healthy eating

How To Eat Healthy: Pt 1

How to eat healthy...let's do this!

I'm going to break this up in installments, because we all know I can be a little...wordy. But before we can start with the physical actions -the "doing," we have to prepare the mind first. As I've said before, you cannot have a healthy body if your thoughts are filled with poison.

I'm going to assume you've read my post on "Inspiration." If not, read it -because you need to identify your reasons for wanting to be healthy. It may sound trite, but if you don't write down your goals and inspirations, then you're really just "winging" it. You're giving yourself too much leeway to get away with NOT doing something -which MAY be, after all, a good part of the reason why you're not healthy in the first place. I emphasized the word "may," so don't attack me for speaking in generalizations.

So step 1: Goals and inspirations...write 'em down and post them on your refrigerator.

Next, acknowledge that in this whole process -you have the freedom to choose. YOU decide what goes in your shopping cart. YOU decide what meals to prepare. YOU decide what goes on the stabby end of your fork and into YOUR mouth. If you have kids, YOU decide for them too. Take ownership. Tell yourself that whatever happens from here on out is your responsibility...not your spouse's (unless you're dealing with kids)...not mine. Yours. Everybody that's in your life needs to either be on board and supportive of you, or they need to disappear.

Step 2: YOU are responsible for choosing to live your best life. YOU are also responsible for choosing to live your worst life. Choose carefully.

I also want you to forgive yourself. Personal judgements are swift and fierce, and they need to stop. If you feel silly or foolish for trying every diet out there and only receiving poor results, that's okay. I've never seen one single diet be appropriate for everyone, and most of them are dealing in manufactured "science," anyway. If you've been to one "expert" and another and another, only to be told "there's nothing wrong with you" or "it's all in your head," the ineptitude and limitations of their abilities and education isn't your fault -it's theirs. If you feel stupid because you don't know how to properly care for yourself, don't. We live in a carefully crafted culture of fear designed specifically to make you feel incompetent and stupid and perpetually afraid so you"ll buy all the shit they want to sell you -even if it kills you. Fear is what keeps our economy humming. If people stopped being afraid, our economy would collapse.

Step 3: The past has passed. Let it go. Let's just concern ourselves with today. Don't worry about tomorrow, it'll be here soon enough. Stop living with guilt. Stop living with shame. Stop living with fear. They will only prevent you from moving forward. Arming yourself with knowledge will give you the power to commit the most rebellious act of all: breaking free from the system and becoming your own health sovereign. You're not a lab rat. You're a human being. Live like one.

Finally, we're not aiming for perfection. Life is too messy to even bother. We can, however, arm ourselves with enough knowledge that we don't even need to concern ourselves with getting everything 100 percent correct...unless you want to, in which case the knowledge bombs will help with that too. It's important to acknowledge this, because the inevitable slip-ups or moments of "weakness" lead to guilt. Guilt leads to shame, shame leads to judgement, judgement leads to giving up -and now we're back to step one. I like to build in "safety measures" for those moments when life takes a dump on your head. You'll soon learn those.

Step 4: Risk management. You may have heard of an "80/20" rule,
whereby 80 percent of the foods you get to eat are good for
you, and as a "reward" you get to treat yourself to 20 percent dogshit. Dogshit isn't a treat. It's dogshit. The food you eat literally becomes your cells, tissues, and organs. You can't build yourself out of dogshit and not expect to feel like dogshit. I have my own version of 80/20, and it can be scaled up or down to suit you. The idea is to make the majority of your ACTIONS (not just what you eat) beneficial to you. The minority is reserved for when life gets messy. But because you've planned for it (via things like smarter grocery shopping) even your moments of weakness won't sabotage all your hard-won gains. Risk management FTW.

That's it for today. Start here...seriously. Don't skip this, no matter how silly or trite you think it is. The difference between successes and failures are the thoughts and stories you tell yourself about yourself.

Let go, and let grow. Shine on, beautiful people.

how to properly feed a human: DBS

So...I'll try to make this short and sweet...(yeah, right.)

Eating healthy isn't just about what you put into your body, it's also about what you don't put into your body. I shit, Sherlock -right? I mean, it goes without saying that if you want a healthy body, then don't build it out of soda pop and Little Debbie Swiss Rolls (no lie, my lunch nearly everyday in 8th grade...don't tell my mom. Incidentally, I spontaneously and mysteriously threw up a lot that year.) We know these things have no place in a healthy diet, and they should be eliminated completely. We know this.

Now I know it's not realistic to expect someone to completely change the way they eat after three or four or six decades of eating crap. Unless of course, they just suffered some major life-threatening trauma/diagnosis that scared the piss out of them -but that what it's going to take to get YOU to eat like a grown adult? Sadly, for some people the answer to that is yes. But usually by then it's too late. The damage has been done. You can't blow an engine and expect to fix it simply by changing the oil.

It's. Too. Late.

Had you changed the oil 30,000 miles ago like you were supposed to, or paid attention to the strange noises coming from under the hood and the poor performance and gas mileage, you might not have ended up stranded on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck at 3 a.m. Yes, I'm saying that putting tape over the "check engine" light is a horrible strategy for automobile maintenance.

Like a car, your body is fantastic machine, capable of doing amazing things -provided you give it the right fuel. But humans are also "cursed" with free will, and that can lead to some pretty poor decision making sometimes. So how can we mitigate a lot of the damage done to our health by the irrational parts of our brain -especially when we're craving something...dirty?

First, understand that your brain is taking marching orders from either the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight), or the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest.) When the PNS is in charge, the prefrontal cortex is online, and you're straight-up-stone-cold-cherry-chillin'. Not only are you able to relax and make more rational decisions or think more clearly, your digestive system is also properly engaged to do it's job correctly.

The SNS engages parts of the brain that favor survival over anything else, and it's in charge whenever you're stressed. It's going to make you do some pretty silly things because it wants you to stay alive. Except instead of battling bears and tigers, we go to war with strangers on FB over politics and have 9-5 jobs we hate...or kids bouncing off the walls because they've eaten nothing but sugar and excitotoxins all day long. Or all of the above.

Hello stress eating.

You see what I'm getting at. Getting a grip on our stressors is a fundamental part of healthier eating, because we need our rational, thinking brain to be in charge. But not just when you're eating, because eating presumes that you've already BOUGHT the things you're about to eat. This means that your thinking brain needs to be in charge when you go grocery shopping too, so don't buy food when you're stressed or emotional or high AF.

Now getting a grip on your stressors is a post or two in and of itself. I can usually help with external stressors, but really -that's more in your own wheelhouse. I tend to focus on ameliorating the internal stressors via lab testing, as well as teaching you how to modify your lifestyle and habits to heal your body and eliminate those internal stressors. But for now, let's assume you're in the right frame of mind to grocery shop. Ready to have your mind blown?

Don't. Buy. Shit. (aka DBS.)

As long as you DBS, you won't bring it home and eat it or feed it to your kids. Revolutionary, right? 

Before we continue, I want to be clear moving forward: this post is about "healthier unhealthy foods," because I know most of you aren't going to give up things like ketchup or peanut butter or ice cream right off the bat...if ever. That's okay. We'll talk about "healthy foods" and "healthy food swaps" in upcoming posts. DBS will apply across the board, with everything you buy -not just food. You're in charge, right? DBS.

Moving on.

Did you know that for nearly every unhealthy food out there, there also happens to be a healthier unhealthy version of it? You can buy ketchup without high fructose corn syrup and food coloring. You can buy organic peanut butter without hydrogenated oils and sugar. Instead of Häagen Dazs, there's coconut milk ice cream. Bread. BBQ sauce. Peanut butter cups. Cookies. Cigarettes. Vodka.

None of these things are good for you -even the healthier versions- and I can't stress enough that you would be better off without them. But the healthier versions are a hell of a lot better for you than their unhealthy counterpart by virtue of what you're NOT putting in your body...BPA, MSG, parabens, food colorings, preservatives, those things have no place in ANY human body -young or old. You're still usually getting a healthy dose of sugar or starches or whatever, so I emphasize -these things are still not good for you to consume on a regular basis. But humans being human beings, we like to live dangerously.

Yes, sometimes these things can be a tiny bit more expensive, but not more expensive than replacing your engine. Next time you're at the grocery store, remember to DBS. Take a little more time to seek out a better version of the things you know aren't any good for you. They're there. If you have questions, ask me. I'll do my best to help you find a healthier unhealthy version of what you're looking for. Eventually, the plan will be to gently wean you off these things and on to a more healthy, whole food diet, without ever missing the crap.

But for now, DBS.

Of course, this also means you need to learn how to read a label. Empower yourself with the knowledge of what's in your food so that you can make a more educated decision about what to buy. IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO BE AN INFORMED CONSUMER. If you think the food industry actually cares about your health and well being, then I have a vaccine to sell you. 

Environmental Working Group (EWG) has a couple of great apps you can download for free, so that when you go shopping you can scan the bar code and get more info on that product, as well as a better option. EWG's Food Scores app deals with food, and their Healthy Living app deals with food, cleaning supplies, and body care products. We'll be addressing cleaning supplies and body care products in future posts, so you can just stick with the Food Scores app for now, if you want.

That's it for now, punks. Sorry I started out this post with a lie. I'll try to make them shorter. (No I won't. That's a lie too.) #sorrynotsorry