Rising in the morning,
the sun shines on God’s abundant earth,
alive with plants and animals
and the crown of creation—men and women.
Fifty years after, the production of chemicals
has left an indelible scar
in the soil, in the sea, and in the sky. – Renee DeGroot

Healthy living involves more than just one aspect of life. The air we breath, the food we eat, the chemicals we put in and on our bodies, the moderation we use, the sleep and exercise we get, and the germs and toxins we expose ourselves to all affect our physical, and sometimes our mental health. Our lifestyle choices play a big part in the level of health we enjoy.

With films like Food Inc., King Corn, Super Size Me, and the Future of Food becoming more and more popular, it’s clear that people are beginning to see the folly of living off processed foods loaded with chemicals, and they are beginning to pay attention to the importance of good, quality “whole” foods.

But, learning to eat healthy can be a little daunting for most people, especially for those of us who were raised eating Hamburger Helper, canned biscuits, and processed cheese spread (melted barbie dolls); so, I’ve compiled a simple list to get you started. But, take it slow at first; it may take a while to create new habits and change your family’s tastes and thinking regarding food.

Begin by becoming a rabid label reader. Once people begin to carefully read the labels on the foods they’ve been eating, they are usually shocked by what they’ve been putting into their bodies…and the bodies of their children. Take it slow and look up ingredients on the Internet. Become familiar with words like monosodium glutamate (MSG) and when you see it…run! (The link I provided warns you about some ingredient names that MSG hides behind.)

Next, examine your pantry and refrigerator and decide which foods you should purge from your regular grocery list; then make a deliberate choice on what you’ll replace those foods with. Replace “junk” food with “power” food!

For instance, if you’ve been eating margarine, you may want to switch to butter or coconut oil. If you’ve been snacking on flavored chips and dip or crackers, try fresh fruit, nuts, orhummus and veggies. If you must have a “chip” fix now and then, choose chips that contain only potatoes, corn, or rice and oil and salt. Dried banana or plantain chips serve as a good replacement chip too – especially dipped in salsa or Chimichurri Sauce!

Start by focusing on one or two aspects of the list below at a time. And make it fun! Look for recipes and snacks that are delicious and fun!

Healthful Living Tips:

1. When possible, try to buy organic produce, and from local farmers and orchards. Look for local farmer’s markets. Avoid fruits and vegetables that have likely been exposed to pesticides. Print this handy wallet sized chart for choosing which fruits and veggies are best and worst when it comes to pesticide residues.

2. Try to find a source for organic raw milk.

3. Buy organic, grass fed beef – if possible, find someone local who raises their own beef, chicken, lamb, or pork. If you can’t find or afford organic, at least try to buy meat that is hormone, antibiotic, and MSG free!

4. Only buy sustainable seafood. ClickHERE to get a “watch list” of sustainable seafood choices for your area. At present, there are no federal organic standards for fish, even farmed fish. But one label you can look for is the Marine Stewardship Council‘s “eco-label” for wild-caught fish from sustainable fisheries.

5. Try not to use processed white sugar or white flour in anything (I admit, I cheat when we’re making something light and fluffy for a special occasions). When possible sweeten your food with honey, agave, maple syrup, date sugar, Sucanat, or even Turbinado sugar (this is what I use in my coffee!). If you must use white flour for a birthday cake or other special treat, at least use unbleached flour.

6. Look for local raw honey and buy it in bulk. Pour it into jars, in case the sugar in the honey begins to crystallize. This way, it will be easy to “melt” the sugar by simply placing the jar in a bath of hot water.

7. If you can find good quality maple syrup in bulk, pour it into mason jars and freeze it. This will keep it from getting that layer of mold on top that sometimes happens in gallon jugs (depending upon how fast you eat it, this may not be necessary!)

8. Check and see if you have a local co-op. If not, start one. I get my sugars, grains, rice, beans etc. in bulk from a co-op. If you have a small family, you may know a few friends who would like to go in with you to split an order.

9. Start using healthy oils in your cooking. Click HERE and HERE for good information on dietary fats and oils that will help in determining what’s best for your body. Good quality extra virgin, cold pressed olive or coconut oils are my personal favorite choices when used raw. You can use “extra light” olive oil or peanut oil for sauteing and for high heat cooking. I do some sauteing in coconut oil; but, I try to save the “good stuff” for the many assorted salads, and “raw” dishes we eat. These are cheapest bought in bulk.

10. Eat at home when possible, rather than eating out. If forced to eat out, choose places that serve the freshest foods. Restaurants like Chipotle serve organic meat and offer raw vegetable toppings. A Subway salad or sandwich is far better than a greasy (trans fat) hamburger loaded with MSG, beef from a feed lot, and white flour.

11. At all costs, avoid MSG, chemical food dyes, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, soda (especially diet), and preservatives. They don’t taste good anyway.

Basically, try to use foods that are as close to the way God made them as possible – good “whole” foods. When we start to process our food to death, our food starts to do the same to us.

Additional Tips:

  • When possible, avoid drugs. If you have a headache try drinking a large glass of water. Many times headaches are caused by dehydration. Also, try applying Deep Relief, Peppermint, or MGrain blend essential oil blend on your temples and the back of your neck. Lay down for a few minutes, inhaling the powerful aroma. (Other oils to try: Lavender, M-grain, Peace & Calming)
  • Avoid using toxic chemicals to clean your home. Vinegar, baking soda water, and essential oils are good alternatives. Try Thieves essential oil-based cleaners – you’ll love the scent of your home! You can purchase it HERE

Contact me if you’re interested in learning more about essential oils and how to use them!