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Monday, October 10, 2011

7 Tips to Help Improve Your Body

Eating a healthy diet doesn't have to involve an official diet, simply learning some basic principles to help us make better nutritional food choices from buying local and organic foods, to growing your own foods at home.
Here are 7 tips for a healthier you without giving up the foods you love.
1. Buy organic vegetables and fruit

Organic products mean no chemicals, hormones or additives were used during the production of the product - in this case vegetables and fruit. When looking for fresh veggies or fruit, choose those which are rich in color. The more green your greens, the more chlorophyll you will receive. Chlorophyll holds many health benefits such as being a natural cleanser helping to remove toxins from your body and increasing your energy level.

2. Buy local

One of the benefits of buying local is the freshness of the food. Remember, the longer a food product has to travel to get to the store, the less fresh it will be. Buying local also means you are helping your local economy and community. Many local growers are small businesses which have to compete with larger corporations which are often more focused on quantity rather than quality. Support your local growers and become familiar with your town's community Farmers Market.

3. Grow your own food

You do not have to have a professional green thumb to do this. Growing yourown food means you have full control over the use of chemicals, the quality of soil and the use of pesticides. There are many organic pesticides on the market, and also online which tell you how to make your own - often involving lots of garlic.
Growing your own food can have economical benefits... for your wallet. Purchasing local and organic produce can cost a few dollars more each time, those dollars will add up. However the benefits of planting your own garden will help you lower those costs, and eat more vegetables since they are conveniently nearby. If you are uncertain about the soil in your yard, try raised garden beds or resort to container gardening. You can use plastic containers or even fabric containers as well, such as the popular Smart Pots which help keep the roots from becoming pot bound.

So next time you have a craving for a nice bowl of pasta, you can head out to the garden grab and some tomatoes and zucchini, chop them up with some garlic, sauté in extra virgin olive oil and toss with your pasta. This is a wonderful way to add fresh vegetables into your diet.

One final benefit found in gardening is exercise. Simple tasks of bending, scooping, reaching and kneeling are good for the joints. This is often a recommended hobby for those who suffer with arthritis or osteoarthritis, as the movements are gentle and easy on the joints. Plus, the exercise doesn't feel like exercise at all!

4. Eat sprouts

Sprouts are one of the healthiest foods you can eat. They are loaded with proteins and vitamins you simply cannot get elsewhere in such a compact and concentrated form. Quinoa is an excellent choice for protein since it contains more protein than beef. You can buy quinoa at your supermarket. It is actually a leafy green vegetable, but you can cook the seeds (after rinsing well). It has a nutty yet mild flavor which goes great with fresh vegetables. Use it as you would a couscous, or mix itwith your salad.

5. Eat raw when you can

The longer you cook vegetables, there will be a loss of nutrients.

However, eating them raw or just slightly cooked or steamed is an easy way to get the most vitamins out of your fresh veggies. Take a few minutes and chop your raw vegetables and fruit into your desired size for snacking. Store them in an air tight container in the refrigerator so they will be in easy reach when you are looking for a quick snack. Make this a part of either your morning or nighttime routine.

Serve with some organic dips such as hummus (which you can easily make at home), or organic peanut butter.

6. Balance your meats, poultry and fish

Too much of any one thing is not a good thing - especially with meat. Although beef is a good source of protein, do not use that as an excuse to buy burgers every dayfor lunch. First, buy organic beef which has been ideally grass fed. After all, grass, not corn, is what cows are naturally supposed to be eating anyway. If it is difficult to find organic beef, try bison instead. This lean meat is required by FDA to be void of hormones and antibiotics. The reason the meat is so lean is because the animals live in their natural habitat - in open fields where they can roam freely. However, make sure to add in some organic chicken and wild caught fish as well.

If you love your meats and fish, try to keep them to 1 serving of each per week. Combining meats with your pasta is a good combination. Next time you make some pasta, prepare a breaded chicken breast recipe to serve along with it. You will consume less pasta and less meat than had you only prepared just one.

7. Try some substitutes

For those who are die hard fans of white pasta, 100% whole wheat pasta is not an easy switch. However, try to find brands which offer a 50/50 mix. It will still keep that familiar pasta flavor and taste, thus not detracting from your meal at all.

No matter which choices you make to live a healthier life - moving towards a more organic, natural and whole food diet is a good first step. No one can deny the benefits of healthy eating. Maintaining a well-balanced diet by adding in more fruits and vegetables, along with your carbohydrates and proteins, you will soon be on your way to a much healthier you.


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