We hear it all the time: kick the junk-food habit. But why? If we’re healthy, why change what we eat? Best answer: prevention. Sooner or later, down the road, that good health can turn nasty. Stuff like heart disease, diabetes, cancer. Life offers no guarantees, and neither does eating right; bad stuff can still happen. But eating the pesticide-laden foods, including ones with GMOs, is like sending yourself an engraved invitation to be ill.
Healthy foods don’t have to be awful-tasting foods. Fresh fruits, fresh veggies do wonderful things for your tastebuds and everything else inside of you. If you grew up knowing and loving carb-rich foods like chips and pretzels, and if you don’t need to read the menu before placing your order at your fast-food shop-home-away-from-home, turning off the urge to eat junk may be a bit of a challenge, at first.
Kick the junk-food habit – but how? These tips may make that journey a little easier. For starters,
Head to an organic food store – most don’t require you to be a member, but, what the hay? Do it when you can. There are bennies to membership – or farmers market. Or get close to a CSA (community-supported agriculture) and buy a share of their fresh foods during the growing season. Split the fee, and the food, with a friend, neighbor, or family member going for healthy eats. Or shop from the online Green Polka Dot Box store. Again, share the “start-up” cost of membership with a health-minded neighbor, friend, or family member. But please — dodge the GMOs foods that fill conventional grocery-store shelves. I know, I know, GMO-supporters have shaded the truth a good bit, saying GMOs are safe, from salmon to soy to corn, but when furry animals like your neighborhood squirrel refuse to eat an ear of GMO corn, what’s that message saying to anyone paying attention?
Take along the Non-GMO Shopping Guide (download the app, free) – and use it!
Smart shop by looking for foods wearing either the perky non-GMO Project Verified sticker, or the green-and-white USDA Organic Seal. (Natural foods may sound good and safe, but there are zero standards about what goes into a “natural food.” Organic foods DO have standards.)
Know your superfoods
And buy lots of ‘em, all the time.
Superfood lists are everywhere. Mostly, foods land on the list because they’re packed with vitamins and minerals and/or amino acids that do great things for your health, protecting heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, and everything else to keep everything inside you humming harmoniously. Picture these nutrients as though they’re a well-tuned, high performance band or orchestra making beautiful music inside of you.
Every list usually includes
- a healthy protein (like organic grassfed beef, wild caught salmon, eggs),
- veggies (greens like kale, chard, Romaine lettuce, spinach, broccoli, parsley),
- tubers (like sweet potatoes and yams — the Gold Standard of Good Health),
- fruits (berries, like blueberries; tomatoes, to name a very few),
- seeds and nuts (like chia, flaxseed, hemp; walnuts),
- fermented foods (like kimchi, sauerkraut),
- good fats (like avocados, olive oil, and coconut oil),
- a probiotic (like organic yogurt, kefir),
- beverages (green tea, another Gold Standard of Good Health) Important note: Never, ever, will Coke, Pepsi, or any other name-brand sodas crammed with high fructose corn syrup appear on a superfoods list. Ditto for diet any-kind-of-soda-you-can-name.
So, lots of healthy stuff to choose from. Next, use the good foods to
Go wild with salads (and add a soup)
Last year, for 30 days, our main meal was salad – with meat, without meat, chocked full of veggies, fruit, avocado chunks; sometimes, whatever we had on hand in the veggie crisper. Up to that challenge? It’s a delicious way to eat your greens and protein, and have that full feeling for hours after the salad is history.
If you’re stumped for salad ideas, try these recipes:
BLT salad, one of summer’s best
Island Garden summer salad
Honey maurice salad
Pair a side salad with a yummy soup, like these:
Summer tomato soup
Pho soup with chicken
Whatever garden grows soup
Know this – when you make the change to healthier foods, you’re still gonna want the occasional junk food. Just make sure any you pick are organic. Look for the seal or the non-GMO Project Verified labels, and enjoy a fun noshing session with friends or while watching a great old movie.
Wean off junk foods from grocery store, convenience store, or fast-food joint, and you may just have prevented nasty bad health down the road. It’s worth a healthy shot, right?