Monday, August 1, 2011

Some steps into healthier living... and raw foods

Do you have family members who are hesitant to eat anything other than things which are deep fried, smothered in cheese or butter, or sugar-coated? Do you despair that they will ever consume something healthy on a regular basis? Sadly, most people equate eating healthier with meals of "rabbit food" and huge bowls of fiber or tasteless stodgy lumps of nameless food types. With some imagination, encouragement and tenacity, its possible to guide your loved ones towards healthy living and natural foods without the stress of nagging, threats and fighting at dinner time.

Arguably, should you ask anyone what they aught to be eating to be healthy – they are likely to include “green leafy vegetables” or “fresh fruits” as one of the top recommendations. However, most of us fail to eat even one type per day. Trying to ensure your family eat them can prove frustrating; especially if they are one of those people who don’t naturally enjoy vegetables or a variety of fruit.

Try some of these suggestions to increase the living foods into your normal diet.

1. Always have fresh fruit and veggies available for a quick and easy snack; alternating them with tomato salsas or dips made from organic yoghurt, nuts or chick peas. Even if it is small, have a fruit bowl available with fresh and different offerings for the family to munch on at anytime they wish.
It takes a little more preparation, but if you have carrot and celery sticks already cut into bite size pieces, along with a nutritious nut dip, it allows your family to have the option of choose the healthy snack over a ready to eat convenience food in a packet. Other ready-to-be-popped-into-your-mouth snacks include cucumber, mini tomatoes, broccoli or cauliflower flowerettes. To keep fresh, put them in small snap lock containers in the fridge - and in easy grasping range for hungry mouths.
One of the greatest downfalls for families or individuals attempting to eat a healthier diet, is the availability of good choices. No-one has the patience to wait for something to be washed and prepared if they are hungry NOW! Bypass this immediate need, by having things already prepared.

2. You may be the sort of person who needs to do something immedialty - or go col turkey. If so, grab your washing basket or a large box and systematically remove the items you feel do not support your new lifestyle. Unopened packets of crisps, biscuits, crackers and other processed or snack foods would be gratefully received by your local foodbank, women’s shelter or charity run hostel. If you don’t want to go to that extreme, put them in the highest shelf in the pantry, or seal it into a box and pop in the garage.
The main idea behind this strategy is that if the temptation is not there, then you won’t go down that path.

3. Every time you shop, purchase less of the types of food items which you eventually want to eliminate and replace them with other foods. My children love to indulge in a punnet of strawberries each instead of a chocolate bar or biscuits. The two items are around the same price, but one has so many health giving benefits, its difficult to pass them up. Include the whole family to decide which food items are the ‘worst’ and collectively rate them. Write a list of alternatives or better choices. Each week choose one or two of the most offending items to eliminate as a strategy to getting rid of all the junk choices entirely.

4. Introduce fruit into your diet through desserts or by having entire dessert meals. (it seems so decadent to just eat dessert for a meal doesn't it?)
  • Fresh fruit smoothies poured into ice cube trays or popsicles make great summer desserts - even better if you layer them as you freeze them.
  • Freeze bananas on a popsicle stick. They taste super creamy straight out of the freezer. Dip them in chocolate sauce, coconut, crushed nuts or honey as an extra treat.
  • try exotic fruits in fruit salads - or have it ready in the fridge along with organic yoghurts for a quick snack or wizz up for a smoothie.
  • Threat cubed fruits onto sticks and dip into nut creams
  • Alternate fruit based smoothies boosted with chia seeds or macca powder for processed cereals over the week. Within a fortnight, you should find that the days started on a fruit smoothie, has in fact run smoother; with less junk food cravings.
  • Swap the fats you use in your current diet for ‘better’ ones by adding raw nuts ( cashews, almonds, macadamias) and avocados into your salads. The bodys normal cravings for fatty foods decrease if it is satisfied by a better quality fat.
Pursuing a healthier lifestyle through food choices can only succeed if everyone involved is included in the decision making. If everyone is assisting with choosing recipes and types of foods, they are more likely to try it when it its served.

The key to a healthier eating style which becomes ingrained into your lifestyle is not to force it too quickly. Introduce one idea or food every week, allowing a less healthy choice to slip out of the pantry. Its not only making the healthy choices more convenient for your family to take up, but also making the poorer choices LESS convenient.

The wider variety of fresh foods your family try, the easier it will get including a higher percentage in your ‘normal’ diet. Tastes and long time habits can change; its just a hard long road to alter ingrained beliefs. However, if you have a strong enough belief in what you are doing and have patience, it can be done.

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