If we focus on making choices that work with the two focus points – 1. Put the good stuff in. 2. Keep the bad stuff out, we’ll be closer to healthy living than we think.
Remember we are taking small, easy steps; each step is an important foundation to build on for the next step. We don’t have to do this perfect; we only have to try our best and trust the Lord with the results.
We also can’t allow this to become an issue of idolatry either. Keep our eyes on Christ. Keep our ears open to hear His voice. Keep our spirit thirsty for the leading of His Spirit. He will show us what to do.
What does it mean to eat basic, nutrition serving whole, real foods?
- Eating as little as possible from a can, box or frozen package.
- Using basic ingredients, like whole grains, meat, eggs, fish, dairy, fresh fruit and vegetables, herbs and spices, and healthy fats and oil.
Don’t get all flustered by nutrient content, reading labels. Just put your effort into buying whole foods and preparing meals from scratch. Try eating a wide variety of foods.
Shop the perimeter of the grocery store, rather than the inner aisles where there are more pre-made things.
Let’s talk about the food groups.
*Grains. Nothing refined, but only whole grains, like whole wheat, oats (not quick, but rolled or steel cut/Irish oats), Kamet or spelt (ancient grains, similar to wheat), rye, barley, millet, quinoa, brown rice, wild rice. Fresh ground flour. Pasta, choose a whole grain or brown rice pasta over white. Breads should be home baked, or choose freshly-made whole grain bakery breads without
Preservatives (sprouted or sourdough is best). Hot cereals like oatmeal are ideal for breakfast, and homemade granola or muesli make a nice and easy cold alternative.
* Meat, poultry, and fish. Stick with basic cuts of chicken and beef, and pork. Fish can be wild, fresh or frozen.
* Dairy and eggs. Eat real butter, unprocessed (and preferably un-dyed) cheeses, and plain yogurts or kefir made with genuine bacteria cultures.
* Vegetables and fruit. Organic or unsprayed produce is wonderful if you can get it. Some vegetables and fruits are higher in nutrients than others–cabbage, broccoli, dark leafy greens, blueberries, winter squash, pomegranates, orange foods like carrots, sweet potatoes and
squash, onion and garlic and too many others to possibly mention them all. Try to eat a “rainbow” of produce colors over the course of each week. Eat them often, with lots of variety, both cooked and raw. Leaving them un-peeled (when practical) offers extra nutrients and fiber.
* Beans and legumes. These super foods are a wonderful, frugal way to boost the protein in your diet. Take advantage of their cost-effectiveness by buying them dry and in bulk. Start soaking in water overnight and cook the next morning or afternoon. It’s so simple, it stretches the grocery budget farther, and they’re packed full of fiber and minerals.
* Fats and oils. Don’t be afraid of consuming fat! Saturated fat is an important component of a nourishing diet. For higher-temperature cooking and baking, good choices are butter, coconut oil, palm oil, and old fashioned animal fats like rendered lard and tallow. For cold use, extra virgin olive oil, flax oil, and small amounts of unrefined (cold-pressed) vegetable oils like walnut and sesame are best.
* Sweeteners. Use sweeteners minimally and use in their unrefined state. Avoid all white and brown sugar, corn syrup (especially high-fructose corn syrup), and powdered sugar.
* Condiments and spices. The less that you can rely on store-bought the better. They’re simple to make yourself. Buy simple spices and herbs to dress up your cooking and mix them yourself.
* Beverages. Go for water first. Keep juice as a treat (although fresh juicing at home is a healthful idea). Avoid pops and other sugar-laden drinks. I won’t try to convince you to ditch your coffee and tea, but try to keep your caffeine levels to a minimum. Herbal teas are a wonderful alternative.
Questions for Reflection:
1. Look through your refrigerators, freezers and pantry’s. How much processed food do you have?
2. Why do you think we eat so much of it?
3. What one small step could you do today to eat healthier?
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