By Be Well Health Coach Katrine van Wyk
Living a healthier lifestyle can sometimes feel overwhelming, confusing, and all-consuming. The idea of giving up our favorite foods or force-feeding ourselves foods we don’t like for the sake of health is simply not a good motivator!
When it comes to implementing change, attitude makes all the difference. With a step-by-step approach, a healthy lifestyle is something we can build up over time. Little by little we’ll crowd out the bad choices by choosing healthy alternatives that we actually enjoy. These conscious choices turn into healthy habits and something very exciting happens: we start feeling better! From there, staying the course is that much easier.
Start by making one switch today. Conquer that switch and when it becomes a habit, take on the next one. Remember, one step at a time! Below are 4 of our favorites to get you rolling, when you’re ready for the full list of 19, check out our Eat This Not That album on facebook.
Here’s to making just one healthy switch TODAY!
1. Best Oil for Cooking: Coconut Oil
When you’re in charge and cooking your own food, make a healthier choice and cook with coconut oil. Processed vegetable and seed oils cause inflammation in the body and are high in omega 6 fatty acids – something we all get too much of in today’s American diet. Coconut oil is high in lauric acid, which is anti-microbial and great for thyroid function (the thyroid controls your metabolism!). It’s also a tropical oil, so it can stand up to heat well and won’t go rancid like those vegetable oils can. Bonus: it tastes great too!
2. Best Healthy Snacks on the Go: Nuts & Fruit
Another easy place to make a switch for the better is with your snacks. Try to make it a habit to pack your own snacks so you don’t fall for any of the vending machine temptations. And just like with food overall – choose whole foods as close to their natural state as possible. Instead of a bag of pretzels, bring some nuts or trail mix. The fiber and healthy fats will make you feel satisfied and full for longer, and won’t cause your blood sugar to skyrocket (which white flour is sure to do!)
Craving something sweet? Put down the cookie and go for nature’s perfect source of sweetness – fruit! Perfectly portable and packed with antioxidants and fiber, snacking on fruit will leave you full, energized and most importantly will make your sweet tooth happy too! Whenever possible, choose fruit and berries that are in season and grown locally. They’ll taste better and pack more nutritional punch, making them better for you and the environment.
3. Best Milk: Almond Milk
One big food group that is problematic for so many people is dairy. It can cause inflammation in the body, excess mucus, and for many it’s the root of digestive and skin issues. Luckily, giving up milk doesn’t mean you can never have a creamy smoothie or bowl of granola ever again. Just make a simple switch to nut milk. Almond milk is a certain crowd pleaser and coconut milk is fantastic for cooking and in smoothies. There are lots of different options in the supermarket these days, but if you want to take it that extra step – make your own! Soak a cup of nuts in water overnight. Then in the morning pour off the soaking water, rinse the nuts and add it to your blender with 3 cups of water. Blend up, strain and enjoy.
4. Best Healthy Treat: Homemade Popsicles
Living a healthy lifestyle does not mean you have to give up dessert. That’s right. I said it. Instead of processed treats made with white flour, sugar and corn syrup, try making your own. You control the ingredients and can choose whichever flavor you’re craving. The quickest way to whip up a sweet and healthy treat is to make your own popsicles! Freeze your favorite smoothies or juice with a few chunks of fruit or berries. You can even use your favorite cocktails as inspiration; a mojito or pina colada popsicle sounds like a really good idea to me. Get creative and have fun with it.
Hopefully this has you inspired to get your healthy changes started. Take it slow, make it a habit, and have fun with it. Don’t forget you can head over to Facebook for our full list of easy & delicious changes, to let us know how it’s going, and share your favorite switches with all our friends there.