3 Easy Steps to Begin Your Transition to Health
Since starting my blog I have had dozens of people reach out to me and ask questions about my health journey. The most common question that I have gotten is: How do I start to make this change? It seems so hard to transition to a life of health, and many people have tried and failed, which is discouraging. It can feel like the change is impossible… but I am living proof that it is not! For those that knew me years ago, you would recall that my favorite food group was Oreo Cakesters (before they were discontinued). I could eat a greasy pizza every day, and I loved me a hostess snack. Now I would never in a million years touch one of those! It is not because I have told myself that I am not allowed or that I stop myself, I simply don’t want it. Through my journey of health, my tastes and preferences have changed. I don’t crave those things, so I don’t eat them. It is not a diet.. it is a way of life and it is totally achievable. Here are my top 3 tips for making the transition:
1.Make small, incremental changes
The biggest secret to making a lifestyle change is not expecting to do it overnight. It took me over a year to get myself to a healthy point. I had to start somewhere though, right? I started making shakes in the morning, but I thought they were disgusting without sugar, so I added sugar at first. Then after a while, I substituted for honey, then I started adding leafy greens, then I got rid of the honey, then I added seeds and other healthy add-ins. It took me several months to make the overall transition, but it worked! If you would have handed me a healthy Ashwagandha and kale smoothie at the beginning of my journey, I would have to spit it out. It can sometimes feel daunting and overwhelming to try to change up your entire diet and routine overnight. So start somewhere that is manageable. Start by adding in a smoothie in the morning, a few cooked veggies at night, fresh fruit as a snack, opting for the nuts over the chocolate. These things will add up and make the change doable and not overwhelming. It can then become a lifestyle change and not a diet.
2. Get rid of Gluten
Gluten… the silent killer. I know you may think this is crazy. 50 years ago, this prospect would be crazy. For THOUSANDS of years, people lived on a bread of some sort. So, why all of a sudden is it bad for us? Well, companies like Monsanto’s have helped to create thousands of hybrids of the wheat plant. The most common in the United States is “dwarf wheat” that is full of pesticides to withstand bugs. This is incredibly unhealthy and unnatural for us. Our digestive systems simply can’t handle it. Then we get into bread products and what they are made with. Would you be surprised to know that 2 pieces of whole wheat bread have more sugar than a Snickers Bar (10 grams)? Insane, right? The book “The Wheat Belly” opened up my eyes to a whole new world of thinking and living. This Cardiologist claims that he has been able to get to the root of almost every single autoimmune disease by getting rid of wheat! As a personal testament to this, I went off of wheat around 2 years ago and dropped 15 lbs. within 2 months with only that change. There are much better alternatives anyways! If this seems daunting, at least try to significantly decrease your intake of bread, donuts, muffins, bagels, rolls, tortillas, chips, pasta, etc. I promise you will notice a difference.
3.Increase your fruit and vegetable intake
Classic, right? How many times have we heard this. But, it’s so true and it’s an easy step! It just takes a conscious effort. Have a banana with breakfast, throw some spinach in that shake, take some carrots with lunch, cook a side of broccoli with dinner, grab a handful of berries for a snack, try some kale chips or edamame beans, buy hummus as a dip, etc. Adding in more fruits and vegetables will help with your vitamin levels (which is insanely important, but a conversation for another day), and help you to replace the sugar your body is used to in a natural way. Another amazing way to get your fruits and vegetables in is to juice. I love juicing and will write more on that soon. They key here is to slowly but steadily replace all of the bad food you are having with healthier alternatives. If you drink a soda every day, start by switching to lemonade, then down the road, you can try berry and herb infused water, juicing or KambuCha. This also plays into the slow transition to your new lifestyle. Fruits and vegetables should be the base of every meal, and this is a stepping stone in that direction.
A Word of Caution: Don’t believe everything you hear… do your own research!
I’m sure you’ve heard a ton of advice pertaining to your health throughout the years. “Stay away from fats”, “Count your calorie intake”, “Folic Acid is good for you”, and so on. So many of these things are myths or fads that have been perpetuated by companies or people who stand to make money. Not everyone has your best interest in mind. There are so many companies that play on your emotions to sell you a product. The important thing it making sure there is real evidence to back up your decisions and make sure that you find out who is funding the studies, if there are any biases, or if they are credible. Unfortunately, there is too much information out there that is falsified or incorrect. Don’t take your information just because it comes from the AHA or AMA. Make sure you consult all of the legitimate sources you can find on both sides of the argument and then make a decision.
One final warning, please, please, please do not be fooled by fad’s and “replacements”. It is not true health to substitute a meal for a chocolate shake, or anything from a can, bag, or box. Health comes from the dirt! Anything that is grown and picked and can expire in a few weeks is good for you. Synthetic vitamins and minerals are not true health in any form. Do not get caught in fads and diet trends. True health is achieved by making decisions that will have long-term effects, not something that is a quick fix. It takes sacrifice, but it is so worth it!