Cheers to 2014!
As 2013 came to an end, and I reflected on all of the wonderful things that occurred: my son graduating from college, my daughter getting married, reconnecting with family and friends that I had not seen in many years and I starting my website and blog so that I can share one of my passions: “Staying healthy and motivating others to become healthier through plant-strong food and healthy lifestyle choices.” I was truly amazed at all of the wonderful accomplishments I had experienced or achieved. There were many good times, plenty of laughter and lots of love!
So here we are: 2014, and I know that being healthier is a goal that many of us share. I also know that no matter how healthy we may be, there is always room for improvement and things to learn that will help us toward being our best. For instance, I recently discovered that I my body reacts terribly to one of those hidden ingredients found in many “convenient” processed foods: Xanthan Gum. Briefly, “Xanthan gum is a thickening agent named after the bacteria used to make it through fermentation, Xanthomonas capestris.” The common bacterium that is the same culprit that causes your cauliflower to turn black when rotting. “Although you would not eat rotting cauliflower, xanthan gum is generally safe and only causes mild irritations in some people . . . Since celiac disease and gluten-free diets are becoming more commonplace, xanthan gum is also being used in more baked products to replace gluten. The most common side effects of xanthan gum are gas and bloating. If you ingest a large quantity of xanthan gum, you may experience severe abdominal pain from gas buildup in your intestines,” Livestrong.com.
Because I don’t eat a lot of processed foods, but I do purchase on occasion some hummus products and salsa products it was pretty easy for me to determine that’s what was causing my occasional, but uncomfortable (and embarrassing) digestive system distress. Since I try to buy products that only have a short ingredient list and contain things that I can read and because not all brands use xanthan gum, it was easy for me to research the ingredient and then experiment and determine it was the culprit. No more of that ingredient!
So, as I mentioned, I know that for many of us, being healthier is a 2014 goal most us share. But what does “healthy” mean what does “healthy” really look like? I think we know it’s more that taking a multivitamin or eating an apple a day. To live a healthy lifestyle; it’s about providing your body with all of the nutrients it needs to fully support the things you want to accomplish in your life. It includes getting your eating under control and in a comfortable groove that works for you; getting and staying active so your joints and body feels better; and getting your stress under control which will help you to maintain your long-term goal.
For many of you, I realize that you’ve tried so many things, your mind is confused, your body is confused and you aren’t sure anymore where to get started. So that’s where I come in. Throughout the year, I will be posting the best tips that have worked for me during my journey toward a healthier lifestyle. Using these tips will help you start on your journey toward achieving and maintaining optimal health. It will allow you to focus on you.
This past week, when I sat down and started creating my list to share with you, I realized that I have way over 200 tips. That’s a lot of information. Good information, but a lot! And, of course I didn’t start out trying those 200 tips all at once. I’m a high achiever, but that would have been a bit overwhelming.
So today, because it’s the first day of our new year, I will post on my Karen’s Healthy Kitchen website 5 tips toward a healthier lifestyle.
Over the course of 2014, every Monday afternoon look for your next five tips.
Every Thursday afternoon, I look for one of my healthy, simple, recipes.
In between those days, I will share on my Facebook page, information and recipes that I discover on other websites that I believe will be of interest to you along your journey.
If you have certain topics that you wish to learn more about, please let me know by posting comments. Post your questions. I love hearing from you and I love focusing on what’s important to you.
So, again, Cheer’s to 2014. It’s going to be your best year yet! ~Karen
HEALTHY LIFESTYLE TIPS:
1. DUMP THE JUNK, CLEAR OUT YOUR KITCHEN: Yes, clean out your kitchen pantry and fridge. Help avoid temptation by making a clean sweep of your pantry and fridge. Stock with whole foods, fresh foods. Check your ingredients lists and avoid things like high fructose corn syrup. Here are 10 foods to eliminate from your diet and your house:
- Sweetened Dairy Products (e.g. ice cream, low-fat ice cream, frozen yogurt)
- Trans Fat Containing Foods (e.g. stick margarine, shortening, fast foods, commercial baked goods)
- Sausage, Hot Dogs, and Luncheon Meats
- Smoked Meat, Barbecued Meat and Conventionally-Raised Red Meat
- Fried Foods including Potato Chips and French Fries
- Highly-salted Foods
- Refined White Sugar
- Refined White Flour
2. KEEP A FOOD JOURNAL: Journal what you eat on a daily basis. This will help you focus on the things that are trigger foods for you as well as make sure you eating enough.
3. JOURNAL YOUR WEIGHT LOSS PROGRESS: In the beginning, take your measurements. The inches lost are motivating as well. Weigh once a week. People who do are more likely to lose and maintain that loss.
4. EAT A QUALITY BREAKFAST: People who eat breakfast have a better shot at losing and maintaining weight loss. When you support healthy blood sugar levels by breaking your overnight fast with nutrient-dense foods, you are less likely to gorge later in the day because your body will be better prepared to make healthy food choices. You will experience less hunger, reduce snacking and fewer evening cravings — while burning calories. Focus on whole, natural foods that includes quality protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables.
5. AUTOMATE YOUR MEALS: Choose three to four different breakfasts and lunches that you can switch between. Narrowing your choices you are less likely to be caught unprepared and make unhealthy choices. I even use this tip for my dinner meal choices. That way I always have products on hand to make a healthy, delicious, simple meal.