Michael Pollen speak about his documentary on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Oprah was left with the question I think we all had, “SO WHAT CAN WE EAT?” This is the same question my sister had for me after I had her view the movie.
It may seem complicated to eat healthy, but it’s actually quite easy. I am a 29-year-old mother of three little ones who has figured it out. It simply takes some training and discipline on your part. By training I mean retraining your taste buds to like the foods they were meant to like such as kale, brussel sprouts, and parsley. While training you have to be self disciplined to not grab that handful of crackers or chips when you are hungry.
Here are a couple easy ways to eat healthy:
1. Go grocery shopping at your local health food store, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, or farmers market. Here you will have the best selection of organic fruits and veggies, grass fed beef and free range hormone/antibiotic free chicken/turkey and pork, and snack food made without hydrogenated oils and corn syrup (instead made with whole grains and seeds.)
2. Clean out your pantry and fridge so you do not have old tempting items there. Replace old processed foods with nuts and seeds and whole grain brown rice cakes, sprouted grain breads, and natural popcorn.
3. Change what you eat. Each snack you reach for should be a fruit, veggie, or nuts and seeds. When planning meals cook organic meats and try to eat meat free at least one day of the week. We do not need crackers in our diets, or snack bars, or cakes or cookies. When you rid yourself of these things you no longer crave them. Instead you crave the “healthy food” such as luscious dates as a sweet treat after dinner.
If you follow the three steps above you will be off to a good start. Just tell yourself it just is not an option to eat unhealthy anymore. Have you noticed that I have not yet mentioned a fat gram, calorie, or carb? That is because this way of living is not about calorie counting. It’s about eating whole food; foods given to us by God to eat; foods not from a can, box, frozen & reheated, or put into a bar. We thrive on fresh, whole foods grown from the earth, picked, and then eaten by you. If you follow this way of eating I guarantee you will not have a weight problem. Your hormones, thyroid, lymph system, immune system, and organs will all work efficiently. This means your body will naturally get and keep you at your optimal weight!
Here are some simple things you can swap out in your kitchen:
milk: almond milk
wheat bread: Ezekial brand sprouted grain breads
crackers: Mary’s Gone brand seeded crackers and sticks
chips: all natural popcorn (Newman brand) but preferably homemade
salted peanuts: raw almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, or any raw nut
splenda: stevia natural sweetener. (other good sweeteners are pure maple syrup, honey, sucanot)
spreads: almond butter or any raw nut butter
dips: homemade hummus (chick peas, tahini, garlic, oil, lemon pureed)
You may be saying “come on” or “how am I going to eat this stuff?” Well, this stuff is what you learn to like and crave. Also having on hand daily organic celery sticks, carrot sticks, cucumbers, apples, bananas, pears. These are all great grabs when you need something.
A Few Last Things to Remember
1). Include greens in your diet every day. Kale, Mustard, Collard greens are excellent options.
2). Replace meat with nuts, nut butters, beans, lentils, and quinoa (a whole grain) as good protein sources.
3). Try to go at least one day a week without eating meat (good for you, good for the planet).
4). Drink water, water, and then more water.
5). Eat organic fruits and veggies and what is in season. Eat a different salad everyday (romaine, endive, parsley, or bok choy for example).
Ask yourself these questions when eating or making a food choice:
– What is this?
– Where did it come from?
– Did it grow from the ground?
– Is this a whole food?
carrots, 1 whole cucumber cut in 1/2 with a sprinkle of salt, handful of raw cashews
Endive salad with tomatoes, olive oil & lemon dressing, homemade humus with celery sticks, seeded crackers, 2 dates
3oz salmon caramelized with sucanot on top, roasted butternut squash, baked potato fries (homemade), steamed broccoli, romaine salad with toasted pine nuts, shredded carrots and cabbage, and balsamic oil dressing.
Any piece of fruit. 2 Mothers brand caramel brown rice cakes.
Include throughout your day tons of water. Add lemon and try to drink 1 or 2 cups of green tea.
I feel full and satisfied after these meals and I can look back on my day and see everything I ate was a whole food!
I have some delicious recipes to share and also want to share later the hidden truths behind dairy and wheat and the food industry in general… more to come!
Remember you are what you eat everyday! Read food labels… and keep counting those whole foods!