So often I get asked about my top health tips. If I could dish out just one piece of health advice, what would it be? This is always a bit tough to answer because it usually depends on the person asking me the question. We all have different starting points so what may be great for one person may seem a bit extreme for someone else. Transition is always key!
In reflecting on my own experience, there are definitely a few important shifts that I made along the way that stand out to me as being monumental in influencing the healthy body I have today. So in the spirit of sharing here they are!
1. I got REAL food focused. I stopped caring so much about calories and fat-content and became a food detective. I started learning about the ingredients in my food and the effects they were having on my body. I started to scrutinize labels and shelved items with long lists of ingredients or ones I didn’t recognize. If you’ve been following along with me for a while you may even remember that the name of my website for the first 4 years of its life was appropriately named www.ilikerealfood.com. And while what constitutes real food to me has evolved a bit over the years, it still means eating fresh food as close to its natural state as possible, and free from harmful additives.
2. I made digestion my business. I changed my definition of “health food” to include how well it digests in my body. I started paying attention to how food breaks down and which combinations digest best, or impede digestion all together. Enter food combining. This one tool dramatically changed my body, and when I really got serious about implementing it I watched an extra 20 pounds seemingly melt away. Furthermore, when I started paying attention to what was coming out of my body in relation to what I was taking in, it brought a whole new meaning to the concept waste=weight.
3. I lightened up my morning. I’ve made it my practice to “break my fast” with something alkalizing and green each and every morning. Heavy breakfasts are a thing of the past, and I find on most mornings I’m perfectly content with a fresh homemade vegetable juice and/or a green smoothie until mid-day. But let me say, I didn’t just wake up one morning and stop eating breakfast; this was a natural progression for me, but one that has left me feeling much more energized throughout my day. And while I still enjoy certain breakfast foods, I prefer to eat them a little later in the day rather than first thing when I wake up.
4. I starting eating vegetable-centric. Regardless of whether I’m eating plant-based or including animal protein at any given meal, I always make the focal point of my meals vegetables. Even while I always loved vegetables and ate a very plant-rich diet, there was a time in my life when I was eating a lot of denser foods like grain (even high quality ones), beans & legumes, and nuts & seeds. Now I include these foods to a much lesser degree, and when I do I’m always sure to pair them with plenty of water-containing veggies to facilitate digestion. I also notice I rarely ever get sick (i.e. colds and flu) while eating this way because my diet is much more alkaline.
Bottom line – always listen to your own body. Keep in mind though what may seem extreme or radical to you today may seem perfectly normal a few years down the road. Believe me, if you would have told me 7 or 8 years ago that I would be drinking green veggies for breakfast I probably would have laughed in your face.
Lastly, there’s not a doubt in my mind that obtaining a healthy body goes far beyond the food we put in our mouths. Other factors such as plenty of rest, sunshine, and physical movement have all contributed in shaping (both figuratively and literally) the body I have today.
Now I want to hear from you! Let me know in the comments below what shifts you’ve made in your own life that have most positively affected your body and health. Can’t wait to hear from you!