It would be overwhelming if we try to change everything at once. Using the “crowd out” method to change our way of eating can be an easier and far more manageable.
This method is easy and simple. We start by replacing some of the junk with healthier options instead of trying to start a strict diet. It doesn’t have to be difficult, expensive, or time-consuming.
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Consider adding a more healthy choice into your daily meals. One example might be to decide to eat one extra serving of vegetables to replace a dessert. What your doing is swapping one for the other.
Next time you’re in the grocery store – skip the can and buy real peaches. This is a good idea for most fruits. Berries keep very well when frozen and they even retain most of their nutritional value. We usually buy a case of mixed fresh berries during the summer from a couple that run over to Washington and Oregon and bring fresh produce back here to Montana. We bag them up and freeze them so that we have yummy berries all year long.
Drink more water
Let’s talk a bit on water because it’s so important and because a lot more people than you might think are running around dehydrated more often than not.
Our bodies are about 60% water. That alone tells us how important it is. Just a few benefits are maintaining our body fluid, energizing our muscles, hydrating our skin, transporting waste out of our cells, thus helping our kidney function, and helps maintain normal bowel function.
Ditching soda is a win-win
I know it can be hard for some because soda can be addictive. If you’re drinking soda, you are literally paying for and consuming dyed sugar water, some chemicals, and a dash of caffeine.
The ingredients in the most popular brands of soda include: carbonated water, sugar, caramel coloring, phosphoric acid, and natural flavorings including caffeine.
The nutritional panel on that same can of soda may read: Total Fat 0 g.; Sodium 45 mg.; Total Carbohydrates 39 g.; and Total Sugars 39 g. (Total Sugars includes 39 added sugars at 78% of your daily value). Cholesterol, protein, vitamin D, calcium, iron, potassium are all listed at 0%.
Please keep in mind that four grams equals approximately one teaspoon of sugar. Let that sink in for a moment. That means that one 12-ounce can of soda has nearly 10 teaspoons of sugar in it.
Could you sit down and eat 10 teaspoons of sugar without throwing up? Maybe, but the phosphoric acid that manufacturers add to soda is what keeps you from doing so. Consider coconut sugar or raw unprocessed honey in place of white processed sugar.
Another way to crowd out is to exchange half of your daily meat intake for veggies. No one needs meat 3 times a day.
Meat intake may be related to weight gain because of its high energy and fat content. Some observational studies have shown that meat consumption is positively associated with weight gain.
The EPIC-PANACEA study
was one of the largest studies ever performed on human nutrition. It was conducted to test whether or not weight gain could be due to the excess caloric intake from consuming meat. A total of 103,455 men and 270,348 women aged 25-70 years were recruited between 1992 and 2000. These people were followed over a 5-year span.
The study controlled caloric intake so that researchers could determine whether or not consuming meat was associated with weight gain. This means that the experimental group that included meat in their diet ate the same number of calories daily as the controlled group that did not consume any meat. Even after controlling for calories, the group that included meat gained weight. After five years and adjustment for total energy intake and underlying dietary patterns, the researchers concluded that “total meat consumption was positively associated with weight gain in men and women, in normal-weight and overweight subjects.” (Source)
When my husband and I decided to make the changes in our diet, we were both a little overweight. It was amazing how we went to an optimal weight in the very short time after minimizing the amount of meat we ate daily. Of course, there were other factors, but I feel the cut back on meat played a big role.
I lost 32 lb. in 10 weeks and another 10 lb. over the next few months. My husband lost 28 lb. in about eight weeks and another 12 or so over the next couple of months. A few more pounds disappeared over the next year. The excess weight was all gone, and it stayed gone.
This was without any added crazy exercise program. Instead, we simply continued our normal daily activities.
Did it get expensive? No. Our grocery cost hardly changed at all. We switched out the fast food stops along with a lot of meat and dairy for more fresh veggies, fruit, rice, beans, lentils, seeds, and nuts. We stopped buying the carb and sugar-filled snacks as well. We stopped buying beef altogether and opted for chicken, turkey and fish.
There are so many ways to save money and eat much healthier. For veggies we grow a little garden and shop at farmers market.
The same people I mentioned who bring back the berries also bring all kinds of produce. They have mixed boxes to choose from and we generally get a BIG box for around $35. They also deliver for that price as they go right by our little town on their route. Many places have a program called “Bountiful Baskets“.. which deliver mixed baskets that you order to an area for pickup.
I also dehydrate a lot of veggies. I invested in a very inexpensive dehydrator years ago and it has never failed. They seem to last forever and very easy to use. Since it takes so many hours for most things, I can put the sliced veggies in — in the morning and forget about it until evening or turn it on in the evening and forget about it until morning.
We can also freeze quite a variety of vegetables such as Asparagus, Beans, beets, Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Parsnips, Peas, Peppers, Pumpkin, Squash, Sweet corn, Tomatoes, and Turnips. Most have to be prepped properly for freezing thou.
Living in Montana a lot of these things are seasonal and we do hit the grocery store more often thru the couple coldest months. We will buy more frozen veggies. We use more of the veggies I dehydrated. We watch for sales and make a lot more stews and soups.
I also do a lot more juicing during the winter with dried juice powder. I have sampled quite a few brands to find one I can stand the taste of. It’s a cost efficient way to get loads of nutrients we might otherwise miss out on. You can even get them in capsules if that is your preference. I have added some carrot powder to soups and stews. A little bit goes a long way.. There are other juice powders and another one of my favorites is Baobab fruit.
People spend far more money on diet meal programs and gym memberships.
What tips have you found to help you to eat healthier?
Author: Linda Carlson – Nutrition & Wellness Counselor (retired) with 25+ years background.
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