When I started down the path of REALLY being conscious of what I put IN and ON my body, I started feeling better, having more energy and being an overall happier person. When I brought my family along for the ride the whole house changed…..for the better. While I made drastic changes quickly due to my cancer diagnosis, I made smaller changes for my family that made a big impact. Like they say in the airline business, I put the oxygen mask on me first so I could assist others around me. My husband, especially, saw a positive change in my health, so he and the girls wanted to be a part of it too. Here are some of the easy changes we made in our house that I know can be easy for you to make in yours as well.
- Drink more water. This is seemingly the simplest of all, but is often overlooked. We need to drink half of our body weight in ounces…. so do the math. If you are 150 lbs. and have been drinking the recommended 8 glasses of water a day you are falling short. And how many of us drink the recommended amount in the first place? If you have headaches, constipation or fatigue you could be dehydrated. A good way to start every morning is with a large glass of warm lemon water. It’s what I do and would highly recommend it for you too!
- Switch out your salt. I know we have been programmed to believe salt is bad for us, but not all salts are created equal. The white table salt that we are used to seeing in salt shakers everywhere is what’s wreaking havoc on your health. We ditched the white iodized table salt and turned to our favorite’s pink Himalayan salt or Sea Salt. Both Himalayan and Sea Salts are natural salts that contain trace minerals that we tend to lack in our daily diet.
- Limit or eliminate dairy. If you are eating dairy in the United States, chances are it is very processed. My entire family ate cheese and drank gobs of organic milk, not to mention sour cream and just about any other kind of dairy that’s out there. I thought buying organic would help, but it is still processed with all kinds of junk and fillers. I was afraid to cut this out of our diet because it seemed overwhelming, but shockingly it became one of the easiest to remove. After a small revolt from the kids, we moved on and never looked back. I cut dairy of all forms out completely, but my family drastically reduced their consumption down to a little shredded cheese that we eat when we have Taco Tuesday; and boy, did this simple change make a big difference for us. More on this in a later post….I have so much to say on this topic, but will save it for another time. The improvements we saw with our kids were pretty remarkable.
- Buy organic produce. This was a big one for me recovering from cancer and my toxic treatments. I didn’t want to further burden my body with genetically modified organisms (GMO) that were engineered with Roundup to withstand being sprayed with herbicides. Herbicides mimic hormones in our bodies causing all kinds of issues especially for our children, but for us as well. If you are concerned about the cost of buying organic you can go to www.EWG.com and look for a list of the “Clean 15” and the “Dirty Dozen” to find out what produce you can get away from buying organic. Our family can now taste the difference between organic vs non-organic produce. On a side note, don’t be fooled by marketing on the packaging, when they splash organic on Doritos or cookies. These are all very processed and contain many other suspect ingredients.
- Be conscious of where your animal products come from. This is another area where we can absolutely taste the difference between store bought meats vs. meat from a local farm. Three years ago when we started implementing some of these changes, finding good meat sources was more difficult. Because of the growing need, you can find good healthy options more easily. Visit your local farmers market to find sources near you. For a farmers market in your area you can visit https://www.ams.usda.gov/local-food-directories/farmersmarkets
- Eat more REAL food. This was certainly eye opening for me. When I sat down and really looked at the amount of REAL food our family was consuming, I was disappointed. We did decent in the fruit department, but the amount of fresh vegetables we were eating was not where it needed to be. Eating a GREEN vegetable with every meal can help protect your body from many types of diseases. Just flat out getting more of a variety of fresh veggies will do wonders for your skin, energy level, mood, and mental clarity. As an added bonus, by eating more REAL food, you tend to crowd out your need for wanting to snack on processed foods.
These are some of the small changes that made a big impact. It’s important if you are making changes as a family that you talk about why you are making these changes to have everyone be a part of the solution. One thing that really helped us was watching documentaries as a family on either Netflix or my favorite, Food Matters TV (www.FMTV.com). Also, do check-in’s with your kids to see how they’re feeling after eating certain foods. It really helps them to connect the dots themselves so they can make their own food choices based on how it makes them feel. When I was their age, I never made the connection between what I ate and how I felt.
When we started to change how we ate as a family, our girls were 4, 5 and 7. They were young, but still pretty set in their ways as to what they liked and didn’t like. I would encourage discussions on food choices at any age. This will help them be more conscious of how food makes them feel with the intention of helping them make healthier choices in the future.
I would love to hear how making healthy changes for your family impacts the way you look at nutrition. Please comment below.