Ten steps for a healthier diet............

Nutrition is an important interest of mine, and I have been reading and researching new trends and topics for years.  I would like to share with my visitors a condensed version of what I have learned, and I have broken it down into a top ten list of steps to take for a healthier diet.

I know the amount of information out there can be overwhelming.  In reality, it is not that complicated.  I am hoping this article is helpful and allows you to sort out what is truly important!  The following are my  ten recommendations for a healthier diet:  If you can change just a few things, try these:

1.       Switch to better quality eggs, meat, and dairy.  Either organic, or there are less costly options that are antibiotic and hormone free, and humanely raised.  Try to support small farmers when possible.  They may not be able to afford the organic seal, but if their standards are good, this is a great option.

2.       Cut back on added sugar and refined carbs.  Don’t deprive yourself completely – if you like a little honey in your tea, or real maple syrup on your breakfast, that’s ok.  But try to avoid the real high sugar stuff – sugary drinks, rich desserts, candy, etc.  When you crave sweets try a little dark chocolate – mixed with some nuts it is really satisfying!

3.       Speaking of nuts……………………..add a variety of nuts to your diet – each type has a different nutrition profile – they are high in calories so don’t overdo it, but in reasonable portions they are a great addition to  your routine!

4.       Add Avocados to your diet – They are filling, healthy, versatile, delicious and packed with fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and B-6.  Add to salads and sandwiches, mash into guac, or eat plain!

5.       Eat in season – choose your fruits and vegetables based on what is in season – they will be more affordable, better tasting and more nutrient dense – eat a variety – varying colors is a good trick.  Different colored fruits/vegetables tend to have different nutrients.  Buy local and/or organic when you can

6.       Add immune boosters to your diet – The best ones I know are green tea (which I drink unsweetened throughout the day) and fresh garlic that I add to recipes whenever I can

7.       Add Flax Seed to your diet – Most of us don’t get enough Omega 3 in our diets.  Flax is a great source – but you need to purchase whole flax seeds, and grind them every few days (a small coffee grinder will work).  Yes, it sounds like a hassle but it is quite easy once you get into the routine, and well worth the nutritional benefit.  Add ground flax to yogurt, cereal, smoothies, , etc.  Avoid heating it.  Note: the ground flax seeds added to store bought foods has little or no potency. 

8.       Cut Back on Processed Soy – There are several reasons to do this.  An important one is that processed soy is very high in Omega 6.  As explained in #7, we are already deficient in Omega 3, and an abundance of Omega 6 in your diet further depletes your omega 3 intake.  Omega 6 is found in many foods, but soy is a major culprit.  Soy is a cheap, government subsidized crop so it is added in every shape and form to more products then would seem possible.  Soybean oil, soy protein, soy protein isolate, etc. – AVOID.  (fresh soybeans are of course just fine,  as is minimally processed tofu) Other vegetable oils are also high in omega 6- try to stick to olive oil, and read the ingredient labels of prepared foods carefully. (including power/protein/granola bars)

9.       Prepare your own food as much as possible -  So simple.  Yet so few of us do it.  If you cook at home you will use less salt, less fat, less chemicals and preservatives and you will save money and eat a more balanced diet.

10.   Avoid Food Fads – Many are harmless, but usually the benefits are overstated.  There are no miracle foods.  The “trick” to good health sounds so dull but it's true -  eat a balanced diet.  Get your vitamins from the actual food SOURCE – not from enriched water, vitamin sprayed cereal, protein bars enriched with an inhuman amount of protein, fizzy vitamin C packets,