Did you know that March is National Nutrition Month? The theme this year is Get Your Plate in Shape. It’s not much of a stretch at all that focusing on what you put on your plate may be the most important thing you could be doing right now. Changing the way you eat could change you the way your mind and brain feel, and it could change how you tackle all the rest of the tasks you encounter during the day. Yeah, it’s important.
Kelli and I had a great dinner date on Saturday night with some good friends. As if often the case, they noticed that we didn’t order the typical foods one might expect, so they were curious about our eating choices. They insisted that we talk about healthy eating habits for almost the entire conversation. It struck me over and over that people think switching to healthy eating is complicated.
True, there’s a lot of information out there and it can be a path of never ending discoveries, but the details aren’t that important. You can dramatically improve your health and add years to your life with just a few changes. Starting off, there are just three steps that if undertaken, will improve your health significantly over your lifetime.
1 – First, a few things to avoid. Eliminate highly processed foods. Your tell-tale signs are found on the ingredient list. As soon as you see high fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated anything (trans fats), it’s a science experiment gone wrong and shouldn’t be considered food. Avoid them like the plague. If it’s a scientific creation, dump it. We’re looking for real food…ingredients that you know, recognize, and can pronounce.
2 – A few things to seek out: the real food. Load up your diet with a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and sparingly include lean meats. The cleaner the better. By clean I mean chemical free food, including meat that came from a real farm, not a factory. Make the produce the main focus of your meals, and the meats just a little side note. Try doing a few meatless days a week. For all your food, organic is always better, but consider that level two. Just starting with eating a lot of fresh produce every day will do wonders for how you feel.
3 – Exercise! With your body full of good nutrition, you’ll feel more energetic and working out will feel natural and fun. If you’re really out of shape, start with just 10 minutes a day of an aerobic routine. Could be as simple as walking. Increases the intensity and duration as appropriate. A lot of people like to run and turn to that as their default, but it doesn’t have to be running (it’s too boring for me). Whether it’s a sport, a kick boxing class, jazzercise, gardening, whatever, just get your body moving and work up a sweat.
That’s it. That’s how you get started. Don’t make it so complicated that you feel overwhelmed. Reading books about the subject along the way – or blogs like fooduciary – will provide more details if you’re curious and want to know more about the “why.” But it really isn’t necessary.
Just focus on fresh and natural foods. Honestly, that’s it. Everything you hear about low carb, high protein, calorie counting, vegetarian and vegan, paleo, gluten free, or whatever, knowing what it all means just isn’t necessary unless you have a personal interest in the subject.
Eating real food does mean that you might have to make another trip to the grocery store each week, read ingredient labels, and actually cook, but it’s totally doable. And it won’t take more than a few days to feel the difference.
Don’t feel like you need to be an expert and know all the details to get started. Just get started. Today!