Several things have happened this year that have really made me take a closer look at nutrition. I’ve realized that most people have no idea what it means to eat healthy. I’ve realized that many people who want to eat healthy struggle with food addictions that derail them at every turn. I’ve realized that food companies are not our friend. I’ve realized that the entire concept of nutrition has become muddied by people/companies who want to sell us something without regard to our wellbeing and overall long term health. The bottom line is that if you want to be healthy, and I mean really healthy without just going thru the motions, you need to do your own research. Invest the time. Make your own decisions. Health is not a one size fits all proposition but if you put some time into your nutrition, you can be healthy. And please don’t confuse being healthy with being the “perfect” dress size. While for some, that my go hand in hand, that’s not the case for all. The focus here is on nutrition and ultimately health.
Confession. This post has been in queue for months. First paragraph drafted & left to sit. Why? Not because I didn’t think it was important but because I didn’t feel as if I had enough knowledge to bring it to you. I’m not a nutritionist. I’m not a coach. I’m not a trainer. I’m not the person with all my ducks in a row with regards to food or fitness. I’m not anyone other than a regular person who is passionate about food and exercise. I want to be healthy. I want my kids and family to be healthy. I want you to be healthy. So I’m going to share some of the things I’ve learned. Give some tips on a few things you can do that might help you to feel a little better. And I’ll leave you with a list of documentaries that might peak your interest and help you get started in really thinking about yourself, your food and where you want to be health wise in the years to come. How’s that sound? I’m not selling anything. I’m advocating for real food, real health & a real future.
A few things I do that help me to feel good are listed below. I don’t have my nutrition 100%. I’m still tired sometimes. I’m grumpy a lot (especially now that schools out for the summer & full blown chaos has ensued). I don’t recover from workouts/races the way I used to but for the most part, I feel pretty good.
- Cook real food. Avoid take outs & fast food when possible.
- Eat less meat & more fruits and veggies (aka: freggies). Lunches should be fresh and appetizing! I usually have one or two “meatless” meals each day.
- Drink water. Avoid soda, processed fruit/veggie juices, caffeinated sugary drinks & alcohol.
- Prep dinners (Hello, Crockpot!!) and snacks ahead of time so that good choices can be made when everyone is starving.
- Traveling? Pack a cooler with snacks & bottled water.
- Try to avoid processed snacks: chips, bars, juice boxes, cookies. Embrace snack baggies full of your kids favorite freggies. Or make your own granola or energy bars as a family project.
- Buy local via the local farmers market or food co-op. Buy organic, non-gmo foods. If that’s not an option, shop the outer aisles of the grocery store and try to pick as many fresh options as possible.
Cook seasonal fruits & veggies in new and different ways. Just because the kiddos don’t like red peppers raw, doesn’t mean they won’t like them as the base for crockpot fajitas! Asparagus or Zucchini anyone? Let’s try it on the grill, you’ll find it in abundance at the local farmers market for the next several months!
Experiment with getting nutrients thru real foods. I’ve been taking in less supplements and utilizing more vitamins/minerals in real food. Anyone try juicing? Its fun. Its easy. I’ve taken in a lot of nutrients thru the juicer that I wouldn’t have consumed previously.
- If I have extra or don’t like a particular veggie in the juicer, I roast them in the oven. Sea Salt & Olive Oil will make anything yummy!
I’ve changed a lot of things this year and its mostly about my food. I buy as many local organics as possible. I don’t like to go to the supermarket. I go to the co-op first, then supplement at the grocery. I still struggle with the fact that my kids are not on board with my fruit & veggie movement. They still want pop tarts for breakfast & cheetos in the afternoon. But I’m making an effort. They complain a lot about there being “no real food in the house”, so I know I’m making an impact. If they choose an apple or strawberries one time over something processed, then that’s a mini win for me.
Everything in moderation, right? That’s the saying but overall, I think eating real food, without chemicals & hidden ingredients will lead to better health for me and my family. There are many who believe that overeating, in conjunction with consuming processed & “fast” foods are killing this nation. Each year, the pharmaceutical & food companies are making a killing. Healthcare conglomerates are growing bigger and bigger. Yet, each day people are dying from cancer, heart disease, diabetes and a plethora of other diseases that never used to exist. Maybe we should think about getting back to basics. If you can’t grow your own food, make sure you know where your food is coming from and whether the person growing it actually cares about their consumers. That’s why I buy local. I want to know who is growing the food that I’m eating. And I’ve even started growing a few things myself. Normally I plant flowers. This year, Michael, Aby & I planted non-gmo veggie plants. Red peppers, cucumbers, zucchini & tomatoes. We’ll see what kind of yield this brings. We’ve already seen some decent growth over the last month.
So, that’s a little bit about what I’ve been doing lately. I know nutrition and food isn’t interesting to everyone. I’ve had friends specifically tell me that they do NOT want to know where their food is coming from and/or how it gets to the supermarket. That’s certainly their prerogative. If you want to know more about food, how it relates to health, nutrition and what’s in the supermarket, then consider watching a few of the documentaries listed below. All are on Netflix and available for streaming.
Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead (I & II)
If you have any other documentaries that you think would be helpful for us to learn more about food & nutrition, then please share! I have several others I’ve heard are good but I haven’t watched because they aren’t on Netflix. I need to expand my streaming capabilities!
** Eat REAL Food ** Amanda – TooTallFritz