Have you been a junk food junkie lately? For the most part, foods that come in boxes, cans, jars or packages have been processed and turn into empty calorie meals. These food products usually contain extra filler ingredients such as preservatives, sweeteners, artificial flavors, artificial colors and thickening agents.
Most chips, cookies, snacks and junk foods are made of highly processed grains and sweeteners that provide low nutrition and empty calories.
Keep in mind that your body will get used to whatever you feed it. If you eat chips, you’ll want more chips. If you eat chocolate, you’ll want more chocolate. If you eat sugary cereals, you’ll want more of them. Using that same analogy, if you eat salad, you will want more raw vegetables. Cravings can be physical, emotional and also social, but in a short time you can create some new, healthier cravings.
Are you ready to clean up your food choices and take a break from junk food?
Although you might find that it can be an adjustment to make changes to your eating habits, here are some tips to help make it a little easier.
1) If it comes in a can, box, puffy bag or package, head to the fruit and vegetable department and try to find a healthier alternative.
2) If you are reading a product label and there are more than 5 ingredients listed, don’t buy it.
3) If you are reading a product label and there are ingredients that you can’t pronounce or have never heard of, don’t buy it.
4) If it has any type of sweetener or sugar in it, don’t buy it.
5) If it has empty calories (calories that aren’t providing nutrients), don’t buy it.
6) If you find yourself pulling up to a drive-thru window to order food, keep driving and head to the grocery store instead!
7) If you find yourself planning to eat something that tastes like it should be a dessert instead of eating a meal, put it down and have some veggies first.
8) Plan ahead! Stock your kitchen with healthy choices and bring homemade snacks and balanced meals with you.
9) Acupuncture sessions can be a great help when making any changes to your diet. There are acupuncture points to help with cravings, portion control and weight loss.
REPLACING JUNK FOOD WITH HEALTHY OPTIONS
Instead of sugary snacks and desserts – choose fresh fruit. Melons, bananas, grapes and mangoes make great healthy snacks which are loaded with naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. Most grocery stores now offer pre-cut items in the produce department, making it even easier to incorporate more fruits and vegetables each day.
Instead of sweeteners – choose stevia leaf. Stevia is an herb that is naturally sweet. It has zero calories and zero effect on the blood sugar. A tiny amount of stevia goes a long way. It is extremely sweet, sometimes too sweet for even the biggest sugar addicts.
Instead of salted snacks – choose celery sticks or dried sea weed. Instead of chips or pretzels – choose crunchy, raw vegetables. Fresh celery, carrots, cucumbers, radishes and jicama are crispy, low in calories and high in fiber.
Instead of fruit juices – choose fresh fruit. A delightful, light and refreshing beverage can be made by adding sliced fruit to your water. Try this super easy recipe:
Cantaloupe Infused Water
1 pitcher of water
1/4 of a cantaloupe, sliced into bite-sized chunks
Fill a pitcher 3/4 of the way to the top with drinking water and add sliced cantaloupe.
Use a wooden spoon to gently press the melon chunks against the sides of the pitcher for a few minutes. Lightly mashing the fruit will release the juices and flavors into the water. Let the mix infuse for a few hours in the fridge prior to serving.
When I talk with my clients about nutrition, I am often told that when they commit to stop eating junk foods, they stop craving them. The less junk you eat, the less you will crave. Once you break a habit, keep going forward and don’t look back!
When you give up the junk, you might have increased energy, clearer skin, better digestion, improved sleep and you may find it easier to manage your weight.
Ditch the processed foods and see for yourself!
If you’d like more health tips, check out Samadhi’s book, Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Healthy You.
By Samadhi Artemisa, Acupuncture Physician
Originally published in “A Better You” of the Orlando Sentinel newspaper, March 2017. Reprinted with permission.
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