Full Disclosure: None of these tips actually work, unless you apply them to your life daily. So please be open-minded!
This may be the toughest decision you have to make during your lifestyle change, especially before the holidays. This time of year, it seems as if every direction you look, temptation stares you directly into your eyes. Pies, sweet potato casserole, Christmas cookies, and the ever delicious fudge are just a few dreamy and delicious traditions of the holidays.
But what if this “guilty” pleasure that EVERYONE has doesn’t need to bring you so much guilt? What if I told you, that living a healthy lifestyle does not mean you must give up all your favorite foods? What if I told you that there is such a thing as healthy fat? What if I told you, you can have that piece of pumpkin pie with whipped cream?
Does any of that sound like great news? Yes, you can actually live a healthy lifestyle while indulging in your favorite pie. It sounds simple and it is, you just have to be willing to allow yourself to learn and grow. Here are a few tips to get you started on your healthy lifestyle UPGRADE!
Now I know you know what junk food is, am I right? Or am I right? Let's be real here, we all know that chips, soda, and candy are a few of the junkiest junk foods out there, but yet people still eat the highly processed fats and sugars that are in this crap. To call it food is a disgrace. But what makes these sorts of “foods” so bad for you? Well processed sugar and fats are the culprits.
Sugar is directly linked to many diseases and cancer and highly processed fat is linked to high cholesterol and diseases. Sugar and processed fats are in almost everything in modern-day American foods such as bread, desserts, cheeses, processed canned meats, and even commercialized dairy and so much more. It can seem impossible to find healthy food when you have been brainwashed by our FOOD INDUSTRY into thinking that bread, pasta, and commercialized meat and dairy farms are healthy.
The Food Pyramid and the Food Plate has demonstrated what a “healthy” American diet is with whole grains as the majority and fats as the least amount. Tricking the American people into thinking that empty calories such as bread and pasta are what’s best for our bodies. But in reality, the sugar-loaded food only leaves us with more sugar and processed fats in our diets causing more and more people to become ill.
Did you know that there are such things as healthy fat? Like avocados, unpasteurized dairy, and pasture-raised animal fats. I will explain more in tip number two of this blog so keep reading for 5 tips to survive the Holiday food temptations and to continue leading a healthy lifestyle change.
1. Clear Your Fridge and Cupboards of the Junk
The first thing you will want to do is clear your whole kitchen of all the junk. The temptation will be too strong at the beginning for some people so it is better safe than sorry.
That includes throwing out:
Vegetable oils such as canola, peanut, and safflower
Low-quality grains like oatmeal (especially instant oatmeal)
Starchy vegetable like potatoes
Condiments such as ketchup, mayo, and salad dressings
Canned vegetables and fruits
Boxed foods like Hamburger Helper and Kraft Mac & Cheese
Sweets like Little Debbie Cakes and Oreo Cookies
Sodas and juices (including apple and orange juice)
Once you clear out your kitchen, you can now go grocery shopping for real, healthy, and fresh foods that your body will thank you for. I’ll give examples at the end of the blog, so keep on reading for more info!
Tip: The 80/20 Rule. Remember that eating healthy 80% of the time is better than exercising 80%. That 20% of the time is where you will allow yourself to indulge. And don’t beat yourself up for eating your “guilty” foods! ;)
2. Find Your Movement!
If you read the 1st tip, I had stated that it is better to eat healthy 80% of the time and indulge 20%. Well, you can apply this same principle to exercise and healthy eating. If you exercise 3-4 days a week, that is perfectly fine! You don’t need fancy memberships to gyms where you feel obligated to work out every single day and when you fall short, you give up on yourself. That’s not cool!
You can find your movement! Whether that be yoga, parkour, calisthenics, or dancing you can find what MOVES YOU! Take a hike with some friends two days a week, or maybe find someone to go dancing with you. Whatever your movement is, do it! And do it often! That is the key to finding your movement. Be consistent and you will find that exercise can actually be fun.
3. Indulge with Awareness
Earlier I had mentioned that 80/20 rule, remember? 20% of the time you can indulge! What? Is that even real? Yes, yes it is. You can actually eat the foods you consider to be your guilty pleasure, whether that be a few Oreo’s with milk or your mom's delicious chicken and dumplings. Whatever you decide to indulge on, that's cool! Ya sure, have 3 Oreos or ya sure have a small bowl of dumplings. One meal or one snack will not ruin your “diet”. Let me say that again, one meal or one snack will not ruin your “diet”.
All your hard work has not been destroyed because you indulged one evening. When your lifestyle change begins to fail, it is when you let it. It’s when you say “screw it, I might as well keep eating it”. That’s when people fail. If you stick to eating healthy the majority of the time, that is when you will begin to see change. Change in your attitude, change in your appearance, and change in your views about health. Never give up on yourself. As Rob Sneider would say, “You can do it!”
4. It's a Lifestyle Not a Diet
I know I have used the word diet a few times in this blog already, but let's try to change the meaning of that word. When people think of diet, they think of low fat, no fat, sugar-free, gluten-free, everything free free free. Agh! Carbs this, fat that, sugar this, and protein that! People are always pointing their fingers to one particular source when in fact, you need each and every one of these macro and micronutrients in the right quantities.
A person's diet can and always will be different than others for what is considered healthy. One person may do better with higher volumes of fruits and vegetables and lower amounts of meat. While others will do great on higher amounts of meats and vegetables and low amounts of fruit. Both are considered healthy for many individuals. Just play around with what your body craves! If it craves sugar, eat more fruit and vegetables. Just listen to your body and fine-tune your diet based on how you feel emotionally and physically. If you crave sugar be cautious, it’s a dangerous craving because remember sugar is addicting and feeds cancer cells.
5. Stock Your Fridge & Pantry with Healthy Meats, Veggies, Fruits, & Fats!
Last but not least! Let’s talk about what is healthy and restock your now bare kitchen! Find a local grocery store that offers high-quality meat such as organic pasture-raised chicken, grass-fed pasture-raised beef, and pasture-raised free-range eggs. Bonus points if you get it from your neighbor down the street who raises their own chickens! Also, high-quality organic fruits and vegetables are best because of the lack of insecticides and pesticides used on them. Of course, you can still buy non-organic fruits and vegetables, but make sure to wash them extremely well to avoid ingesting those nasty chemicals. Here is a list of some fruits and vegetables that you may want to consider buying organic called The Dirty Dozen.
Alright, once you find the best-fit grocery store or farmers market, let’s get to shopping!
Fill your cart with lots of leafy green vegetables like kale, spinach, swiss chard, and collard greens. You can use these in your scrambled eggs or soups. Next, look for your favorite vegetables like zucchini or bell peppers and throw those in your cart. You can make healthy style chicken fajitas! Yum!
Alright, now onto healthy fats! Look for high-quality olive oil, coconut oil, or ghee. You can use these in all your recipes and don’t be scared to add a good amount too! Alright, to all you dairy eaters out there, you must be careful when choosing the right types of dairy. Ideally, you want raw whole milk that is unpasteurized because it is a lot less processed and not filled with antibiotics. Plain yogurts and kefir are best as the flavored ones have a TON of added sugar in it. Dairy naturally has a high amount of sugar so the added sugar is unnecessary.
On to the MEATS! Look for organic, pasture-raised, or free-range chicken. The chances of finding all three of these on one label are unlikely, so just go for the best decision. You will also want the skin and bone in because the healthy animal fat I told you about previously, is located right there!
Now, let's talk beef. The same thing goes for beef as with the chicken. Finding a label that says “organic, grass-fed, pasture-raised” all on one label is unlikely. Just pick the best option they have.
Now we can’t forget about seafood like fish, crab, lobster, oysters and so much more! When we shop for seafood in grocery stores, sometimes you will often see on the label that it is either “wild-caught” or “farm-raised”. The obvious healthier option is wild-caught!. Farm-raised seafood typically has fewer nutrients and healthy fats in them because the lack of natural food fed to the seafood. So remember to try to be aware of the quality of the seafood you are buying from the store. If you fish for your own seafood, that's even better! The fresher the seafood, the tastier it is!
Eggs. Eggs are so healthy for you, it is insane that so many people don’t eat them because doctors say not to, especially if you have high cholesterol. There are two types of cholesterol: HDL and LDL. LDL is the bad and HDL is the good cholesterol. The cholesterol in eggs actually helps raise HDL and LDL typically stays the same. The fat in a high quality organic, pasture-raised, free-range egg is unlike any other fat out there. Just like any other food out there, eat in moderation. Find yourself the best selection of eggs at your grocery store or from your local farmers market and you’re set! If you want to learn more about the correlation between eggs and cholesterol, check out this article here.
Okay, so now you’re probably thinking, “What about flavor?” Alright, alright, alright! We cannot forget the spices and herbs that make your meals mouth-watering good! Onion and garlic powdered (fresh onions and garlic are better!) are always good to keep on hand! Italian blends, taco seasonings (without added ingredients like anti-caking), and other spices you may like. Get creative with your spices and herbs. You can never have too many. This is an easy way to make boring meals into something a 5-star restaurant can create!
Now that you know these 5 tips to live a healthier lifestyle, apply it to your life daily. Otherwise, your lifestyle change won’t actually be a change. Remember that change is good and that is where you can grow! Learn to love food and always educate yourself about it.
If you enjoyed this blog, please leave us a comment down below, share it with your friends on social media and tag us, and save this blog for later. Thank you so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed the tips and I hope you can apply them all to your life!