Today we are publishing a guest post by the amazing Varvara Dame. She is writing over at https://onemonthtogether.wordpress.com/ and posting beautiful pictures @ https://www.instagram.com/bibijina/. Besides being a writer, Varvara is a popular Yoga teacher and plant-based vegan lifestyle advocate. Below she gives us 6 easy-to-implement habits to eat healthier and more mindful.
1. Mindful groceries shopping
When you enter the grocery store, make your way to the fresh produce section first to grab veggies and fruits. Fresh veggies and fruits should make up 75 percent of your shopping cart. While it is better to have locally grown foods and foods that are in season, I wont worry too much about that, just take anything that looks pretty to the eye and smells good!
Now that your cart is full of fresh food, you can move into other sections of the shop, and try to keep other foods to only 25 percent of what you already have in your cart.
2. Less eating out
I know that eating out is fun. Trying new creations, visiting new restaurants or having your favorite ‘go-to places‘. But the truth is that unfortunately even the most healthy versions that are served in the restaurants are not healthy at all.
Our brains love sugar, salt and fat.
Restaurant owners are well aware of this, so they use these ingredients a lot. They know that if they put sugar, salt and fat in any meal, customers will love it and come back. Just look at the success of McDonalds. They perfected their meals with exactly these ingredients.
It does not mean that you should never eat out though. You can eat out, but you have to know that eating out is the exception, not the rule.
3. More unpackaged foods
Are you a busy bee? When you are always in hurry it feels that grabbing a packaged snack that says “healthy & nutritious” on the front of the package is the best way to get nutrition in. I would suggest to go for whole foods. How about grabbing carrots, a jar of beans, bananas or whole nuts? This can easily be a healthy quick lunch, or a really satisfying snack before you get to cook a good, healthy meal.
4. Keep your cooking simple
People ask me what my favorite recipe is and how to cook it. To be honest, I do not have much time to cook, however I cook 3 times a day and it does not take a lot of time. So not to spend all day cooking I just keep it very simple:
– I boil a pot of rice and quinoa.
– I cut big chunks of 2-3 types of veggies and heat them in the pan without oil (ex: carrots, zucchini, greens).
– I prepare 2-3 types of raw veggies with lemon or orange on top (ex: tomato, cucumber, celery).
This is a typical whole foods meal that I prepare every day. I generally do not mix grains with veggies while cooking, this makes it easier to store leftovers.
5. Taste is not everything
You might think that veggies and rice are too plain and boring. Try to think ‘nutritional value vs taste’. If you eat out a lot, than most of the natural foods will taste like “cold feet”. This is normal for beginners, but you will have to go through it only once. The more you will cut out processed foods (with sugar, fat and salt) from your life the more you will be able to taste real food. It is true magic to be able to taste subtle tastes vs hard odor of smelly cheeses and cured meats.
6. Know the food that you put in your body
Knowing the foods that you eat is the key to a healthy diet. It is easier to learn about whole foods – veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, grains. Since unpackaged food is 100% percent what it is, you can easily google the nutrition value of the food and its health benefits. It is fun to learn for yourself and share with others.
It takes much more time to learn about packaged and processed food items. You have to read the full ingredient list of what is inside the package. Packaged foods usually say one thing on the front like “Organic Coconut Ice-cream”, but if you look on the ingredient list you can find, for example, sugar as the first ingredient. You basically bought coconut-flavored sugar. The first ingredient on the list on the back of the package is what the product is mostly made of.
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