The holiday season can be a joyous time when we celebrate with our family and friends. However, with unhealthy foods everywhere, I take bad nutrition seriously because people die from it. I am sick of seeing people injured and dead, especially when they learned about the power of superior nutrition and did not take advantage of it. Food addiction is powerful for sure, but think about if that junk food (white flour, white rice and white sugar are dangerous junk) is worth a cancer diagnosis or open heart surgery. When junk food is eaten, including the traditional, disease-promoting foods served at the holidays, you may get momentary pleasure as it passes the lips, but the results continue on to compromise your health now, and many years in the future. For some reason people do not realize that they aren’t granted a new body after they harm the one they have. We pay a price, usually later in life for our dietary indiscretions. As we get older, the more years one remains overweight and the more times you indulge in cancer-causing foods, the more difficult it becomes to assure protection against a tragic life-threatening cancer when you finally do decide to eat healthfully. Now is the time to throw your cigarettes away, not next year. Now is the time to get off your soft drinks and sugar addiction, not after the holidays.
Since everyone can use great recipes (and I supply many of them) to make delicious desserts and main dishes, I do not see the reason to eat white flour and sugar-filled garbage that creates cancer. Just because the world has gone crazy, and has become addicted to dangerous refined foods and factory farmed junk-food chicken and meats (factory-farmed meats are junk-food too) doesn’t mean you should join the self-destructive insanity.
Remember how eating unhealthful and overeating while celebrating the holidays left you feeling ill and regretful in the past? (And it wasn’t likely that pleasurable either.) I doubt pigging out on junk is that pleasurable compared to cocaine or heroin. Not that I would know that, but I do know that food addiction kills a thousand times more people each year than cocaine addiction. Plus, not having good health magnifies every emotional problem plaguing your life and is a contributory cause of depression. Now is the time to change things. Make the effort, set the example and do not let the holidays derail your commitment. Giving up addictive and harmful habits are tough, but you have to be tough on yourself to succeed. Accept no excuses. It will be well worth it. Do it now. Make the commitment.
Don’t know where to start? Try these simple guidelines taken from my book Eat to Live:
- Eat at least one large salad each day.
- Enjoy generous amounts of cooked green vegetables with mushrooms and onions.
- Satisfy your sweet tooth with at least three fresh fruits each day.
- Eat at least one-half cup of beans each day.
- Remember the acronym GOMBBS. Greens, onions, mushrooms, beans, berries, and seeds. These are the most health-promoting foods.
- Avoid completely these disease-promoting foods: white flour, sugars, artificial sweeteners, oils, and factory farmed animal products. Unhealthy food is designed to be addictive – keep it out of your home.
- Retrain your taste buds to prefer healthy foods. Staying away from sugar and salt is the secret to a heightened sense of taste and enjoyment of natural flavors.
Here are some tips for staying on track:
- Always keep your kitchen stocked with fresh and frozen produce.
- Budget time: plan out when you will shop for groceries, cook, exercise, relax, and spend time with friends and family.
- Plan your meals ahead of time and make a detailed grocery list before you go shopping.
- Cook vegetable bean soups in large batches, and store leftovers in the refrigerator so you can quickly heat some up for lunch or dinner later in the week.
- Stay focused on your health – eating right is self-care. Do not allow the unhealthy influences around you to derail you from your health goals.
- My new 90 percent rule (I just made it up today) does not mean that you can eat 10 percent of anything. It means the 10 percent of animal products or flour products or sweet desserts can still be made from whole grains, natural fruit and dried fruit sweeteners, and more naturally raised and cleaner animal products. In other words, I see no reason for people to continue to consume the worst foods on the planet. Junk food kills and just perpetuates food addictions.
Fast forward to next holiday season: you will make the best choices; the ones that will allow you to achieve overall health and quality of life. You'll be celebrating your health instead of simply indulging in the “traditional” destructive foods. As you eat for optimal health and vitality, you’ll be able to more fully enjoy the special times with family and friends. You will flourish and it will be the most enjoyable holiday season you've ever had. There will be no need to “start over” next January 1st. You will already be committed to your health, and feel pleased with yourself for maintaining your healthy habits over the holidays. So are you going to take my holiday challenge?
The official kick-off begins on Monday, November 21st. Click here to read the official rules and to make my Holiday Challenge Promise.
image credits: flickr by terren in Virginia and EraPhernalia Vintage