Over the years, I have endured long work hours and evening kids activities that seem to completely prevent healthy habits. I've ventured into so many area seeking to be healthier but here are some of my core "healthier me" tips. I want to share with you these 5 tips that may prove to make you healthier as well.
1. Read all food labels. Yes, all of them! You might be surprised what you see in some of your favorite foods. To my surprise when I started reading food labels several years ago, I found that sugar was in almost everything. Why? Not so sure. These are a few things that I have come to try to avoid high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners and as much sugar as possible. If I am going for a dessert, yep the real sugar must be there but if I want a tomato sauce or a healthy salad dressing- no thanks to sugar. There is another thing you might not realize. Sugar has A LOT of names these days. This article produced by university of Southern California at San Franciso https://sugarscience.ucsf.edu/hidden-in-plain-sight/#.X4devujYrrc cites that 74% of packaged foods have added sugar. It also has a list of 61 names for sugar. A few include: dextrose, caramel, treacle, sucrose, maltose, etc. Take a look at this list so that when you are reading your food labels you will be aware of the sugar.
2. Cook meals at home instead of going out to restaurants or fast food. This one can be particularly hard if you have a busy schedule or cooking is not your favorite activity. But there are a few ways that can help. Try creating meals in your crock pot or Instapot so that your meal is cooking while you are doing other things. If planning the meal is your difficulty there are meal planning apps such as mealime or yummly that can assist you. The following article has some other apps that you might be interested in. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/best-meal-planning-apps.
3. Evaluate how you feel about 10-15 minutes after you eat. Try a food journal for several weeks and write what you eat along with an evaluation of how you feel 10-15 minutes after you. For example: do you feel bloated, gassy, joints aching, hot, tired, sleepy, etc. This exercise will help you evaluate the effects of food on your body. From this self assessment you can choose then to eliminate a particular food or choose to eat it differently such as a different time of day. You have the ability to be in control of how you feel.
4. Build exercise into your schedule. Exercise can come in all shapes and sizes. I read recently somewhere that walking up a hill is just a good as going to the gym. Well. Who really knows if that's the case but we do know that in general exercise is good for us. Some ways to build it into your schedule might be to park in the farthest parking spot from the store when you go shopping or set a time to walk for 5 minutes around your house or neighborhood. You'll be surprised how quickly it goes by and most times you don't mind doing a little more. Recently my teenage daughter taught me a 6 min workout that works your entire body. I started doing it while watching TV.
5. Take a Sabbath day each week. I mean a true sabbath (day of rest)!. My husband and I have started doing this on Saturdays. We do our best to prepare food, do all our cleaning, and any other tasks we determine that needs to be done and on Saturdays we rest. I mean do nothing, rest. We don’t do dishes, wash clothes, or work. If we want to go for a ride, we go for a ride. We kinda just do restful things. We also cook a meal prior to Saturday so that we just warm it up and no one has to labor to cook. I must admit, the first couple times it felt hard but we quickly recognized the benefit. I have found that these days are life giving for that we have begun finding that other 6 days of our week are much more productive. I dare you to give it a try weekly for a month. I’m sure you’ll see the difference also.
I hope you found these 5 tips helpful. I look forward to spending more time with you in next blog. Don’t forget to check out our farm website at Jirehfamilyfarm.net.
Written by Valarie Jarvis