This post was updated 10/11/2022.
With the New Year approaching, almost everyone has some sort of Health goal as a resolution. Whether that be losing weight, going to the gym more, eating more vegetables, not eating so much ice cream, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have a health goal as a resolution. Because I’m a Holistic Nutrition Coach, I’m going to focus on eating healthy.
I am completely aware that lower income people (especially in cities) don’t have the same access to healthy, fresh food as wealthier people or people living in the country where they grow their own food and raise their own meat (which is truly the best option!) But I do believe that lack of education on food and nutrition also plays a big factor into what people buy (not government recommendations on nutrition as they are paid by big agriculture lobbyists to make unhealthy processed food a part of the American diet. So awful!)
The majority of Americans have no idea what it means to eat healthy. People think eating healthy means choosing the low calorie cookie, drinking diet or zero calorie soda, getting low sodium canned soup and frozen meals, counting calories, eating no sugar snacks, eating low fat ice cream and yogurt…you get where I’m going. So much packaged and processed food has some sort of health claim.
Stay Away From Food With Health Claims!
I hate to break it to you, but any food with a health claim or low calorie/low fat/low sodium label is NOT HEALTHY! If you’re drinking zero calorie soda, it is NOT HEALTHY! People are so trained to count calories that they don’t realize the food they’re consuming, whether it be low calorie or not, can make them fat due to the chemicals causing cells to store fat. Also with the sodium thing, what do you think has more sodium…a low sodium frozen stir fry, or some baked salmon seasoned with Himalayan Sea Salt? The frozen low sodium meal definitely has a LOT more sodium.
Also, 100 calories of Broccoli does not get processed internally the same as 100 calories of cake. The Broccoli isn’t full of added sugar and Broccoli is full of fiber, nutrients, and cancer fighting components. Cake is full of added sugar and refined carbs which get stored as fat. Cake has no nutritional benefits. Rule of thumb, STOP COUNTING CALORIES, START COUNTING CHEMICALS.
If you’re eating a diet full of fruits, vegetables, grass fed meat, wild fish, sprouted grains, healthy fats, and natural sugars, there’s no need to count calories. Eat until you’re full! Your body will tell you.
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Some staples I always have in my kitchen, free of additives, preservatives, and added sugar are…
1. Avocado Oil: Avocado Oil is the healthiest oil to cook and bake with. It doesn’t have a flavor (in my opinion) and it has a smoke point of 520°F! I cook my eggs in avocado oil, bake my salmon in it, and if I’m baking and the recipe calls for oil, I add avocado oil.
*Update: You know how nutrition information is constantly changing as we learn more? Most recently I’ve learned (from Dr. James DiNicolantonio who I highly trust with nutrition information) that even though avocado oil has a high smoke point, it starts oxidizing at a lower temperature than Olive Oil! I’ve been cooking and baking with Olive Oil more since learning this.
2. Pasture Raised Eggs. Eggs are packed with nutrients and full of protein! Unfortunately they got a bad rep years ago for being high in cholesterol however, nutrition information is always changing and turns out, the cholesterol in eggs actually helps lower cholesterol! Pasture raised eggs are the best as they are the highest in nutrients. You can tell how nutritious an eggs is by how dark an eggs yolk is. The darker the yolk, the more nutrients! Pasture raised eggs from the grocery store have the darkest yolk I’ve seen (other than my uncle’s eggs. He raises chickens and his eggs have a red/orange color…super dark!)
3.Organic Oatmeal: Oatmeal is a healthy carb (so it gives you energy). Oatmeal is so versatile too! I eat Oatmeal for breakfast every morning (along with my eggs) and I also like to blend oats into a powder to bake with instead of flour! You can add oats to smoothies, make overnight oats for a quick breakfast, there are so many quick and easy ways to make oatmeal.
4. Tons of leafy greens! I like to get the packages of spinach, sweet baby lettuce, baby romaine, and kale. These are a staple in my fridge. I just grab a handful of a couple kinds to make a salad, I add them to smoothies, and I scramble them into my eggs for breakfast! Having plenty of leafy greens on hand makes you more likely to eat them. I try and get at least 5 servings of leafy greens a day.
5. Organic Quinoa and Organic Rice: I always have a big bag of each of these in my pantry. Every week, I cook a cup of (dry) quinoa or rice to store in the fridge all week. It’s so easy to add to every meal to get in a healthy carb.
6. Fruit. I always have apples, bananas, frozen fruit, and grapefruit in my kitchen. Frozen fruit is easy to throw into a smoothie, bananas and apples are an easy snack to grab and go, and grapefruit is a lower sugar, high fiber, super filling snack.
7. Nuts. I loveee raw almonds, but walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and cashews are great as well. Make sure you get organic nuts or you’ll be getting a good dose of pesticides as well. I like to eat almonds or nut butter with a fruit as an easy, filling snack. Nuts have protein and healthy fats and fruit is a carb so it’s a perfect, well balanced snack!
8. LAVVA Yogurt. This is the only yogurt I will eat. It’s pili nut and coconut yogurt. There’s no added sugar, no preservatives, no added colors, no added flavors, it’s just real food, dairy free yogurt. I don’t eat this every day, but it’s nice to have on hand as an easy snack.
*Update: I found another plant based yogurt I like with clean ingredient. Forager Cashew Milk Yogurt is also one I like!
9. Wild Caught Salmon. I always have frozen Wild Caught Salmon in the freezer. Wegmans has a big bag of it for $25. I’ll bake 2 pieces at a time and keep it in the fridge to eat for lunch or dinner through the week. Salmon is so healthy and it’s super easy and no mess to bake. It’s also full of Omega 3’s (which the Standard American Diet is sadly lacking big time) and protein. (Omega 3’s fight inflammation. Inflammation is the root of most disease and sickness. Too much Omega 6’s cause inflammation. It’s best to have a balance of the 2.)
10. Ezekiel Bread: This is the one thing I’ll eat that has gluten in it. Ezekiel bread is wheat free (not gluten free) and it’s made with Sprouted Grains which is the most natural, nutritious, healthy form of grains. This bread comes from the Bible verse in Ezekiel and it’s made with ingredients straight from the Bible. You can’t get better bread than that!
*Update: I’ve been reacting to too much gluten again, so I’ve been sticking to the Gluten Free Sprouted Grains bread from Food For Life (the same brand as Ezekiel Bread). I go back and forth with gluten. Most times, I can tolerate it, but sometimes I can’t. You just have to listen to your body and do what works for you and what makes you feel the best!
What are your health goals for the New Year??? Let me know in the comments!