–By Maryann Ridini Spencer, Author of “Lady in the Window” (May 9, 2017, SelectBooks)
Avoid Foods that are Processed, Preserved, Refined, and Sodium Heavy
When you eat lots of processed, preserved and refined foods loaded with sugar such as store bought cookies, cakes and candy, salty foods like potato chips and pretzels, packaged foods with lists of chemicals you can barely pronounce and drink soft drinks and liquor in excess, how do you usually feel afterwards? Think about it.
While eating these foods may cause momentary bliss while they’re being consumed — which is very tempting when you’re grieving — they can ultimately wreak havoc on your waistline and your mood as well as contribute to serious health consequences if you indulge in excess over time.
In fact, research shows that regular consumption of these types of foods can lead to elevated blood sugar levels (putting offenders at a higher risk for diabetes) and contribute to myriad other negative health effects like an impaired immune system and vulnerability to chronic disease.
Be Good To Yourself and Your Body: It Feeds the Soul!
Healing after the death of a loved one is a time where you need to be extra cognizant of what you consume. While you may feel the need to sooth yourself with those sugary, fatty and ever-so-tempting No-no’s, what you really need to do is to take care of yourself and comfort yourself in a way that will benefit you and heal you — inside and out. This will not only help you, but those you love.
In addition to daily exercise and surrounding yourself with positive people and activities, eating well by upping your intake of lots of USDA Certified Organic fresh fruits and vegetables, hormone free and sustainable meats and fishes, Non-GMO Project Verified grains and whole foods, will make you feel and look better. You have one life to live, so make the most of it — physically, mentally and spiritually.
“Clean Eating” has become a popular term that means eating “whole” or “real” foods. Foods that are minimally processed and handled, in other words — as close to their natural form found in nature as possible, which provides your body with the vitamins and nutrients it needs from real sources.
Five Tips for Clean Eating
- Take Inventory. Review what’s in your cabinets and refrigerator. Avoid foods that are processed, refined and loaded with chemicals you can’t pronounce. TIP: If you can’t pronounce or understand the ingredients, something’s amiss.
- Eat Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified. Eating foods that are produced without the use of toxic chemicals is extremely important to your health and quality of life. TIP: Read up on these terms: USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified.
- Add Color to your plate. Color is found in a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. When you eat a plate full of variety and color, you’re doing something great for YOU! TIP: Eat your veggies raw and/or roast them! Just drizzle a little organic extra virgin olive oil on a cookie sheet, chop up your favorite veggies (Remember: different colors and textures) and toss with Italian seasoning blend (or your favorite ground or fresh herbs), and roast in the oven at 425 Degrees F for 20 minutes or so. Serve with eggs for breakfast, in a green salad for lunch and as a side with your main entrée at dinner.
- Get your sugar from natural sources. If you have a sweet tooth, opt for foods with sugars from natural sources (i.e. fresh fruits and organic honey). Avoid chemical laden-artificial sweeteners. TIP: A one-ounce (1 inch) square of dark chocolate (with a cacao or cocoa content of 70% or higher) can be a very satisfying dessert (with or without with a tablespoon of nuts and a piece of fresh fruit).
- Buy Local. Whenever possible, shop at your local Certified Farmer’s Market and get to know your local farmers and how they grow the food you eat. When you buy in-season and locally produced fresh fruits and vegetables and sustainable meat and fish, you’re getting the most vitamins and nutrients right from the farm to your table. The food isn’t processed and it doesn’t have to be shipped over long distances, which also helps the environment as well as the sustainability of our community. TIP: If you don’t know where a local Certified Farmer’s Market is in your area, just search for information online.
The Healing Power of Clean Eating
Medical studies are continuing to prove the link between mental health and diet. When we eat more of the “right stuff,” we generally find that we have more balanced moods and feelings of overall well-being.
After a few months of clean eating you’ll most likely make some wonderful finds. Here are some of the things you can anticipate:
- You’ll no longer crave the sugars and salts you once did.
- You may find that as a result of clean eating, you’re a lot trimmer.
- If you return to your old habits for a few days, you may find that you feel bad and that eating in a certain fashion just doesn’t suit you anymore.
- You may find that your skin looks brighter, your energy level has increased, your clarity of mind is sharp, and your ability to fight colds is strong.
The conclusion? When you’re taking conscious, positive action for your body and your overall health, it contributes to a quality of life and peace of mind that just makes sense.
Maryann Ridini Spencer, award-winning screenwriter (“The Lost Valentine”/CBS-TV Hallmark Hall of Fame starring Betty White and Jennifer Love Hewitt), novelist (“Lady in the Window” in bookstores May 9, 2017 from SelectBooks) and TV/Print lifestyle journalist (“Simply Delicious Living” on PBS-TV and “Sustainable Ventura News” at VenturaCountyStar.com). Visit Maryann at: maryannridinispencer.com
As a little bonus, check out this great recipe for Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Winter Beets.
For a recipe print out, visit Maryann’s blog at simplydeliciousliving.com.