Recommended Reading: Disease-Proof Your Child

I’m actually giving away a copy of today’s recommended reading. Check out my Facebook page for details!

After I read Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Eat to Live book I discovered that everything I thought I knew about nutrition and eating healthy had been wrong. This led me to another book by Dr. Fuhrman’s – Disease-Proof Your Child: Feeding Kids Right.

This book is a must-read for every parent. Hospitals should literally include it in the goody bag you take home with you. Most of the nutritional information and advice I had as a first-time mom came from what I learned growing up at school and at home, from other moms who did the same and from my pediatrician. After reading Disease-Proof Your Child I felt so empowered. As a society we often think that children “just get sick”, usually from germs or because their immune systems are still being built. Both of these could be true, but I think the most important thing we forget is how much of our health, especially our children’s health, is dependent on the food we and they are consuming.

In Disease-Proof Your Child Dr. Fuhrman helps the reader understand proper nutrition, how this nutrition can be used to prevent and treat illnesses, and how what we eat in our first few years of life could have a correlation to cancer and other health issues later on. The book also includes recipes you can use to get your child on a nutritious diet.

Format I Read: Paperback

The Good

If you have a child who is constantly suffering from colds, ear infections, allergies, eczema or asthma and feel like the medications and advice you are getting from your doctor are only putting a band-aid on the symptoms instead of curing the cause, this book may help you get on the road to true recovery. There are inspiring stories from actual parents with sick children who followed Dr. Fuhrman’s advice and now have healthy thriving children.

Prior to changing our diet, Kuya was eating what the average American child eats. He would also regularly get rashes on his skin. The rashes weren’t diagnosed as allergic reactions or eczema and when I would ask my pediatrician about them, I always received the same answer – put some hydrocortisone on it. I did that and sooner or later the rashes always came back. After reading Disease-Proof Your Child I changed Kuya’s diet and he stopped getting rashes.

If you are ready to take your child’s health into your own hands, educate and empower yourself instead of relying on others to tell you how best to keep your child healthy, Disease-Proof Your Child is a great place to start.

The Not So Good

The only critical thing I could say about this book is that many recipes call for soy. There is a lot of controversy over the use of soy and how the body handles it, which I myself am still learning about. Until I feel confident about whether or not to use or avoid it, I try to avoid it or only have it in very small amounts. With that said, if you don’t feel comfortable with soy you could always substitute soy milk with nut milk or other non-dairy milks and tofu with beans.

If you are feeding your child processed food and dairy, this book may make you feel like an awful parent. After finishing the book I felt guilty and upset with myself and even more upset with society. I wondered why the information in this book wasn’t general knowledge to every parent out there. If you end up feeling the same way don’t dwell on those feelings. Acknowledge them and use them as fuel to help your children flourish the right way.

Conclusion
As parents there is so much information out there on what we should and shouldn’t do with our children that sometimes thinking about what we feed them ends up on the bottom of the priority list. This book demonstrates that the quality of the foods our children are eating matters just as much as whether they are eating or not. If you are ready to play an active role in the quality of life and health of your child instead of relying on your pediatrician, this book will help you do that.

Ten Tips to Help Your Kids Eat Healthier

When I was ready to change the way I fed Kuya and provide him with food that would only nourish his body I wasn’t sure how to actually start. At two years old he was already a picky eater who looked disgusted at the sight of anything green. I felt like I was working toward an impossible goal and wondered if it was even worth the effort.

When I look back now at our journey and all of the frustration, I’m thankful that we stuck with it. Kuya is still pretty picky but he eats a much wider array of healthy food today than he did when we started this journey. I’ll take any progress I can get if that means these habits will stick with him throughout his life.

If you’re like me and want to feed your children better but find it overwhelming to start, take it slow. All it takes is that first step and soon you’ll find that every step after is easier than the last. To help you get started I’ve compiled the following ten tips that helped me. Pick one or two to apply to your life today and then once you have those down add a couple more. Trust me when I say that there is nothing quite as satisfying as seeing your child get excited over real healthy food.

1. Get Over the Guilt

The first step in any new journey, and this one is no different, is to leave the past in the past. Acknowledge it but move on. I harbored feelings of guilt once I realized how unhealthy some of the things were that I had fed Kuya in the past. I had to tell myself that I didn’t know any better then, and now that I did know better I would do all that I could to ensure that I wouldn’t continue making the same mistakes.

2. Don’t Keep Junk Food in the House

After our sugar detox Nic and I decided that we should no longer keep sweets and unhealthy snacks in the house. If we had a craving for some dessert we’d have to get ourselves up and out of the house to get it. Most of the time this ends up being too much effort for homebodies like us and we end up passing on it. Sometimes though we do go out for a special treat which makes the occasion just that – special and not the norm.

3. Set the Example

We all eat the same things at every meal. I wasn’t a huge fan of salad and didn’t eat greens often prior to embarking on this journey but I knew that they were some of the best foods for me and my kids. Now I have salads and greens a few times a week. Kuya still won’t finish a salad but he will take a couple bites which is leaps and bounds of progress from the turning away and head shaking we used to get when he was younger.

4. Ditch the Dairy

I’ve learned that dairy is not the best source of calcium and nutrients for my children and actually pose a number of issues which I will save for another post. Many plant foods contain much more calcium than dairy milk. Almond milk and other non-dairy milks are also fortified in the exact same way as dairy milk and provide just as many nutrients without the risks.

5. Decrease or Eliminate Added Sweeteners

During my sugar detox I stopped adding additional sweeteners like honey and syrup to Kuya’s morning oatmeal. He ended up finishing his entire bowl with no complaints. He had never asked for the added sweetener and after seeing him devour the unsweetened oatmeal I had to ask myself why I ever thought he needed them. What I’ve learned is that as parents we sometimes make assumptions about what our children will or won’t do and they in turn come back to surprise us.

6. Supplement With Vitamins

When we started changing Kuya’s diet I was worried he may not be getting all the nutrients he needed due to the many meals that went untouched. However I wasn’t going to give in and feed him only pizza and noodles in order for him to eat.

While we were transitioning I decided to supplement his diet with vitamins. What I found when searching for children’s vitamins is that almost all of them contain added sweeteners which was very frustrating. I know the amount is probably minimal, but that still didn’t make me feel very good. Thankfully, I discovered Yummi Bears Sugar Free Multivitamin Gummies. I still supplement Kuya’s diet with this today.

7. Include Children in the Shopping Experience

When Kuya was an only child I would always take him with me to the grocery store. This allowed him to see the food I was choosing and he was also able to touch and explore the fruits and vegetables we were buying. As I started shopping more at farmers’ markets, and if the weather permitted, taking him along with me was an even more fun. Both of us love sampling the fruits, we get excited over what we find and we get to spend some quality time together. Now that Spring is here I’m hoping to continue these experiences with Sissy Boo too.  

8. Don’t Force It

It can get really frustrating when your child refuses to eat what you prepare. Sometimes I wanted to punish him for it, however I’ve learned that when it comes to vegetables, children need to be presented with them 10 to 15 times before they will actually try them and/or like them. This sounds daunting, but trust me it works, so don’t give up and don’t force it on your child through punishment. Eating habits are developed at a young age and forcing children to eat something they don’t find appealing or forcing them to finish everything on their plate could set them up with unhealthy habits, such as overeating, as adults.

9. Be Prepared

This is my biggest challenge for eating healthy. When I am not prepared I am more likely to run out and grab a pizza when the kids are hungry and screaming and I can’t get anything done. So now, we stock up on fresh fruits and let my kids snack on these if they’re getting hunger pangs while we are still cooking. I search for and pin healthy recipes on Pinterest and actually buy the ingredients needed to make them. I keep track mentally of what I have in the fridge and pantry and make sure I get to the grocery store to stock up when I’m running low on healthy inventory.

10. Don’t Order Off of the Kid’s Menu

It’s funny to me that even at some healthy restaurants kids menus still consist of the same things as unhealthy restaurants – chicken nuggets, fries, or something with a ton of cheese in it. At first I would try to order the least unhealthiest thing from the menu, but lately I’ve just started to order off of the regular menu. It may cost more, but it’s worth it to me to know that my kids are eating healthier. Usually the extra cost is just a few dollars and we don’t eat out too often so at the end of the day it doesn’t make much of a difference price-wise. I have also asked restaurants if they could half the portion size of a regular menu item. We do a lot of substitutions as well and find that most establishments are willing to work with us.
Did I miss anything? What do you do to help your kids eat healthy?

Children & Nutrition: Feeding The Next Generation

Children are resilient little beings. They can get banged up, cut, scratched, and break bones, and within seconds, days or weeks they’re back up again and running around without a care in the world.

This resilience is what we admire about kids and it is also one of the reasons why we believe that we can feed them anything and they will continue to function optimally.

First Time Mom

When I had Kuya and became a first time mom I looked to other moms I knew and the advice I got from my pediatrician in raising him. These people had experience and their kids seemed healthy so I never questioned what I figured was normal parenting.

This included letting Kuya watch TV whenever he desired, allowing him to play on the iPad and of course feeding him processed food and snacks that were manufactured for kids. Kids eat cereal, frozen pizza, crackers and cookies and mine wasn’t any different.

Shortly after he turned one Kuya started becoming picky about the things he ate. When we presented him with vegetables he would not touch them. My son became a picky eater and I kept wondering why. I soon realized that if he didn’t eat what I was giving him I’d just make him something he’d actually want – I was the source of the problem.

It wasn’t until I started my own health journey that I realized everything I was feeding Kuya was so backwards. Being a parent is one of the most rewarding yet stressful jobs. We try and find ways to make this job easier and food companies know that which is why they invented “convenience foods”. As I walked further and further down my new way of life I soon learned that these are not food at all.

Mommy Instincs

Before starting my sugar detox I watched the documentary Fed Up on Netflix. If you are a parent and only do one thing after reading this post then let it be to watch this film. After watching Fed Up and learning about all of the harmful things in processed food I could no longer consciously feed Kuya these things.

As his mother I was supposed to be his protector and do all that I could to help him thrive. However, I was the one buying and feeding him the very things that could prevent him from doing so. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I like most moms will do anything I can to keep my child safe and this change would be no different.

If you feel you are depriving your child by not allowing them to eat fast food or buying them candy and sweets I urge you to start educating and empowering yourself on what proper nutrition consists of. Once you do you’ll find that McDonald’s and Oreos can’t even compare to real wholesome organic food.

The Road Less Traveled

It hasn’t been easy making this switch in diet for Kuya. There were many many nights when Nic especially couldn’t stand the thought of his son “starving” and wanted to give in. To all parents who want their kids to eat healthier and have the same concern, know this – children will not starve themselves. Especially children under the age of five.

I’ve questioned myself many times about our decision to follow this unconventional path and we still have a long way to go. However, seeing my baby boy today take a bite out of lettuce, ask for more mushrooms and jump up and down screaming “bananas yay bananas!” when I get back from grocery shopping make me know that it is all worth it.

Eating habits are formed at a young age. I had to sit back and think about the things I had taught Kuya early on. At first I was teaching him if he doesn’t like something he could just say so and he’d get something different.

I’m a first generation American so we didn’t have a lot of money growing up, therefore we ate whatever was on the table. Today our world is full of abundance and it isn’t uncommon for kids to have sweet treats and fast food practically every day. I didn’t want my children growing up with this expectation, so I knew I had to make changes.

A Call To Action

When I was young I was taught in school that if I was ever alone and a stranger stopped me and offered me candy to get into his car I should run in the opposite direction. Kidnappers knew they could entice children by offering them sweets. There are other culprits who know this – food companies.

In 2009, food and beverage companies spent $1.79 billion to market their products to kids. As a parent I feel that we should be outraged by this. Here are these adults who are purposely targeting our children. Children who are easily influenced and who are still developing their thoughts and beliefs.

If you feel some sort of way about Joe Camel and how the tobacco industry used him to market to kids you should feel even more offended that food companies are still allowed to do the same thing. Until they can no longer target our children, I would encourage all parents to limit the advertising their children are exposed to and to not support these companies.

I know that some may see my views as extreme but honestly they come from my deep desires and passion. A passion to leave the world a better place, a desire to ensure that my children will live long and healthy lives and a passion to share the truth and lies that I’ve been able to uncover.

We are not perfect, so you may see me or my kids eating something unhealthy at times. We’re only human and my goal is to eventually get to a point where we no longer desire unwholesome food. But I’m happy we are at a point where these moments are few and far between.

What are you currently feeding your children? Do you believe these foods are helping your children thrive or setting them up to tumble?

Recommended Reading: Crazy, Sexy, Diet

Cancer is one of those things that has become so common, yet when someone we know is diagnosed with it, we are still in disbelief. Ask anyone you know whether cancer has affected their lives in some way, shape or form and it will be hard to find someone who says no. It is a disease that has taken too many lives, and it is one of the reasons why I truly believe the best way to combat it, and other life threatening and chronic illnesses, is through prevention.

In her book Crazy, Sexy, Diet, author Kris Carr provides an array of prevention tips and educates the reader on why and how she should start taking control of her health. Carr was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in 2003. Fortunately for her the cancer was slow growing, which meant she had time. Instead of living in fear of her disease, Carr empowered herself by learning how the body works and discovering what she could do to get her body to to thrive despite the disease. It has been over a decade since her diagnosis and although Carr has not beaten cancer, it has not grown. She has learned to live with it and maintain a  healthy life using the tools and tips she provides in Crazy, Sexy, Diet.

Format I Read: Hardcover

The Good

Crazy, Sexy, Diet covers a wide range of topics. From those you would expect to see like the benefits of plant-based nutrition, to less common topics like discovering the pH level of your body. Carr draws on her own experiences as a cancer-survivor and includes knowledge from a variety of experts. The book also includes the steps of Carr’s 21-day cleanse and recipes.

The abundance of knowledge in this one book is incredible. I read the book when I had just started my wellness journey and I was mind blown. Crazy, Sexy, Diet taught me that almost everything that I thought I knew growing up about food and taking care of my body were all lies. The book takes a holistic approach to health and wellness and provides the tools needed to live optimally. You also can’t help but be inspired by Carr’s personal story.

The Not So Good

Kris Carr is an energetic, young woman with a bubbly personality and her writing reflects that. If you’re more into simply learning the facts without all of the fun and decorative descriptions that can pad a book, then this one may not be for you. I enjoyed most of the extra quirks in the book but also found myself asking at times whether some of it was really necessary.

Crazy, Sexy, Diet is really not a diet in the way most people would think of it. Diet is simply used to define how one actually eats. Therefore someone could have a diet consisting of hamburgers and hotdogs. Society has toiled with the word diet so much that the majority of people now associate it with a weight loss plan. If that is your interpretation of diet just know that it does not apply here. If I had to rename the book I would have titled this Crazy, Sexy, Lifestyle 🙂

Conclusion

If you are ready to supercharge your health and wellness journey this is a great read to help you do that. If you have been diagnosed with cancer or any other chronic diseases, Crazy, Sexy, Diet is a great companion to any treatment you may be undergoing. Carr also has a book called Crazy, Sexy, Cancer Survivor, which I have not yet read.

Society as a whole would benefit from learning more about our bodies and the root causes of the diseases we are facing today. We don’t have to suffer through these illnesses because there are so many ways we can prevent them from occurring in the first place. Kris Carr helps to bundle that information in this fun and easy to read book. There are so many different topics in the book that no matter who you are you will learn something new after reading this.

Everybody Poops – My Colon Hydrotherapy Experience

Do you remember that scene from The Nutty Professor where the mom talks about how she is considering getting her colon cleansed and then the dad makes a huge joke about it? Don’t ask me why but it is one of the few things I remember from that movie.  

Earlier this week I discussed detoxing and cleansing through food and nutrition. Today I’m going to take it a step further and talk about how you can make the most of a detox by, you guessed it, getting your colon cleansed!

Colonics

In Natalia Rose’s book Detox 4 Women she discusses how a detox awakens the toxins inside of you. She further describes how some of the toxins will be dispelled through things like sweat, dry brushing and your bowel movements. She states however that without a colonic (the official term for a colon cleanse) not all of the toxins will leave the body. If toxins are awaken but do not leave the body they will resettle in other parts of the body which may leave you worse off than having never started the detox.

I don’t completely agree with this last part because I think everyone benefits from eating better, whether you have a colonic or not. However, after having read about the health benefits of colon hydrotherapy (another official term for a colon cleanse/colonic) from numerous sources I was extremely interested in finding out more.

Everybody poops but most of us don’t like to talk about it, maybe for good reason. What I’ve learned though is that your poop can tell you a lot about your overall health. Frequent constipation, diarrhea, irregular bowel movements and more can all be a sign that things aren’t right within.

Healing Within

When I was ready to book my colon hydrotherapy session I was surprised at the number of practices that offer the service. I actually thought it would be hard to find a therapist, but my guess is that as long as you live in a metropolitan area you shouldn’t have trouble finding one.

Because the procedure is so intimate I wanted to make sure I found a therapist that I was comfortable with. After responding to my email, and introducing ourselves over the phone, I met with Kristen Burich owner of and therapist at Healing Within in Shoreview, Minnesota.

I asked Kristin all the questions I had about the colonic process. She also gave me a tour of the room and explained all of the equipment that is used. After our meeting I felt much more  comfortable with her and the whole idea and booked my session for about two weeks later.

My Experience

Although I had met with Kristin, asked all of the questions I had and toured the facilities, on the day of my colonic session I was still nervous. I was just coming off of my imperfect cleanse and (sorry if this is TMI) I had also been feeling a bit backed up. Despite my nervousness, I was ready to see how this procedure could help me.

Like most procedures, I thought I was just going to go in. get it done and come back out. The process at Healing Within involves so much more than just the actual procedure. Kristin started me out on the sole’t table/chi machine, which is a long sound table you lay on. The lights are dimmed and the table gently shakes you while you lay under infrared light pieces called hothouses and listen to music. The chi machine is used to wake up your body and get your circulation going. I had an early morning session so this felt great.

After sitting on the chi machine for about 15-20 minutes the moment of truth arrived. Kristin examined me, did some gentle massages and then we went to work. Throughout the entire process Kristin would continue the light massages and also performed some of her energy work on me. Despite what you might imagine, the entire process was very comfortable.

I’ll spare you on the details of what I witnessed but all I have to say is that if you have ever considered getting a colonic it’s worth experiencing at least once. I along with three other family members saw Kristin that day and most of us were surprised at the amount of waste we were able to remove through colon hydrotherapy. You can also learn a lot about whether your digestive system is working properly.

Final Thoughts

After my session was complete I felt lighter but not too much different. It wasn’t until a couple of days later that I really felt like my system was completely flushed out and working optimally again.  One question that immediately popped into my head was, what would have happened to all of that stuff if I had never gotten my colon cleansed? I’m sure some of it would have eventually found its way out, but there’s no way that all of it could have left my body, so would it have just continued sitting there forever? This is something I’m glad I no longer have to think about.

One analogy Kristin used when explaining the reasoning behind a colonic is to imagine your colon as a pan where food passes. The more food you eat, especially those that are processed, fried and anything that has no nutritional value, the more the food ends up sticking to the pan instead of being washed away with your normal bowels. This buildup can eventually cause a number of health issues. Colon hydrotherapy assists in the removal of this buildup by using water pressure to help the body easily rid itself of this waste.

One tip I would give anyone considering a colonic is to get it done during or immediately after a detox. The family members that were on the detox with me all had great experiences. Unfortunately, however one member did not see much waste removed. This person did not complete the detox and therefore as Natalia Rose states the toxins may not have been awoken. The reasoning could have been something different, but to increase your chances of getting the most out of your colonic definitely detox.

Are you curious about colon hydrotherapy or would you ever consider getting it done? Why or Why not? Feel free to email me at suzanne@themeticulousmama.com if you have any questions that you would rather ask privately and I’d be happy to answer them directly.

Sitting on the chi machine
My cousin getting a massage before her session
Where the magic happens -_-

 

Why Detox?

Everyday we expose our bodies to a number of toxins. These can range from environmental toxins like pesticides and air pollutants, to toxins found in food such as preservatives and sugar. Small exposure to these contaminants may not have much effect on the body. However, when these small exposures build up over a number of years or are ingested in quantities higher than the suggested amount, such as the overconsumption of sugar, we begin to see our bodies react through disease and ailments.

Exposure to toxins is unavoidable. Unless you are a hermit, just stepping outside will expose you to toxins. Limiting the amount of pollutants you are exposed to will keep you healthier but what do you do about the toxins that are already sitting in your body?

Detox and Cleanse

When you embark on a detox or a cleanse you are helping your body eliminate toxins. In addition to this you are providing your body with the nutrients it needs to continue working efficiently.

Whether you detox for 7 days, three weeks or a month, cleansing your body by getting rid of waste at a high level and supercharging your nutritional intake will do wonders for your body. A detox is also a great way to jumpstart a healthy lifestyle.

Just like diets there are a number of detoxes out there and it can seem like everyone is just trying to make money off of this trend. However, a detox doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. It doesn’t have to cost you anything more than what you would typically spend on groceries.

My Detox Experiences

For anyone curious about detoxing or wanting to begin their health journey I would highly recommend a sugar detox. This is the detox that led me on this journey and I know that my life would be different if I had never embarked on it.

For this detox I followed the guidelines for a 21-day sugar detox which I found on Pinterest. In addition I also read I Quit Sugar by Sarah Wilson. I did not purchase an actual detox program. My sugar detox involved eating whole food, staying away from processed food and limiting my fruit and carb intake. We all know that sugar has no nutritional value and that most of us consume way too much of it, but most of us don’t know where to start in limiting or eliminating our sugar intake.  The sugar detox helped me get on the path to eating healthier, reset my taste buds for sweets and changed my life.

Earlier this year I tried Natalia Rose’s Detox 4 Women. I wanted to challenge myself, supercharge my nutritional intake and my cousin had asked me to do this detox with her when I was ready. I found this program to be extremely difficult. It consists of having fresh juice for breakfast, a large salad for lunch and a salad and specific cooked food for dinner. I admit that I couldn’t stick to this for 30-days. I wasn’t a huge fan of this detox, but it could have been because I didn’t have much variety with my salads and therefore felt like I was eating the same thing over and over again.

Despite my experience with Detox 4 Women, I gained a lot from it. I learned that I need to incorporate more raw food into my diet and I acquired a true appreciation for salads. Today I can’t go a few days without a craving for salad, which is something that I thought I would never say.

Is a Detox Right For You?

Whether or not you choose to go on a detox or cleanse, if you have not been eating healthy, especially if you regularly consume processed foods, know that the toxins from these foods could be building up in your body and may be the cause of any ailments you might have. A detox may relieve your body of these toxins and be the boost you need to begin your own health journey.

The most important thing with nutrition and a detox or cleanse is to listen to your body. The first week of any drastic change is always the hardest. If you need to make adjustments in order to stick with a program or a new way of life, do it. At the end of the day as long as you are staying healthy and doing what you believe is the best for your body, that is all that matters.

Recommended Reading: The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like The World’s Healthiest People

Have you wondered what it would be like to live to see your 100th birthday? At the rate that most of us are living today this seems almost impossible. However, there are a few areas in the world where large populations are living to 100 and beyond. Dan Buettner, a National Geographic Fellow, New York Best Times Selling Author and Native Minnesotan (hayyy!) has done extensive research on these areas of the world and have labeled them “Blue Zones”.

I actually thought I was listening to Buettner’s original book about the Blue Zones, however I soon realized that I was listening to a later work. It may make sense to read The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons For Living Longer first, which I have not yet done, however it isn’t necessary. The Blue Zones Solution describes how centenarians living in the Blue Zones have been able to achieve the gift of longevity. The book goes a step further and provides practical tips the average person could use to live healthier and to create his or her own Blue Zone community, wherever they may be located in the world.

Format I Read: Audio book

The Good

Longevity is part of the reason why I eat and live the way I do. I want to be as healthy as possible in order to take care of and be there for my children and one day for their children. If you have similar desires, The Blue Zones Solution will provide you with multiple stories of real centenarians that will inspire you to make the lifestyle changes needed to prolong your life. Of course nothing is guaranteed, but most of us know that our current ways of living are not aligned with longevity, so why not set yourself up for the greatest chances?

In addition to the personal stories, one of the highlights of the book is a Blue Zones experiment that Buettner and his team conducted. In his research Buettner found certain aspects that existed in every Blue Zone. With this knowledge he and his team went on a quest to discover whether it would be possible to create a Blue Zone from scratch. The experiment worked and the results will amaze you.

As part of the experiment, something that I found really encouraging, especially because I’m a parent, was the creation of a walking school bus. Instead of letting the kids ride the bus to school or get dropped off by car, the parents in this experimental town of Albert Lea, Minnesota formed a walking school bus. This consisted of groups of parents coming together and walking with their children to school. It is healthy community building activities like these and many others in this book that will encourage you to be creative with your health. The book proves that being healthy can be fun and incorporated into every aspect of your life.

The Not So Good

I don’t have very many criticisms of The Blue Zones Solution. My only caution, as with all lifestyle changes, is that if you don’t have some type of support it may make it harder for you to sustain long term changes. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, just harder.

The changes in Albert Lea happened after the community came together and made commitments to themselves and one another to be positive influencers among each other and to offer support. Local restaurants changed the way they operated and what they offered, neighbors went on walks together and even the mayor was involved with the whole process. This may make it seem like it literally requires a whole village in order for you to make some changes in your own life but don’t let it despair you. You truly only need yourself. However, try and reel in at least one person to come on your journey with you such a spouse or family member. Your chances of succeeding will definitely go up.

Conclusion
The Blue Zones Solution does a wonderful job at addressing the environmental aspects that should be considered in a lifestyle change. The centenarian stories are truly inspiring and gives me hope that I too can live into old age free of disease and full of life. If we can build communities where we are automatically steered towards making healthier choices our chances of living in our own Blue Zones greatly increase. As many of the centenarians in the book stated, they never aspired to or put much thought into living to 100 and beyond – it just happened. My hope is that through the decisions that each one of us make and the changes that we demand of our communities we too can experience longevity without having to put much thought into it.

Five Nutrition Tips To Jumpstart Your Health

Whole-food plant-based, paleo, keto, vegan, vegetarian, ovo-lacto vegetarian, low-carb high-fat, high-carb low-fat – with so many different diets out there today claiming to be the best and healthiest for the human body and many contradicting one another it’s easy to see why it can be hard for most people to start eating better. Given the differing of opinions and the marketing of meal plans and programs it’s easy to see why some simply ignore the health crazes and go back to eating mindlessly.

My nutrition journey began about two years ago and it has not always been perfect. I went from creating “healthy” dishes that included meat and some vegetables doused with cheese to make them taste better, to being confused about whether I should eat potatoes, to worrying about the glycemic index, to throwing in the towel and going back on the Standard American Diet. After completing my three-week sugar detox, I started learning more about nutrition which led me to a diet that worked for me and my family.

Find What Works For You

What I have learned through my health and wellness journey is that it is just that – a journey. Everyone’s life journey is different and therefore everyone’s nutrition journey will be different. If you are interested in truly nourishing your body you will have to find a way of eating that works for you.There will be times of frustration, times of temptation and times where you question whether it is truly worth it. For me, the clarity and energy I now possess and the example I am setting for my children make it completely beneficial.

So, if your new year’s resolutions or revolutions were to start concentrating on your health and what you eat, but you have fallen off of the wagon, there is no better time to hop back on. It is afterall, National Nutrition Month. Don’t wait until New Year’s Eve to start prioritizing your health again.

Five Tips To Get Started

Although there are multiple ways to eat that will nourish your body and keep it functioning at optimum levels, there are some common themes among most of the different diets available. If you are having trouble finding what works for you, use these five tips as starting points on your journey. Your body will thank you in ways you could never imagine.

  1. Eat More Whole Fruits and Vegetables

This is a no-brainer but one that I find few people do. Fruits are definitely easier to work into the diet since most of us are naturally drawn to sweets. Vegetables however may take a bit more effort. This is one reason why I love juicing vegetables. Creative salads and eating veggies with dips like hummus and guacamole are other ways you can work more greens and produce into your daily regimen.

  1. Eat Less Meat

As of 2017 I have decided to become vegan. Therefore this tip is a given to people like me, however I was once a hard-core carnivore so I can understand the objections to this point. What I have learned however is that digesting meat can be extremely hard on the body. Going meatless a couple of days a week or eating smaller portions of meat can give your body the break it may need to continue working properly for years to come.

  1. Eat Grass-Fed Meat And Wild Fish

If you do eat meat or seafood make sure it is organic, grass-fed and wild. The way that meat and fish are raised and slaughtered through the industrial meat industry and farming of fish are completely unnatural and unethical from my point of view. The nutritional value from consuming these animals is also greatly compromised, which means your health will also likely suffer.

  1. Cut Back On Processed Foods

Convenient, processed foods have become staples for many of us, however they almost always offer no nutritional value. Out of all of the tips offered here, this is one of the top two you should follow if you can’t commit to all five. Food manufacturers are in business to make money, not to look out for you health. Therefore, cut back on or eliminate the products they are putting out there that are adding to the health epidemics we are now facing.

  1. Cut Down On Sugar

I have confessed many times that I had a pretty unhealthy relationship with sugar. Sugar is hard to avoid since it is in almost every processed food available. However, it is not impossible. There are plenty of people who have quit sugar completely. I have not but I have cut down dramatically and my tastebuds and body have never felt better. Also, beware because sugar is sneaky. Even in sweeteners like honey, real maple syrup and agave the effects are identical to straight table sugar. It’s best to limit your intake of sugar in all of its forms.