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Kickstart Your Healthy Journey: The Ultimate Easy Health Tip

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We all want to eat healthy, right? Science tells us to. Our bodies do too. We know we should pick the greens over sugar, soda, and shrink-wrapped items. Yet often we don’t.

Many of us are struggling with sticking to healthy eating habits, making nutritional choices that don’t support a healthy body and well-being. From governmental food pyramids to MD influencer diet suggestions, ads for the latest superfood, and public health disease prevention advice, the message is abundantly clear: Eating healthy is a fundamental requirement to good health, not to mention thriving.

What’s going on? We know the message—our long-term survival and well-being depend on it—yet making unhealthy food choices is epidemic among millions of us? Why?

As a former sugar junkie who spent a good portion of my late teens and early twenties thinking of the next sweet treat to indulge in, I’ve made many attempts over the years to find a way out of the addictive pull of a bad diet and sugar cravings. On the way, I’ve learned some tricks and truths about what’s going on. So yes, it’s true: a bad diet, fast food, junk food, processed and ultra-processed foods—many labels same thing—is addictive. Such foods are cunningly designed by food companies to hook your body’s reward system into wanting more of the same junk that doesn’t nourish anything in your body except for the feel-good rush when you bite into a crunchy chip or whatever your junk food drug of choice is. There’s an entire science behind the “right” levels of sugar, salt, and bad fats included as product ingredients to make you come back for more. And we are paying for this… literally and physically.

This nugget of information is so important that I am going to repeat it: junk food aka processed foods are designed for you to want more. They are designed so you have a real hard time doing the best thing for yourself: choosing to eat healthy. But don’t lose hope. Easy health tip #1 comes to the rescue. You can improve your eating habits, without much effort.

Easy health tip-off #1 is something anyone can do, assuming you can afford to buy groceries. It is the first step toward making healthy, nutritional choices—and goals are met by taking first steps.

I use this tip-off every day. I know not to underestimate its impact on my overall health, and it is a non-negotiable routine on par with brushing my teeth and sleeping.

The steps involved are:

  1. Prep your mind. We are trained to think everything that enters our mouth should taste great. What you are about to eat (step 3) may well not taste great, at least not for a while. Accept this fact (besides, you will likely eat something that tastes good later on in the day).
  2. 2-3 times a week, take whatever vegetable or fruit you have on hand, clean and chop it, then store it in the fridge. Example: blueberries, raw cabbage, pineapple, or radishes. Any vegetable or fruit, even fresh herb, will do, though rotating them is recommended. No cooking is involved.
  3. As you prepare breakfast, lunch, and dinner, take a good handful (small cup) of your sample vegetable or fruit and eat it. Pack it in a container to bring along if you are eating out or for meals at work. You can pre-pack small containers for on-the-go meals. The point is: eat the raw vegetable/fruit before your meal, while accepting it’s not intended to be a taste treat. If you don’t cook your own meals, eat the raw vegetable/fruit while you are waiting for your food.
  4. You just made a super-healthy nutritional choice. Congratulations!

Why easy: this tip-off requires minimal prep and some days no prep time. Just reach into the fridge, put into mouth, then munch.

Why healthy: you’re adding several servings of fiber to your diet (depending on the size of your handful) by adopting this easy trick. The gut microbiome is the epi-center of our bodies, and it requires fiber to work properly. You just feed it something it needs to function.

Extra credit: Once the Easy Tip-off is incorporated into your daily routine, you can increase the amount of munching you do while prepping or waiting for a meal. Every bite counts. Just ask your gut flora.

For a leading scientist and pharmaco-nutritionist’s explanation of how sugar and ultra-processed diets affect the body and how they encourage addiction, visit here.

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