I behold the secret.

secret to changing your eating habitsIt’s worth billions of dollars, yet I am giving you the secret to changing your eating habits because it’s just that important and everyone needs to know. There are millions of people working to change their eating habits for many different reasons-because you want to feel better, for disease prevention, weight loss, managing a disease process, or reversing a symptom…the mystery has been solved.

The secret to changing your eating habits is to change your paradigm.

So what does this mean? If you truly want to change the way you eat you have to change the way you think about food. Most importantly, consider the nutrient density of the foods. Nutrient density can be defined as the amount and variety of nutrients in a food compared to the energy (calories) in the food. Secondly, consider the other additives in the foods that make it less healthy, such as artificial food colorings, flavor enhancers, emulsifiers, and such. Additionally, when whole foods are manipulated to make them have less fat or less sugar, inevitably additional ingredients are added which further decrease the nutrient value.

When you begin to consider nutrient density, you quickly realize that much of the “food” available to us is anything but. In many cases you can’t just trade for a healthier alternative because even the “healthy” alternative doesn’t offer much nutrition.

  • There are various flavorings to add to your water but in addition to the artificial sweeteners and colors, they don’t compare the nutrients from drinking homemade broth.
  • It doesn’t matter if flax seed is added to a granola bar, it’s often not much more than a glorified candy bar.
  • Cookies and crackers don’t become healthy just because they are gluten free.
  • Breads, both white and wheat, are not nutritious.
  • Pasta in any form is highly processed.
  • Turkey bacon is not a healthier alternative to pork bacon.
  • Cereals, no matter how much fiber they have, do not offer much that your body can utilize.
  • If probiotics are added to yogurt, the amount of sugar also added to make it taste good negates the benefits of the probiotics.

Here are a 7 ways that you can start to shift the way you think about foods to truly become a healthier you:

  1. Only a small percentage of the 40,000 food items the average supermarket carries offer real nutrition. Many of the others are hardly worth the paper they are wrapped in, nutritionally speaking.
  2. The food industry will go to great lengths to make you think a food item is healthy. They do this by advertising nutrient claims such as “helps to support your immunity,” “heart healthy,” “good for digestive health.” a good source of fiber.” Also, by minimizing serving sizes so the food label looks appealing. They will often highlight a specific ingredient that has a health halo. The reality is, if they have to try that hard they are probably hiding something.  By reading the ingredient list you can see what is really in the food and how it has been manipulated for the Nutrient Facts to look good.
  3. For healthy foods you must commit to preparing meals for yourself. Convenience foods are stripped of most nutrients.
  4. Eat large enough meals so you don’t have to rely on snacking between meals. The idea of eating 3 meals and 3 snacks throughout the day has been proven inadequate for a variety of reasons. One reason is that eating every 2 hours will keep your insulin levels elevated. It also does not allow your digestive system a time to rest and replenish itself with the enzymes it needs to adequately be able to digest and absorb foods. In addition, most snacks are not nutrient dense.
  5. Good ol’ water is the best thing you can drink to hydrate yourself. Sweetened beverages, whether they are artificially sweetened or sugar sweet, do not provide you any benefit. The continued taste of sweetness tricks your brain to want more of something sweet.
  6. Veggies deserve all of the glory they receive. They offer a multitude of vitamins and minerals with little energy intake. There has never been a diet that restricts eating vegetables. Once you begin to increase the amount of veggies you eat you will be well on your way to making your diet more nutrient dense.
  7. Fat is naturally found in foods for a reason. The healthy fats (avocado, olives and their oil, coconuts and their oil, high quality butter, lard, and animal fats) offer unique nutrients that the body can utilize for a numerous reasons.

This change in paradigm can be a difficult transition. It often takes time to make adjustments and no one expects you to have a perfect diet all of the time.  It is different than you’ve heard in the past, but as Mr. Einstein said, it’s insane to think you can keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect different results.

Continue reading The Secret- Part 2: Nutrient Dense Foods