Tuesday, May 13, 2014

5 Simple Tips for Eating Green & Healthy

So you're thinking about starting to eat cleaner and greener? Good for you. But are you worried that green foods are just not going to be enough to sustain you - or that you won't be able to find the right foods? Well, there's no need to worry. You can live on truly healthy and green foods without a problem. Give yourself two weeks of eating green to create the habit. Here are some ways to eat green that you might want to try...

1. Eat lots of greens.

English: Vegetarian food
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Eating your spinach will make you strong to the finish as Popeye says! Vegetables do a body good and filling your plate with plenty of hardy vegetables is not only healthy for you, but it's also filling and will give you plenty of energy - positive energy that's good for your muscles and your bones. It's a great way to sustain a healthy body. A good rule of thumb, without trying to count servings, is that for every meal, 2/3 of your plate should be vegetables - primarily green ones. This is literally "eating green."

2. Follow a vegetarian diet.

This doesn't just mean no meat, though. You have to make good organic food choices if you're going to go vegetarian. For example, peanut butter seems like a great source of protein that your body is craving when you switch to a vegetarian diet, but it isn't going to help you in eating green. Some processed foods like peanut butter may contain toxins or man-made additives which are difficult for the body to digest. Eating vegetarian isn't necessarily healthier if you just switch to vegetarian processed foods.

3. Go temporarily vegan.

Take it one step further and don't just cut meat out of your diet, but also milk, dairy products, and seafood. With the use of growth hormones to raise the chickens and cows there's more of a risk of there being a negative effect on our bodies when we eat or drink products made from this stuff. It is possible that the hormone residues could disrupt our hormone balance. As with the caveats in going vegetarian, going vegan isn't healthy if you just switch to vegan processed foods! Be sure you are eating natural, whole foods, and skip the processed fake meat products and that sort of thing. Typically I recommend you go vegan only for a short period of time, so you don't become deficient in certain vitamins that are found only in animal foods, but it's a great way to cleanse and detox your body periodically. And if you do choose to eat meat (or animal products), be sure it is naturally/organically raised! These are the ONLY animal products that are truly safe to eat.

Home cooked food!
Home cooked food! (Photo credit: Kai Hendry)
4. Eat healthy home cooked meals.

If you're not prepared to go full on vegetarian or vegan, that's okay. Preparing meals at home from scratch has all too often become a thing of the past. Convenience foods (aka junk foods) have taken their place, or eating out. If you prepare your meals at home from scratch then you can control more of what you put into your body. Not only that, but when you eat at home and cook from scratch you will save on energy and package waste. That makes it good for the environment and good for you too, since you can monitor how much sugar and salt is being put on your food. Visit our Cooking From Scratch blog for weekly recipe ideas and healthy cooking tips!

5. Eat super foods that sustain you.

You don't need to eat junk foods when you have a craving. There are some really tasty foods that have the added bonus of being good for you, too. Snack on a piece of dark chocolate instead of a Hershey bar, or an apple and a slice of cheese instead of greasy salty potato chips. Some other must-haves in the super food list include nuts, granola, dried fruit, yogurt, and even kale chips. Or try signing up for a service like NatureBox, which provides you with a selection of naturally healthy snacks every month, so you never have to succumb to temptation in the snack aisle!

All in all, eating green means reducing the amount of processed foods you eat, and meat as well. Less red meat and more green veggies makes for a green diet that will sustain you and which can help you lose weight, too. You'll feel better and more energized as your body is more capable of metabolizing non-processed foods.

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