7 Steps to Becoming Healthy Through Good Eating

 

Unfortunately, people aren’t taught nutrition at any stage in their life. This leads to sly marketers being able to sell non-nutritious foods as “healthy”. This article is about filtering all of the convoluted information out there down to it’s essence. It’s the basics of what you need to know to get your health back on track. Or at least close to the tracks, depending on where you’re starting.

This is the slow and appropriate way to get your health/weight back on track. No fad diets, no miracle pills, no scams.

The hard reality is that most people fail to make meaningful behavioral change. But not you. No, you’ve found this website, and you’re going to follow the steps below. The reason people fail to make meaningful behavioral change is because life gets in the way. Sick child, work deadline, lack of cooking skills, whatever.

If you want to make a meaningful change to your health and weight, it’s going to take time. So instead of jumping right in, throwing away all of your food, and buying a bunch of vegetables, do step one first. The process is similar to playing a video game and each step is an increased level of difficulty.

Don’t jump jump in and try to do 1-10 immediately. Bookmark this page, start with #1 and when you have that mastered, move to step #2. The point is not to do everything at once, the point is to build these routines into our everyday life.

1. Learn to Read Food Labels

While there are some very loose restrictions on what companies can and cannot put on the front of their packaging, there are more stringent restrictions on the food’s label. So this is where we need to look if we want to understand the quality of our food.

If you, like most people, don’t know how to properly read food labels, everything after this will be in vain. Even if you do know how to properly read food labels, you should read the FDA guide Here before you do anything else.

Go ahead, I’ll wait here while you read it.

Action That You Need to Take

After reading that article, start looking at food labels every time you pick up a package. It’ll be a big learning curve and will take time, but it’s necessary to know what’s going in your body.

2. Stop Drinking Calories and Chemicals

I had a friend in high school that gave up pop/soda for Lent. He would routinely drink two 2 liters a day. Now he was an extreme example, but he lost 30 pounds in 40 days.

Lets do some math. Looking at this from a pure calorie perspective, a 2 liter of Mountain Dew has 1020 calories in it. So he was consuming 2040 calories a day just in soda. Do you know how many calories are in a pound of fat? 3500 calories.

In that 40 days, he consumed 81,600 less calories from soda alone. That’s 23 pounds worth of fat! Even if you just drank one 16 oz bottle of Coke each day, that’s equivalent to 21 pounds of fat per year!

This is what makes this step so important and powerful. These empty calories go straight to your waistline due to the fact that they don’t make you less hungry. In turn, you eat the same amount of food along with the extra calories that you drink.

Now let’s not assume that it is just the calories that are damaging. Study after study has shown that artificial sweeteners mess with your blood sugar just as much as real sugar. If not more. This will lead to the same levels of obesity and diabetes.

Soda isn’t the only culprit here. Most of the drinks lining supermarkets are packed with added sugars and chemicals. Even so called “healthy” alternatives like juices and teas.

Action That You Need to Take

  1. Stop drinking soda or greatly reduce the amount overtime until you’re at zero. Replace with water.

  2. Reduce or eliminate the amount of juices that you drink. When you do drink juice, make sure it’s a type that’s processed as little as possible. If drinking orange juice, make sure it has pulp. The added fiber will slow down the blood sugar spikes.

  3. Coffee. Oh I love coffee. It’s my life blood. If you’re an addict like I am, do what I did. Over time. Weeks, not days. Add less and less sugar or creamer. Your taste buds will adapt. My favorite trick was to fill up my cup and when I had drank a quarter of the cup, I’d fill it back up with black coffee. Rinse and repeat. After doing this every day, I just naturally added less sugar because my taste buds had adjusted.

  4. Wine. I’m not giving this up either. As in the previous example, I slowly started to switch to a dryer wine that would contain less sugar.

  5. Liquor. Man up and drink your whiskey on the rocks like you should! OK, jokes aside, the above technique works for this too. Over time, you’ll be known as “the man” (even if you’re a woman), that drinks black coffee, dry wine, and Glenlivet 12 year single malt scotch “neat”.

  6. Read The Case Against Sugar. It’s an this amazing book on sugar and the effect it’s having on your body. It contains everything from obesity, diabetes, and the similarities between the sugar market and big tobacco.

3. Learn The Basics of Cooking

Unless you have enough disposable income to eat out every single meal, you’re going to need to learn to cook. You don’t need to be Chef Ramsay, but you will need to know the basics. I haven’t found a good guide on the basics of cooking yet. Check back in the future and I’ll write one or drop a link here.

Action That You Need to Take

  1. If you are a complete beginner, take a cooking class or ask somebody you know to teach you. If not a complete beginner, google will suffice.

  2. Learn more about and experiment with fruits and vegetables. Since these should make up a large percent of your diet, you should definitely know the difference between broccoli and broccolini. This is also important due to the fact that you will very quickly get bored rotating the same 5 vegetables.

  3. Learn how to make vegetables taste amazing. In the beginning, this is more difficult than it sounds. If you’re not used to eating a lot of vegetables or you don’t know how to cook, this will take time. Figuring out seasoning and adjusting your taste buds will be a process.

4. Find a Handful of Easy Delicious Recipes

Remember that life gets in the way and that’s when people fall off of the bandwagon. You should already have a general idea of a few recipes from step 3. Having a set of easy recipes that you love will keep you from falling off of the bandwagon.

First, when life becomes hectic, you need a few healthy recipes that can be thrown together in an instant. The favorite in our house is grilled chicken and baked vegetables with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. It takes 20 minutes from when I walk into the kitchen to when I walk out with a plate of food.

Secondly, you’re going to want to save time. This means that you’re going to have to take a few hours every week to meal prep. In my meal prep for the week, I cut up and cook roughly ten pounds of vegetables.

Action That You Need to Take

  1. Download multiple apps and save as many interesting recipes that you can find. As long as they look simple and easy of course. Some of my favorites have been In the Kitchen, Yummly, and Epicurious.

  2. While cooking other meals, add in these simple recipes as a test. If you don’t like the food, you already have a meal that you were cooking anyways. If you do like it, save it for lunch or dinner tomorrow.

  3. Write these recipes down and generally have the ingredients to make them on hand. You don’t want any excuse to have to eat highly processed food.

5. Meal Prep on Sundays

This is key in developing the habits needed to succeed. Something is always going to come up during the week that doesn’t allow you to cook a full meal. Running late in the morning makes you skip packing lunch. Life happens. If you don’t meal prep, you will find an excuse to eat unhealthy. I use Sunday since it’s the day before most people’s work week. Any day works as long as you have sufficient time.

Action That You Need to Take

  1. Buy glass Tupperware. Don’t use plastic Tupperware due to the harmful leaching effect of BPA, BPS, and other BPA replacements.

  2. Buy mason jars. This isn’t a necessity, I just think they work better than glass Tupperware for some things.

  3. Plan out what you’re going to eat for lunch and/or dinner.

  4. Either cook everything now and freeze it or prepare the recipes so that it’s as easy as possible to cook in the moment.

  5. Pack snacks! This is where the mason jars come in for me. Dates, nuts, oatmeal, etc are packed away in a cabinet at my work for easy snacking or if I forgot my lunch.

6. Start Slowly Throwing Away and Not Buying processed Food

Let’s be honest with ourselves. Until you get to the point where you’re doing #5 consistently, you’ll still be buying and eating some processed food. Until these habits are ingrained in you, you have no choice. You’ll want to eat healthy, but time crunches will make you either order out or need to buy quick processed food to deal in those time crunches.

Action That You Need to Take

Everytime you pick up a piece of food, your first thought should be “Is this even real food? What’s actually inside?” This sort of questioning and hyper vigilance will become a habit. Things that you thought were healthy or alright turn out to be anything but. Cliff Bar? Nope, it has so much added sugar that it’s a joke to even call it a “nutrition bar”. You might as well be eating a snickers.

If you find yourself not being able to live without your precious Doritos, find a healthier option to replace it with. Do this with every product in your house.

**Note, we are not Martyrs here. There are some things that are just “impossible to give up”. Keep it low at 1-2 items though.

7. Start Buying Organic/Non Pesticide Food

This is much later in the list than most people would expect. Eating organic should be the pinnacle of health not the beginning. Many people think that eating processed food AND organic vegetables is healthy. Nothing could be further from the truth. Eating GMO/Pesticide laced vegetables is far healthier than eating organic oreos.

Action That You Need to Take

Think about the difference and cost and whether you can afford an increased food bill or not. If money is no object, buying everything organic makes sense. If you’re like most Americans doing a balancing act with your money, non-organic vegetables beat organic processed food every single time.

The first Action That You Need to Take

Click on that “Shop All” button below and check out some of our Jungle Sources products. Don’t forget to bookmark this page so that you can come back to it while you’re working through the 7 steps.