One of the most common questions we get is, , “where do I start when it comes to making changes to my diet?” There are several universal “must-do’s” for anyone looking to improve their nutrition but let’s just focus on a couple of simple things for now.
I’ll make a bold statement right now in saying that eating out is killing Americans! It may sound extreme but it is a sad reality. Long gone are daily home cooked meals made with fresh ingredients. This has been replaced with fast food and fast meals on the run. Even when eating at home it is often torn open from a package, prepared by just adding a little water, and popped into the microwave.
Convenience and taste (mostly artificial) and quantity have replaced quality and unadulterated wholesomeness. Most everyone knows that the typical fast food is bad for us but guess what…we eat it anyway, and lots of it! Many Americans simply don’t care, others fool themselves into believing the amount they eat (subjective) won’t hurt them, and many just don’t know what else to do. What many people don’t realize is that much of the food we are eating in sit down, full service restaurants is just as bad or sometimes worse than what we get at the drive-thru. There is a very eye-opening article on this very subject. Take a look, it will shock you. www.menshealth.com/16secrets/index.html
On the flip side, when you cook at home you know exactly what you are eating and you control your ingredients. If you are shaking your head right now or rolling your eyes thinking, “I don’t know how to cook” or “I just don’t have the time” I hear you BUT I would challenge you on this. Through my experience as a wife, mother, shopper, and head cook for my family I can promise you that you CAN cook and you CAN be in and out of the kitchen faster than driving to the restaurant and back. These newsletters will be full of tools, resources, and motivation to keep you going.
While you are reducing the “bad stuff” you should also start adding the “good stuff”. When you decide to eat at home you need to shop. When you shop, your goal should be to have mostly whole foods in your cart. Usually this means shopping around the perimeter of the store. Typically, the processed stuff is in the center of the store. Just get in the habit of picking up everything you buy and reading the label. (More on label reading to come). A good guideline is the less ingredients the better. You want natural products with items that you can pronounce on the label.
Quick, Healthy Recipe
Instead of eating out, try this homemade Mexican Dinner (we have taco night frequently at our house- everyone can customize their own meal and I always have the ingredients on hand). I usually have to double the recipe J
2 tbsp chili powder 1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp ground cumin ½ tsp sea salt
2 tsp oregano ½ tsp cayenne (opt.)
½ tsp onion powder
1 pound ground beef (preferably grass-fed organic ground beef. My favorite is White Oak Pastures available at Publix.)
Mix all spices and add to ground beef with about ½ cup of water or salsa (see below)
I usually skip the shells and make it into a big taco salad with lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, black beans, and taco meat with salsa as dressing (check your ingredients…my favorite is Jack’s Special by Garden Fresh Gourmet also available at Publix.) The kids will sometimes put it over organic tortilla chips or organic taco shells. Enjoy!