Embodied Practice, Part 3: Simple Nutrition Changes That Are Better For You and Your Wallet
by Eliza Demarest
Improving your health can be done without drastic diet or lifestyle changes. Focusing on the number on the scale tends to leave people feeling overwhelmed and unable to maintain longevity for their optimal health goals. Eating clean and on a budget doesn’t have to be difficult.
Making simple shifts to improve your diet or lifestyle can be a big change for some of us. Remember to be patient with yourself; new habits take time and practice before they become a routine. On average, it takes up to two months before a new behavior becomes a habit.
Simple Steps. Big Change.
Navigating your way around the grocery store can be daunting for clean eating beginners. Start by shopping on the edge of the grocery store where the fresh produce is located. Select one or two items from your past shopping list to switch out with clean items. For example, buy bananas and oatmeal or a whole grain cereal instead of a cereal that’s loaded with sugar. The next time you are at the store, select three or four items to switch out. The slow progression will help you make lifelong changes.
Identifying REAL, clean food is simple, I promise. Anything that grows on a tree, grows in the ground, lives in the ocean or travels on the organic earth, or lives prominently above the air we breath, is considered REAL food. Food that is fried, loaded with added sugar, and has an ingredient list that is unrecognizable, are key factors to stay away from.
Eating seasonally means to eat foods at the same time of the year that it’s harvested. Foods that are in season are the freshest and hold the most amount of nutrients. They are usually available in abundance, which means the farmers want to get rid it. They will usually sell the produce for a lower price. Foods that are sold out of season are usually harvested before the peak of their ripeness in order to mature by the time they are in a grocery store. The travel time, distance and human labor all contribute to the final cost of the product.
Eating locally supports your local economy. I love going to farmer's markets because of the real heart to heart transactions. Knowing where your food comes from can help bridge the gap between farmer and buyer. Currently, this gap grows in our society due to the mass production of food and consumption. Making this connection between you and your food or you and a local farmer can help you appreciate the whole farm to table process.
Reading ingredients on food labels has become important in our society, because we are becoming more aware of the foods that serve us and the ones that don’t. “What do all those huge words mean? Can you always tell when something has a lot of sugar? How about sodium and trans fats? It may be hard to identify ingredients that you want to reduce in your diet to keep it heart healthy, such as saturated and trans fats, sodium, added sugars and cholesterol” (American Heart Association). Make reading food labels a habit. It will help you make healthier choices.
Preventing food waste becomes manageable when we make the initial choice to not waste food. In the United States alone, we throw away 40 percent of our food supply every year (sustainabletable.org). I have purchased leafy greens that have spoiled countless times, because I buy too much and can’t eat them fast enough. Save the money in your wallet by only buying what you will eat in a few days time.
These small lifestyle changes will not only save you money, but they will have a positive impact on your health, the global economy and food security, and on the environment.
My favorite healthy foods on the go are...
Originally from Mount Shasta, California - Eliza is a wellness focused contributor at Aspen City of Wellbeing. She's a lover of all things wellbeing: smoothies, yoga, meditation, glitter, flowers, and time in nature. She's an aspiring road hog. Be sure to honk or wave if you see her cruising on her Harley through the Roaring Fork Valley.