Welcome to part two of my little series on creating a happier and healthier lifestyle for yourself!
[See part one here.]
1. Eat breakfast.
I will be the first to admit that this meal is easy to skip. I’ve been known for habitually not eating anything at the start of my day, but honestly, it was mostly because I was out of ideas on what to eat.
Breakfast doesn’t have to be boring though. Some people settle for a piece of toast with a slab of butter, or a bagel with cream cheese, and call it good. But hey, get creative. And a little goes a long way. Make yourself a delicious omelette with some veggies and all the cheese. Or a bowl of oatmeal with berries.
This morning, I poured myself a bowl of organic raisin bran (thanks, Trader Joe’s), sliced up a banana and a couple strawberries into it, sprinkled some flax and chia seeds over it, and topped it off with coconut milk. Let me tell you: it was delicious. And healthy! It’s amazing what some simple additions can do to a meal.
I also made myself a cup of Jasmine green tea, sweetened with honey.
And I may or may not have had breakfast in bed, while enjoying my current read.
2. Eat healthy snacks
I was talking to a girl I picked up while driving for Lyft and she said how difficult it is for her to find healthy snack options. I encouraged her to start out small. Making big drastic changes in your life all at once rarely works for a long-term result. My advice is to start with fruits and veggies. These are easy to pack, healthy and delicious. Add an apple or banana to your lunch bag. Or if you have time, cut some up into a fruit salad. Throw in some berries. Kiwis and mandarin oranges are often forgotten about but have great nutritious value to them. As far as veggies go, my favorites are carrots and snow peas. But broccoli is yummy too. Grab some hummus for dip and you’re good to go.
If there was just one huge food-wise ingredient I would tell you to change in your diet TODAY, it would be this. A lot of people have difficulty finding a substitute for sugar. But let me introduce you to honey. It’s your new best friend.
Not only can you get different tasting honey (orange blossom, clover, apple, cherry, blackberry, etc.), but it can go in anything (even dishes that sugar wouldn’t work in) and adds so much more flavor than white or brown sugar ever can.
- natural energy source
- helps with relaxation and preparation for sleep
- a weight management alternative
- heals wounds and ulcers
as opposed to sugar, which:
- is a high intake of calories
- has high blood fat levels
- is a risk factor for heart disease
- is bad for your teeth and causes cavities
- is high in fructose and can overload your liver (which also causes break-outs, primarily on your cheeks)
- and causes massive amounts of dopamine to release in your brain, which can cause sugar addictions
4. Ingredients are key
While shopping for groceries, always look at the ingredients a product has. And 9 times out of 10, if you can’t pronounce a word, it shouldn’t be entering your body. Also, stay way from anything that contains sugar, corn syrup, anything bleached, and doesn’t say “no GMO” (Genetically Modified Organisms). Also, flavors are everything. Being half-Peruvian, I’m huge into spices and herbs and adding lots of flavorful pops to my dishes. Young Living essential oils comes in handy for this as their 100% therapeutic grade oils are able to be taken internally. Some favorites I use are thyme, oregano, peppermint, and lemon.
5. Make lists
Grocery lists, favorite food lists, meal lists. These will save your life. Throughout the day, be thinking of foods you like and jot down any ingredients you would need to make a meal. And before you go on your weekly shopping outing, look over these lists, consolidate them, budget them, and you’re good to go.
A great meal-planning app that I discovered recently is called Mealime.
6. Simple meal planning
Like I said in the point about snacks: start out small. Don’t overwhelm yourself with planning every meal perfectly and becoming 100% healthy right away.
What I like to do is: from the lists I make (see #5), I then choose which food I am craving. Say it’s ravioli, for example. Trader Joe’s (yes, people, that’s where I shop) has some delicious and healthy ravioli options.
Next, think about what you want to eat with the ravioli. Maybe some red sauce? Find a yummy sounding one, look at the ingredients and price, then move on to… cheese? Pre-shredded is always helpful.
I like adding a veggie dish (even if it’s just a simple salad) to a plate of ravioli, so figure out what you’re craving – maybe just avocados and tomatoes? – and voila! You have a meal.
Or make a quick rice stir fry, as pictured above.
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