DO ONE THING: Cook At Home

DO ONE THING | Cook At Home

Welcome back to my “DO ONE THING” series! We’re looking at small changes that we can make for great health impact. If you’d like to read the rest of the series, you can do that HERE.

So, when I say small changes, this one might be a bit of a stretch- but the impact is HUGE! Today’s change is to start COOKING AT HOME. And I don’t just mean throwing a frozen pizza in the oven, either- I mean taking control of what you are eating and cooking it yourself!

Processed and ready-made foods are full of things that are ruining your health- from preservatives to additives to artificial flavors, genetically-modified ingredients, high fructose corn syrup, bleached flours, the lost goes on and on. When we consume these foods, we are flooding our body with foreign substances that aren’t meant to be digested by our guts or absorbed by our intestines. These chemicals disrupt our hormones and make our bodies work harder to get the nutrients that they need, which makes us feel sluggish, bloated, and leads to even greater health complications.

When we cook at home, we have complete control over what is going into our bodies! Even if we choose not to always cook the healthiest meals, we will at least be knowledgeable of what we are consuming and can prepare ourselves for the fallout.

Benefits of cooking at home:

  • Little or no preservatives
  • Can be sure of avoiding allergens- dairy, wheat, nuts
  • Bigger servings of fruits and vegetables
  • Can avoid GMO ingredients
  • Meals free of chemicals and additives
  • Use whatever sweeteners or seasonings fit within your diet
  • Two words: portion. control.
  • No advertising to trick you into sodas, desserts, or cheesy bread 🙂
  • So much cheaper!

Of course, as with all things, moderation is key! I love eating out for special occasions, and many times I allow myself to enjoy foods I might not normally (read: unhealthy food) because it is a treat in our household. Knowing that my normal, everyday diet carries the above advantages allows me to enjoy luxury foods guilt free!

If this feels overwhelming to you, start small. Commit to one meal that you will make from scratch: breakfast is an easy way to start. Once you get the hang of having a whole-foods based breakfast, move on to another meal. Soon it will become second nature to cook wholesome meals for your family.

Do you make a habit of cooking at home? What advantages have you seen for your own health and finances?

DO ONE THING: Snack Smart

DO ONE THING: Snack Smart | small changes for great health

Welcome back to my “DO ONE THING” series! We’re looking at small changes that we can make for great health impact. If you’d like to read the rest of the series, you can do that HERE.

Today we’re talking about that little thing that can put a big obstacle in your diet- snacking. The truth is, snacking doesn’t have to be something to feel guilty about- in fact, if done correctly, it can boost your metabolism, raise energy levels, and add to your overall nutrition throughout the day!

The problem is that most of us reach for convenient, prepackaged snacks to do the job. These are often highly processed foods, full of chemicals and preservatives and other additives that destroy our health. What’s even crazier about this is that foods that help boost our health can be just as convenient, it only takes a little planning!

Having a small snack both at late morning and late afternoon (between your normal meals) can actually keep your metabolism from dipping, which helps keep your digestive system flowing and supports more active calorie burn. In addition, snacks that are high in protein or sustaining carbs (like oatmeal) will balance your blood sugar and provide you with lasting energy to keep you going throughout the day!

Think about swapping out your normal snack for some of these:

apple
clementines
banana
almonds or other nuts
a whole-foods protein bar (homemade if you can!)
trail mix
yogurt or kefir
dried fruit
small portion of oatmeal (old-fashioned or steel cut is best)
carrots
pepper sticks
popcorn (popped at home with coconut oil if you can!)
cucumber slices
hummus
peanut butter
roasted chickpeas or edamame

At the beginning of the week, take 15 minutes and prep your snacks for the next few days. Slice up vegetables, portion out hummus or peanut butter, and make portioned baggies to take on the go with you. This few minutes of grunt work will have you feeling so much better physically, and you’ll be snacking guilt-free, too!

What’s your favorite healthy snack? Do you ‘snack prep’, too?

DO ONE THING: Swap Out Sodas

DO ONE THING: Kick The Soda Habit

Welcome back to my ‘DO ONE THING’ series, where we’re taking a look at small changes we can make for great health! Today, we’re talking about one of the easiest but most impactful changes you can make for your health: cutting out soda.

Sodas are a staple of the Standard American Diet. Once considered a treat for a special occasion, it’s not uncommon for the average American to be sipping on a Coke from late morning until bedtime. Beverages, no matter what they are, are always a sneaky source of calories and ingredients that can ruin your health, and sodas are among the worst!

First of all, sodas are sweetened, most often, by high fructose corn syrup. This highly addictive substance has direct links to obesity and weight gain. If you’re diligent enough to find a soda that has been sweetened with real sugar, that is better- but the amount of sugar you’re consuming is astronomical and still linked to significant health problems!

So maybe the answer is diet soda? Not a chance. If you missed last week’s ‘DO ONE THING’ post on artificial sweeteners, you can read that HERE. Diet soda is just another alternative that is horrible for your health!

In addition to the issues with sweeteners in sodas, there’s also many artificial flavors and colors. Artificial flavor is a code word for chemical ingredient that tastes like something familiar. ‘Natural flavor’ is even more deceptive, referring to anything that could be natural, not necessarily the ingredient you assume it may be. My favorite example is natural raspberry flavor, taken from a beaver’s anal glands. See this hilarious video from FOOD BABE.

Artificial coloring may seem harmless, but more and more suspicion is being raised around food dyes. While you and I might think of those little droppers that our moms used to color frosting when we were kids, this is more like a toxic chemical- though used in small amounts, they can have big effects on our health. Many parents are now connecting ADD/ADHD symptoms in their children’s behavior with food dyes- red in particular.

So, what should we drink instead? Well, water is a great option. But if you’re still craving that fizzy flavor, here’s a few great things to switch to:

KOMBUCHA– This delicious fizzy concoction is basically fermented sweet tea,sometime with juices or other flavorings added. There are so many health benefits to kombucha that it’s almost hard to grasp… you can read all about kombucha here!

KEFIR– Similar to kombucha, kefir can come in “milk” form (almost like liquid yogurt) or “water” form (similar to kombucha- almost like a soda). The health benefits are similar as well!

TEA– Herbal teas can provide any number of flavors and an even wider variety of health benefits, depending on the herbs involved. Swapping out soda and replacing with tea is a great move for your health!

What’s your favorite thing to drink throughout the day?

Great selection of bulk herbs, books, and remedies. Articles, Research Aids and much more.

DO ONE THING: Cutting Artificial Sweeteners

CUTTING ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS | do one thing series

Please note: I am not a doctor, nor have I received formal medical training. I’m just a mom, passionate about natural health who wants to share what she knows! This post contains affiliate links- thanks for supporting my family!

I often have conversations with people who tell me how overwhelmed they are with eating healthy and making responsible dietary changes. I admit, it takes a lot of adjusting (both mentally and physically) to arrive at a healthy lifestyle, but there are many small changes that can be made to add up to a cumulative healthy change. This week I’m beginning the new ‘Do One Thing’ series, teaching you one change per week to make for the good of your health. This week, we’re starting big: cutting out artificial sweeteners.

Calorie counting is both a blessing an a curse to our generation’s health: while many people have trimmed significant weight by counting their calories and adding in exercise, it is often accomplished through the introduction of low-calorie or calorie-free diet foods that are chock full of chemical additives and artificial sweeteners. While this *might* give you the short-term positive payoff of lost weight, it’s wreaking havoc on your body in the long term.

See, when we consume a food that has been sweetened artificially, our body tastes the sweetness and begins to produce insulin to break down sugars. However, because sugar isn’t present, this leaves lots of excess insulin circulating in our bodies, which then leads us to crave sugar even more! So, that diet soda you have with your lunch might be directly related to that candy bar you were craving later that afternoon. Not exactly helping you lose weight like you thought, huh?

Another often overlooked issue with artificial sweeteners is that they are artificial! You are flooding your body with chemicals (many linked to very troublesome side effects- see this FDA release) that you aren’t meant to process. This puts extra pressure on your liver, creates disruption in the digestive tract, and throws the body’s natural flora off balance.

So, what’s the solution? Stay away from artificial sweeteners! Here’s what I suggest:

-Swap diet sodas for all-natural ones sweetened with cane sugar (preferably organic)

-Sweeten your tea or coffee with cane sugar, coconut sugar, real maple syrup, or honey. Avoid any ‘sugar free’ syrups or flavorings, and don’t be fooled by agave- it’s highly processed and likely worse for you than plain sugar.

-Avoid chemical-laden low calorie diet foods and eat real foods instead, like fruits and vegetables.

Have you cut out artificial sweeteners? Did you notice a difference in your health? What was the most difficult transition for you?