This is where your journey begins! Healthy eating is THE most fundamental building block of optimal physical health.
I don't need to tell you WHY you need to eat healthy, you've no doubt had that drilled into your brain since you were a child. The important part is that you are showing up ready to commit, or at least ready to learn.
If you do nothing else, eating the right foods (and less of the wrong ones) is a good start. Changing your entire lifestyle to focus around health is extreme and not for everyone, but just mastering what you put into your body will have a profound effect.
When you eat poorly, you're doing a huge disservice to your body. You are what you eat, after all. Everything you eat either supports health or supports disease, the choice is up to you.
Healthy eating is probably the simplest part of living a holistic lifestyle. There are only a few questions to ask yourself when wondering what is healthy to eat.
To take the guesswork out of this, you can consider yourself pretty safe if you aim to buy organic. I have another page dedicated to organic food, you can find it in the main menu at the top of each page or in the link at the bottom of this page.
If you don't want to spend your whole paycheck at Whole Foods, you can still eat pretty healthy by eating "whole foods". These are simply fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes and beans.
As long as a food didn't come into being in a factory mixed with chemicals and then processed until it was no longer recognizable, then you can consider yourself safe eating it.
Ideally we should all grow our own vegetables, as this is the only food group that all the diets agree you should eat the most of. And if you grow them all yourself, or at least a large majority of them, then you will save a ton of money AND be more inclined to eat healthy.
A major rule of thumb is to cut back (if not cut out entirely) sugar, and starches like white rice, bread and pasta.
Here is a good list of healthy alternatives to the main foods that contain sugar and starch:
This list was hard to narrow down, but they all show up on almost every top 10 healthiest food list, so while there are hundreds more, this is a good place to start!
There are three kinds of people. Vegetarians & vegans don't eat any meat, carnivores eat meat whenever they want, and then there are those torn in the middle who don't want to give up their favorite foods that include meat, but also don't overdo eating meat.
Falling into this middle category isn't a bad thing, because there are ways you can get your meat without suffering the consequences (or at least not nearly as much).
Eating animal products affects humans in a negatively especially if those animals were slaughtered in an inhumane way.
The subject of humans eating animal meat will probably always be controversial. I have heard evidence that vegetarians are healthier but I have also heard after some length of time, the body will show signs of needing protein.
I happen to fall in the middle of the road, because humans are obviously physically more like animals than like plants. However, I will not eat low quality meat. I also eat meat in moderation, once or twice a week.
Lean grass-fed beef eaten in moderation is best, as is eating free-roam chickens. Cage-free chickens are still not allowed to go outside, so that is a misleading term. Fish is good if it is wild caught (as opposed to factory farmed).
There are also completely meat-less alternatives out there to replace meat, chicken and cheese. You can find these in mainstream grocery stores if you look hard, but places like Whole Foods, Natural Grocers, and Fresh Thyme have sections just for meat and dairy free alternatives.
It's no surprise that home cooking is essential for healthy eating. We all know restaurant food is a big no-no, although there are some pretty good exceptions popping up in big cities.
But overall, you will do much better cooking at home, and by cooking I don't mean throwing some pre-packaged crap in the microwave for a few minutes.
It's a pretty hard fact to face but generally most packaged food that comes in a box or a can has been showered in preservatives, anti-caking agents and too much salt. There are a few exceptions but you'd be better off cooking your own meals from scratch as much as possible.
I personally can barely stomach canned vegetables. Frozen is way better, because there is no need for the massive amounts of salt used to preserve canned foods.
Freezing the food also retains the nutrients much better. Sometimes I doubt if canned foods even have ANY nutrients left in them. Fresh is still the best. It does require more frequent trips to the store, but your body will thank you!
Design your diet for success. Just like with anything else, a good plan helps you achieve your desired results. Spending time designing your diet will pay off for you. Make a list of all the things you have in your fridge and cupboard. Research the nutritional information on these items.
Which ones are good and which ones aren't? Replace the bad food choices with healthier options, and then keep the healthy ones coming!
In all the research and education I have been through, I still can't find a definite answer on whether or not supplements are good for you. To be sure, SOME are. Do we need them? That is probably a case by case situation.
I think what is more important is that if you buy supplements, to buy the best quality ones. This is a lot like organic vs. conventional foods...you get what you pay for.
A lot of the cheaper supplements have been found to include mostly filler. Do your research. Trust the companies that have the organic label and have a good reputation.
Supplements give good peace of mind, like insurance. However, it's easy to go overboard, so please try to get your vitamins and minerals from food rather than pills. Rarely are supplements superior to healthy eating.
If you do buy supplements, here is a helpful guide for how to pick the right ones;
If you don't want to pop manufactured pills every day, nature has given us the gift of herbs! I cannot say enough good things about herbs, and I also cannot stress how important they are to living a holistic lifestyle.
Herbs do so much for us physically, mentally and even emotionally! There are thousands of herbs out there with different constitutions, so there is an herb (or ten) for every ailment. Herbalism is such a vast field of study, it is beyond the scope of this website to dive in deep. But there is more detailed information on my herbs page here: Herbs and Spices
So what is the best thing to take to wash down all this healthy food with? You guessed it...water! Nothing else even comes close. Of course tea is the next best thing, but that kind of goes without saying.
You've heard it before, we are made up of mostly water, so since we are what we drink, please don't drink the kool aid! Or the soda! Or the alcohol!
About the only 2 non-water drinks that are ok in moderation are red wine and coffee, both of which do have a few health benefits as long as they are taken in moderation.
As for energy drinks like Monster and Red Bull, absolutely do not drink these. Basically anything that includes sugar, chemicals (things you can't pronounce), and dyes (red #40, blue #2, yellow #6, etc)...stay away!
This should be common sense but somewhere along the line these poisons became introduced into our food and drinks and the rest is history. By reading labels and educating yourself on exactly what these things are and how to avoid them, you are well on your way to good health.
A word about milk; people are pretty divided on whether or not milk is good for us. Many people feel better after cutting dairy out of their diets. Some people do have a legit negative reaction to milk and others can drink it just fine.
My personal belief is this; human babies don't drink breast milk their whole lives, so why did it ever become a thing for adults to drink the milk of another species? It just seems to go against nature to me. Not even taking into account the horrible treatment of cows and the chemical industrialized process of making that milk safe to drink.
If you are lactose intolerant, goats milk is a better choice than cow's milk. It is easier for humans to digest due to it's lower lactose levels, smaller fat molecules, and being naturally homogenized, lessening the need for processing.
If drinking any animal's milk sounds disgusting to you, there is always almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk, soy milk, flax milk and hemp milk.
You knew this was coming! Vegetables seem to get the most hate out of all the foods out there. They taste like dirt, I get it. They're not as satisfying as a gooey bowl of macaroni and cheese, I hear you. This is why herbs and spices were given to us by nature (nature might not care if we like vegetables but I like to think she does!)
Anything can be made palatable with a little time and effort to research recipes. Salt and pepper, for starters, are the most common way to season your food. You can add cheese to some vegetables (yes there are healthy versions of cheese!)
And of course, there are somewhere around 100 different spices in the world, and just like variety is the spice of life, let spices give variety to your food! Healthy eating doesn't have to be flavorless!
Up until a few hundred years ago, the food humans ate was not processed and factory farmed. Our ancestors ate off the land, living according to nature. Oh what a price we pay today for convenience!
Humans have never been sicker. There are more diseases and kinds of cancer popping up almost weekly it seems like. Doesn't it make you wish you could hop in a time machine and eat like they did a few thousand years ago?
Well, you can! Ever heard of a little thing called Ayurveda? It's actually the world's oldest health system, beginning in India a few thousand years ago. The word "Ayurveda" means science of life.
It is a lifestyle system consisting of carefully chosen foods tailored to everyone's individual constitution, daily self care rituals, and detoxing methods. When researching lifestyles that most closely worked in harmony with nature, Ayurveda is the clear winner.
Ayurveda states that everyone is born with a unique combination of doshas. Dosha is a sanskrit word meaning "constitution". Each of the 3 doshas are made up of different aspects the elements; Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Space.
To keep it simple for now, every food, herb and spice on the planet either pacifies or aggravates each dosha. So according to Ayurveda, you will always be healthy if you eat the right foods for your dosha.
The system also advises that we eat the foods that are in season, as well as living in harmony with nature in other ways. It is such a vast system. It really is the only lifestyle I have found that is based around total harmony with nature.
For more information on Ayurveda, I will provide a few links to my favorite websites about Ayurveda. The first one is Banyan Botanicals. This site has a series of quizzes that are free to take so you can find out which dosha you are, and receive individualized recommendations on how to life a lifestyle in accordance with your dosha. This site is extremely comprehensive, including how-do videos and products you can order. Click here; Banyan Botanicals
Sahara Rose is the author of the best-selling book "Idiot's Guide to Ayurveda". I read this book, among many others, and found this to be the easiest to follow, written for the complete beginner. Highly recommended! Sahara also has programs to suit every budget. Click here to access Sahara Rose's website: www.iamsahararose.com