Here are some healthy eating tips which will help you reduce the number of processed foods you eat and increase your intake of whole, traditional foods. Choosing foods that are rich in nutrients and low in additives and chemicals will help you feel better and build a strong, healthy body.
The trick to implementing these healthy eating tips and making permanent changes in your eating habits is “slow and steady”.
Make a small change each week, enjoy whatever food you eat, and little by little, those choices and changes will add up to a healthier diet in the long run. Besides, the human body is pretty adaptable, and it can take a little junk food every once in a while as long as healthy foods are chosen for the majority of meals.
Take Control of Your Food Supply
- One of the most important healthy eating tips is to take control of your food supply and what you choose to eat. Otherwise, you are at the mercy of the by the USDA and commercial food companies and their profit-driven nutritional agendas.
- Take up vegetable gardening. Grow your own vegetables in the summer, then cook and freeze them so they are available to you in the winter. We grow squash, peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes in the summer. I make salsa, squash casseroles, and other dishes and freeze them. These are great in the middle of January when the vegetables in the grocery store are outrageously expensive.
- If you can’t grow your own produce, look for organic produce grown near your location. Shop at Farmer’s Markets or join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) plan. Check my resources page for websites that offer information about local products.
- Raise your own chickens for eggs and meat, or buy eggs and poultry products from farms where the birds have been allowed to range freely. You can see the difference in the egg yolks of our free-range, healthy chickens in comparison to store-bought eggs. Free-range eggs have much higher levels of beta carotene and omega-3 fatty acids, which makes the yolks bright orange instead of yellow.
- If you have your own chickens or other poultry, give them all of your kitchen scraps and excess garden produce. They love vegetable peelings, meat, and other leftovers, as long as the food isn’t moldy. Remember that you will eventually consume the eggs and meat that your chickens provide, so think about what you feed them.
- Find and join an organic food buying club in your area. United Naturals food club is a company that supports food buying clubs. Search Google to see if United Naturals delivers in your area. If you can’t find a club in your area, consider starting one!
Healthy Eating Tips at the Grocery Store
- At the grocery store, choose whole, organic foods and avoid processed foods as much as possible. Most of the processed foods are found on the aisles that run down the middle of the store. This would include food that has been boxed, bagged or canned.
The fresh dairy case and produce departments are usually on the outside aisles. The meat case is a mixed bag.. some grocery stores do offer organic, grass-fed beef (Laura’s brand and Colemans are the two I’ve seen). But it’s cheaper to buy grass-fed beef in bulk. (See tip on grass-fed beef below).
- Choose fresh over commercially frozen food. In order to freeze vegetables, they have to be blanched first. This blanching destroys some of the nutrients. Fresh vegetables are more nutritious. Steaming them is the best way to retain nutrition during cooking.
- One of the most important healthy eating tips is to avoid sugary junk food. These products are too high in refined carbs, and they contain lots of weird chemicals. I’ve got a page that analyzes the nasty stuff just one junk food product contains. Others are even worse for you, especially if you eat them frequently.
- Read labels at the grocery store to avoid buying fake food. Check for high fructose corn syrup, additives, preservatives, and the other chemicals. You’ll be surprised at what some “healthy” foods have in them. The American Heart Association endorses processed, sugary, chemical-laden foods like chocolate milk, sugared breakfast cereals, and processed meats, so you can’t trust that little Heart check symbol.
- Judge all foods by the ingredients within. If you buy boxed or canned food, look at the nutrition facts on the label. Choose those made with the least amount of chemicals and the most natural ingredients. Remember, the goal is to get your artificial chemical intake as low as possible.
- Practice the essentials of eating healthy fats. Let go of your fear of eating saturated fats, and avoid refined polyunsaturated vegetable oils, hydrogenated vegetable fats, and margarine.
- Learn about choosing healthy dairy products. For example, full-fat milk products are better than skim, and raw dairy products are better for you than products made from commercial milk. Look for dairy products with a label that indicates it is rBGH (growth hormone) free.
- To preserve the raw dairy you buy for longer time periods, learn to make kefir and yogurt from raw milk. The Raw Food Diet Magazine website has some great recipes for making yogurt and kefir.
- Avoid soft drinks, both diet and regular. The high fructose corn syrup in regular soda takes a serious toll on your liver and drives up your triglycerides. Regular sugar or glucose is metabolized in every cell in the body but fructose can only be metabolized in the liver. The livers of test animals fed large amounts of fructose develop fatty deposits and cirrhosis, similar to problems that develop in the livers of alcoholics.
High fructose corn syrup contains a good deal of “free” or unbound fructose. Research indicates that this free fructose interferes with the heart’s use of key minerals like magnesium, copper, and chromium. Among other consequences, HFCS has been implicated in the creation of blood clots. It has been found to inhibit the action of white blood cells so that they are unable to defend the body against harmful foreign invaders.
Side Note: Agave nectar, which is supposed to be a healthy, low glycemic sweetener is about 90% fructose, so I believe it’s worse than HFCS, and puts a strain on your liver in large amounts, just as HFCS does.
- Diet sodas are straight chemical concoctions. The artificial sweeteners (Aspartame and Splenda) in diet sodas are associated with nerve damage, muscle pain, and other unhealthy side effects. These sweeteners are the ultimate processed, unnatural foods. However, in terms of blood sugar, it’s better to choose diet over regular.
- If you like the carbonation of soda, try drinking flavored carbonated water. Just make sure the ingredient list says only carbonated water, and natural flavors. Some grocery store brands add artificial sweeteners and other chemicals.
I like the Canada Dry Sparkling Seltzer Water or La Croix seltzer waters and I use a natural sweetener called stevia to sweeten it. It tastes better than regular soda. Sweeten it with liquid stevia. You get to have a fizzy drink without all the chemicals.
- Cut back on buying processed meats such as hot dogs. They usually contain cereal fillers such as soy protein or flour and are high in chemical preservatives and colorants.
Healthy Eating Tips for Buying Food
- Buy your meat in bulk from sources that raise cattle naturally on grass. It’s cheaper to buy a whole steer, which is about 400 pounds of meat cut and wrapped. Here in Wyoming, a grass-fed steer will run $4-$5 a pound. A whole steer will yield about 80 pounds of ground meat, and the rest should be cut into steaks and roasts. This meat is much cheaper than organic steaks and roasts in the health food or grocery store. If you don’t have room to freeze that quantity, see if a health-conscious friend will split the steer with you. US Wellness Meats sells quality grassland meat products, and they will deliver them right to your door.
- The animal products (beef, lamb, game, organ meats, poultry, and eggs) that you consume should come from pasture-fed animals. Buying locally is one way to make sure you are getting naturally raised, grass-fed products. If these are unavailable, try to buy organic products at the store.
- Look for wild-caught seafood. Eating wild-caught fish and shellfish from unpolluted waters, especially high-fat fish like wild-caught salmon, is healthier. (Avoid farm-raised if at all possible.)
Wild salmon have higher levels of Omega 3 fatty acids than farm-raised salmon. Farm-raised fish and shrimp are fed diets of genetically engineered grain products, foods that are not normal and increase the omega-6 fatty acids in the final product. Increasing your intake of Omega 3 fatty acids offsets the high levels of Omega 6 fats in the standard American diet.
Healthy Eating Tips and Cooking
- Cooking is essential for eating well. Real, whole foods are fresh, and so they have to be cooked. If you don’t know how to cook, take some cooking classes. Buy a cookbook and use it. Your body will thank you for it.
- Save time by cooking your workweek meals on the weekend. Make deviled eggs, grill several pounds of meat, slow cook some beef stew or chili, and roast a couple of chickens. These will make tasty leftovers that are easy to fix during the week. If you don’t have time on the weekend either, spend an evening doing prep work: chop some veggies, brown some hamburger, and have the basics ready for quick evening meals.
- Although microwaving food is a convenient time-saver, steaming or sauteing foods is healthier. If you use a microwave, make sure you cook the food in a glass container. Transfer any food stored in plastic to a glass or ceramic container first.
- Cook in stainless steel, cast iron, glass, stoneware, or good quality enamel. Cooking acidic foods in aluminum will result in a metallic taste in the food, and could result in heavy metal poisoning, which affects the kidneys. In addition, Teflon should not be heated to more than 500 degrees as it emits toxic gases at higher temps.
Grains and Soy are Not Healthy
One of the biggest misconceptions around the subject of healthy eating tips is that grains are healthy. The truth is that grain consumptions trigger health problems for many people.
- I don’t recommend eating whole grains. Wheat is especially unhealthy, so try gluten-free bread, if you can’t live without bread.
Ideally, any grain should be soaked in an acid medium before consumption. Why soaking? The Weston Price foundation recommends that the grain be soaked to neutralize the phytic acids. Phytic acid is found within the hulls of nuts, seeds, and grains, and when consumed, it chelates or neutralizes important minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, niacin, and zinc in the body. In this way, phytic acid acts as an anti-nutrient. Soaking nuts, seeds, and grain in an acid medium, such as yogurt or dairy whey (lactic acid fermentation), and sprouting them neutralizes the phytic acids.
- Avoid soy products. Almost 90% of the soybean crop in the US is genetically engineered, and hundreds of studies link soy consumption to all sorts of health issues. The phytates in soybeans are extremely resistant to neutralization and have been linked to malnutrition and growth problems, especially when soya is added to infant formulas. (Read Kaayla Daniel’s The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America’s Favorite Health Food for more information about the dangers of soy.)
Supplements and Smoking
- Some lists of healthy eating tips don’t mention health supplements. However, I recommend supplements because the foods produced by industrial agriculture are much lower in vitamins and minerals today. Try to find natural, food-based supplements.
- And finally, if you smoke, stop. There’s less benefit in practicing these healthy eating tips and eating well if you continue smoking. Read up about the unhealthy habit of smoking here.
I hope these healthy eating tips are helpful. I know it’s a long list, but again, take it one step at a time.
Any efforts you make to implement these healthy eating tips will improve your health. The week to week changes can be minor. For example, if you want cookies, choose to make your own with organic butter and organic dried cane juice instead of processed white sugar. If you love chips, buy the ones that list only potatoes, sunflower oil, and salt on the ingredient list. Avoid the chips with ingredient lists a mile long, or better yet, make your own potato chips from fresh potatoes fried in organic coconut oil with some rosemary.