What is That on Your Plate?
This is a question people seldom ask themselves but probably should be asking more often. Do you really know what that is on your plate? A great deal of the food we accept as being real “food” and put in our bodies is made of chemicals and ingredients that are so processed that they are unrecognizable. In order to be healthy we need to adopt a lifestyle that includes simple nutrition instead of eating highly processed and preserved foods.
Where Did Your Protein Come From?
One place to start replacing processed foods with simple foods in our diets is with our protein choices. How many of these were on your pla
te this week?
- Chicken Nuggets
- Fish Sticks
- Pre-packaged meatballs or sausages
- Lunch meat (not the all natural kind from the deli)
- Hot Dogs
Many people eat these foods everyday or at the very least several times a week. The problem is that for the most part they are not real food. Tasty, sure, but they are often engineered foods designed to make us crave them. Many of them are also made using “throw away” portions of meat left after processing. This is the stuff that is just a tiny step above pet food. Not that Fido doesn’t deserve the best. Sure, it’s okay to indulge every once in a while, but that should be what they are: an indulgence. Foods like these offenders should not be making up the bulk of your diet.
What You Want to Eat
Simple, natural sources of protein are the best source of fuel for your body. These sources of natural protein are found around the edges of the grocery store with absolutely no need to go into the center isles. Look for whole cuts of meat from the meat case, milk, deli meats and cheeses, and eggs and beans from the bulk containers. And let’s not forget some Core Power: Simple ingredients and great tasting protein that comes from the goodness of fresh milk.
Buying simple, natural sources of protein is where you start, but you also need to add other simple foods to your diet.
I hope this is not a question that you really have to ask, but if it is then you should look in the produce section. Fresh is the best way to buy your vegetables and fruits. If you can support a local farmer by getting them from a nearby farm or farmer’s market you should. Again, if you cannot get your fruits and vegetables from these sources then the produce section at your local grocery store followed by fresh frozen vegetables and fruits are your best options. Frozen vegetables are a better choice then canned vegetables that are often treated with salt and sugar. That being said, a canned green bean is still recognizable as a green bean and is a better choice than some processed foods. It is all about making the best choices possible with the money and resources you have available.
Tidbits and Extras
The previously mentioned foods should make up the bulk of your diet. If you are doing that then you are on the right track. You might find that there are times that you want a little more. Some people cannot imagine their lives without bread. It really is possible to live without it, but if you really want it then choose the all natural, sprouted wheat variety. This type of bread is much more widely available now and can be found in the natural foods or freezer section of your local grocery store.
If you are trying to think of an all natural snack then pair an apple with some cheese or a handful of raw nuts with some dried fruit. You can also make popcorn, but try to go as natural as possible: the popcorn needs to be air popped or made on your stove with a pan, oil and popcorn kernels.
The conclusion is that there are many steps you can take both big and small to improve your diet and thus your health. You do not have to be perfect right away, as long as you’re taking steps in the right direction. Try eliminating one processed food that you eat on a regular basis from your diet each week. Replace that food with something whole, natural and simple and you will be on your way!