If you want your body to be a magnificent vessel that allows you to lead an active and fun life, it’s never to late! Our bodies are amazingly and wondrously made - they have an innate drive for health. Regardless of how badly we poison our bodies, they continue to fight to live. If we give our bodies some help they can recover and give us the freedom to really experience life physically the way we desire.
So if you're anxious to start living a more healthful life, follow these rules that, while difficult to get going, can become an easy part of your day-to-day living.
- Remove all unnatural sources of sugar from your life. This includes table sugar, brown sugar, HFCS, corn syrup, confectioners’ sugar, syrup, etc. Sugar acts as a poison that causes inflammation in our arteries and veins, leading to heart disease, atherosclerosis and, of course, diabetes. Added sugars upset our normal hormonal balance and lower our immune system. Sugars in natural live foods, however, do not have this effect. Look for products made with stevia or xylitol. You can also use these as sweeteners at home.
- Make changes slowly to your lifestyle. You're more likely to make positive changes stick by making changes slowly.
- Remove or limit all refined and processed foods from your life. This includes most boxed or canned flour-based products. Breads, pastas and cereals should be organic whole grain selections. Refined flours (those that include the words enriched, bleached, flour, wheat flour, bromate, multigrain or unbleached are refined) have the same effect on the body that added sugars do because they are simple carbohydrates and are absorbed into the body very quickly, leading to the same disease potential and weight gain. These types of grains can get you into a vicious cycle, wanting to eat them more and more as soon as you have them. It becomes a carbohydrate addiction that can be hard to break!
- Replace frying with sauteing, baking, grilling or broiling. Use olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil or coconut oil.
- Replace flour-based foods with Whole Grain choices. The first ingredient in the list should say whole grain.
- Eat foods as close to nature in their raw state as possible. They can be fresh or frozen. If you must eat canned vegetables, be sure to rinse them well. Strive for a balance of 70% raw foods and 30% cooked.
- Eat a diet rich in variety. Eat vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts and seeds every day in as many colors as you can. Limit nuts and seeds to 1-2 oz. per day due to calories. Your daily consumption of nuts drastically reduces your risk of heart disease. Add ground flaxseed to your diet, 2 tbsp. daily, to make sure you get plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids. These are essential for heart health, pain reduction, hormone regulation and nerve health.
- Limit saturated fats and totally eliminate trans fats from your diet. Include polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which are very healthy for you, in moderation. Olive oil is a monounsaturated oil and most nuts contain a good source of monounsaturated oils. The Omega-3 polyunsaturated oils come from walnuts, flaxseed and cold water fish, such as salmon, sardines, trout, halibut and cod. While sardines and salmon are the best animal sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, ground flaxseed is the best source of vegetative Omega-3 fatty acids and is, in my opinion, the best source for it daily. Flaxseed also provides lignans, which may help prevent certain types of cancers. Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids are very prevalent in our vegetables and are seldom deficient in our diet.
- Get plenty of water every day, 80 ounces over 24 hours. Hydration is very important to health and aids in the removal of toxins and from the body. Water is required in every metabolic activity. If you are ill, exercise intensely or sweat profusely, you will need more water. A good rule of thumb is to drink 1/2 ounce of water per pound of body weight.
- Move more every day. Exercise is very important in delivering the nutrients we consume to every cell in our body and primes the lymphatic system, which pumps toxins out of our bodies. In addition, exercise increases our metabolic rate, helping to burn more calories, and increases our bodies’ efficiency in utilizing oxygen, increasing our overall fitness level.