Okay, quick related story:
My husband mentioned last weekend that I NEEDED to take my car in for an oil change. When driving it, he noticed that the car seemed to be running funny. And when he looked at the sticker date on my front window, he was not impressed to find out that I was months overdue.
The truth is, I never noticed that my car was “running funny”.
Also, I thought about an oil change once or twice, and then completely forgot to have a look at the sticker to see when it was due.
And the few times I did think about it, I think I briefly considered cost and effort (relatively low, as it is) and thought I could put it off a bit longer.
But really, if I kept running the car like that, could I expect good results?
What do cars have to do with healthy, delicious eating, you may ask?
(Or perhaps you see where I am going with this…)
Just as with our cars, there are some things we need to regularly do to take care of our bodies.
And just like cars need regular oil changes and the right kind of gas, we also need to have the right kind of intake (food) for our bodies to run smoothly.
The fact is, if we don’t get proper nutrition, we may not notice much of a difference for awhile, but in reality our performance is probably being effected more than we realize.
And even more importantly, there may actually be damage being done under the “hood” …and sooner or later, we are going to see the results and they may not be be pretty.
With a car, if I don’t take proper care of it, I can always try to sell it–but I’ll probably lose out on a lot of resale value.
But if I don’t take care of my body… I can’t trade it in for another one. I need to live with the results.
(Check out my last blog post on whether or not healthy eating is really THAT important.)
Fortunately, bodies are much more self-healing than cars, but I think you get my point–and getting the right foods is a huge key in helping them to heal.
Like my oil, maybe you too “think of it” occasionally when it comes to the health of your body. You know you should eat healthier…maybe get some more exercise… but you just haven’t been noticing any bad effects, and it sounds like a lot of unnecessary effort and money to spend on food that you think may not even taste very good.
But when it comes to our general eating habits in North America, I think you probably would agree that health-wise, there is often much to be desired…
We’ve become so used to eating sugar-packed and processed foods, that this is so normal for us and anything else sounds boring and unenjoyable.
But unfortunately, the cost of our food intake to our physical health is often much higher than we realize.
We might seem to “get away with it” for a time, but really, little by little we are either building our health or taking it away.
This is not to heap guilt on you– even some very healthy people do get sick.
But if you are like most of us, a lot of your eating habits aren’t lending themselves to building a healthy body, and you could use an “oil-change”.
I have some good news for you!
Yes, it will take a bit of time, a bit of effort, and maybe a bit more money (although not necessarily), BUT eating good food can actually be so DELICIOUS, so FILLING, and make you feel so GOOD, that eventually you’ll feel like you are eating better than you ever have!
Just like I DO need to load up my little guy into the car, drive over to the oil change place, spend a bit of time waiting, and then fork over the money, we DO need to put in some thought, make some plans, perhaps buy some things we haven’t before, and try some things we haven’t done before.
“But It’s Too Hard!” you say?
Maybe you WANT to improve your eating habits but you have some arguments running through your head. I’m going to take a guess at some of them, and try to give some helpful responses.
(PS. If you are low on time, scroll down to the bottom of this post where you can sign up for the PDF of these tips along with a worksheet to help you plan your next steps to healthy, delicious eating.)
Some Arguments, Responses, and Tips
1. I want a healthy body, but I don’t want to eat healthy–boring! There’s barely anything healthy that I like.
Honestly, I love eating and have a sweet tooth, too. Sometimes we get the message (and have probably experienced) that healthy = bland and limited.
You might be surprised by what is actually super-healthy (even though we’ve been told it isn’t in the past–butter, anyone?), and by the awesome recipes available you would love.
Check out the resources in the my next post! Make it your goal to find recipes that are delicious, yet so healthy, it could actually be better to eat them (in moderation) than not to–they are out there!
2. It’s just too hard to change what I eat.
Unless you are very sick (and my heart goes out to you, if so), it is often best to change things little by little. This helps you make progress as you get used to each step before you move on to the next thing–it makes change so much easier.
Just focus on baby steps!
3. I don’t know where to start. What foods are healthy (and delicious)?
It really can be hard to figure out what is actually healthy, since there are so many conflicting messages out there. I will list my favourite resources for health information in the next post.
Check them out–you may be pleasantly surprised at what it looks like science is showing is actually healthy–and what is not.
But this information is the result of my own study and prayer up to this point and you don’t have to agree. But I’d strongly encourage you to pray and study, as well, asking God to help you know what foods are truly good for you and what are not.
I believe He wants to help you, and if you persevere, He will give you wisdom and knowledge in this area.
4. I don’t like to cook.
I relate to this one.
I am actually lucky to have a husband who enjoys cooking, but now that I’m a Work-at-Home Mom, I am now doing most of the cooking.
There are actually many delicious recipes out there that are both super-easy and healthy. As you search for ideas and try things out, you can build a “library” of favourites that don’t take that much time.
Another idea is to get your friends over to cook together and take home a whole bunch of food –check out healthy freezer meals on-line.
Another option, if finances are not an issue for you, is to buy more ready-made healthy options that you may be able to find at a place like Farm Boy (Canada) or Whole Foods (US).
5. What are we going to eat? My family likes chips and cookies and macaroni and cheese!
Whether it’s for yourself or your family, again ‘baby steps’. I understand that it’s difficult to change people’s minds and that’s not your responsibility. Try to work with what your family DOES like and change it up a bit.
For example, you might want to try to make some great recipes as appealing as possible (eg. dips and sauces, faces on them, or have children make them with you).
You can also try swapping some less-healthy ingredients in your favourite recipes and see how it goes. For example, if your kids like cookies, you may be surprised that it’s possible to make super-delicious ones with all healthy ingredients…
Also, try some new recipes that you think your family would like. Sweet potato fries, anyone?
And again, take baby steps–try not to overwhelm them with too many changes at one time. If something doesn’t work, give yourself grace and try something else they might like another time.
6. I don’t have TIME to cook!
Once you get used to it, depending on what you make, cooking may not take much longer than waiting for a pizza to be delivered…Again, try easy recipes or ready-made foods.
Could you do prep on the weekend and put ingredients in baggies, ready to go? You could also try some great slow-cooker recipes (so you don’t have to stand at the stove) or freezer cooking (where you cook ahead of time and freeze some yummy meals to pop in the oven when you get home from work).
7. What about temptation when I’m hungry?
Unlike what we may have been taught to believe, eating healthy is not usually about going hungry.
Perhaps sometime you might decide to do a juice fast (with your health practitioner’s permission) or something, but ordinarily, you should be able to eat great-tasting, healthy food until you are full.
And this is a key: try not to keep unhealthy foods in your house.
Instead, have other yummy alternatives to munch on when you need a snack.
If a hubby or someone absolutely insists on their favourite snacks (or meals), you may have to work with that. But give it a try and stock your cupboards and fridge with healthy snacks and foods you think your family will be happy to eat.
Likely in time, they may become their go-to’s…since after all, they are delicious.
Here are some snack ideas for yourself and anyone else you provide food for: cookies made with nut flour, berries, frozen grapes, chips and salsa or hummus, popcorn with butter, cheese, veggies and dip, nuts, dill pickles, chocolate covered frozen bananas… doesn’t that list sound good (and of course there are tons more ideas)?
(Check out my next post to see some of my favourite recipes!)
8. I need to lose weight, but I hate limiting myself.
The wonderful thing is that as long as you are eating truly healthy foods, it’s often not so important how MUCH you eat (within reason), but more about WHAT you eat (as long as you get some moderate exercise).
I was impressed by the book Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis, and you might be interested in reading it, too.
It said that a lot of people have weight trouble and can’t seem to lose it until they try avoiding carbs — especially wheat.
I’ve also been learning from various sources that unlike we were taught in the past, eating fat is actually important for your brain health (even in avoiding Alzheimers) and for the health of the rest of your body.
And the ironic thing is that eating certain fats (such as coconut oil) can actually help you LOSE weight.
Avoiding a lot of sugar can also be a key. Perhaps instead of pop (diet or not) you could try to drink healthy liquids such as herbal teas (like chocolate orange) or fruit-flavoured water, almond milk, etc. You can even make delicious pop of your own using stevia or other healthy sweeteners by mixing club soda and home-made'syrups'.
Again, if your house doesn’t have the unhealthy foods in it that are tempting for you, but instead lots of other delicious, healthy ones, it will be much easier (and enjoyable) to stick to healthy eating.
9. Healthy eating is too expensive.
This really depends.
It doesn’t have to be expensive.
If you make your own food; buy lots of fruits, veggies, eggs, dried beans, and other inexpensive items; and buy other ingredients that are on sale, it can actually end up being less expensive for you than buying lots of prepared foods.
Yes, there are some specialty ingredients that can be pricey, such as coconut oil, chia seeds, nuts, and even organic foods. For me, the benefit of some of these particular ingredients often outweighs the cost, especially if I get them at Costco, for example, or on sale.
But if you don’t feel you can afford them now, than put them off for later time (if you want) and use other ingredients. I don’t, for example, buy even close to all organic food at this time.
In my next post, I’ll include a PDF to help you plan your shopping trip around delicious, healthy meals and snacks that stay within your budget.
Okay! Also in my next post, I’ll show you some health resources I love and some of my favourite recipes for snacks and meals. I look forward to it!
Want to think about the above tips more deeply as they relate to your life? Sign up below to download a PDF of these tips, plus a worksheet to write your thoughts and ideas for next steps for your health:)
By the Way…
If you have some physical health goals and would like some help with, I’d love to coach you. I’ll help you reflect on your situation, plan realistic and fun strategies for your life, as well as give you gentle accountability and encouragement on the road to better health.
Disclaimer: I'm passionate about nutrition and natural living, but I am not a certified nutritionist, medical doctor, or practitioner of any kind, therefore I'm not licensed to counsel anyone in medical matters. This blog is for informative and entertainment purposes only and my coaching services empower you to come up with your own creative solutions and do your own research. For medical advice, please seek out the advice of your trusted healthcare provider.