Changing your average eating habits to a nutrient-dense diet can be very challenging. Between having a family, career, school, life in general, it gets busy. You want to eat healthy and you know how diet impacts your health. But at times it’s too easy to ignore your good intentions. Unfortunately, it’s too easy to stop somewhere for a quick bite to eat when you’re hungry and then you feel guilty. Instead, learn some easy steps you can start today and start eating healthier.
When it comes to stopping the progression of autoimmune diseases it’s hard to decide which diet is best. There are so many out there, Swank, Paleo, AIP, GAPS, the Wahls Protocol, and many more. I’ve personally been on every one of these diets and I can tell you from experience, not one diet was perfect.
Sure, you read stories how someone was “healed” from one diet but it doesn’t work for everyone. We are all different, our metabolism and genetics play a big role in how our body is going to heal. Some people do good on a low carbohydrate diet while others struggle on a low carbohydrate diet. But they all have something in common… removing inflammatory foods.
Eat real foods not inflammatory processed foods to achieve your best health. Keep these strategies in mind on, your next meal:
- Eat mostly vegetables including dark leafy greens, colored, and sulfur
- Avoid processed foods
- Eat wild-caught fish, grass-fed meats, and pasture-raised poultry
- Eat organic as much as possible to avoid pesticides, growth hormones, and antibiotics
- Remove any foods that cause you some kind of bad reaction (food sensitivities)
What is nutrient-dense food?
Nutrient-dense foods aren’t highly processed with artificial ingredients. They include nutrients that are as close to natural as possible. Have you ever found a fast-food french fry on the floor of your car from months earlier? It looks like the day you bought it – that’s not natural. It should be moldy and unrecognizable, that’s natural food.
Most times, processed foods lose their valuable nutrients. Manufacturers want their products to last longer sitting on the grocery stores shelf. So they’re full of artificial ingredients and preservatives. Nutrient-dense food means that it’s not been highly processed by the farmer to your plate. It consists of vegetables, fruits, seafood’s, meats, nuts, and seeds. Including natural sweeteners and dark chocolate, just eat them in moderation.
To stop the progression of an autoimmune disease you need to eat a nutrient-dense diet. Avoiding all inflammatory foods will help speed up the process of healing. Listen to your body and choose what works best for you, it may be a combination of diets.
3 Steps to Eating Healthier
It’s tough when you’re first changing from the standard diet to eating real unprocessed foods. Don’t look at this as a diet, it’s a lifestyle change for the better. Ignore what it says on the front of the package like “natural” or “0 Trans-fat.” Manufacturers are trying to grab your attention. You need to learn to read the nutritional labels and avoid anything that isn’t natural or you don’t recognize.
To make it easy always plan your meals ahead. Keep healthy snacks available at all times at home or work. Especially if you’re leaving the house for any amount of time. Make extras and freeze it for nights you don’t feel like cooking. Before long you’ll be an expert.
Step 1: Plan and Prep Your Meals Ahead
Even though boxed meals are convenient, you’ll notice how much better food tastes when it’s homemade. If you need help knowing which foods to eat grab the The Ultimate Guide to Surviving & Thriving with MS guide. It’s for any autoimmune disease and it’s Free.
To get started look for recipes that have five or fewer ingredients. If you’re suffering from chronic fatigue or weakness, standing at the kitchen counter for a long time is the last thing you want. Gather recipes from cookbooks, online, or use a few from this site. 😊
There are literally thousands of recipes to choose from. Look for Paleo or anti-inflammatory recipes, then adjust them to fit your needs. If you’re sensitive to eggs use alternatives. Rotate your meals so you get the most nutrients and to keep from getting bored. Eating delicious nutrient-dense foods doesn’t have to be time consuming or complicated. Don’t worry about making perfect meals, it’s the nutrients your after not the looks.
Step 2: Shopping for Real Food
As you’re cleaning out your pantry it’s time to replace it with real, unprocessed foods. It’s nice to stock up but it’s also unnecessary to buy everything all at once. You may discover you don’t need a huge bag of arrowroot flour, instead check the bulk section and buy only what you need.
You’ll notice you’ll rarely use the inside aisles of the store. That’s where stores keep most of the processed foods. The outside perimeter is where you’ll find the real food. Which is nice because you can get through the store quicker. Unless you’re at stores like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s.
Always go to the store with a grocery list for the items you’ll need for the week. Because you’re buying fresh produce you may need to go to the store more often. Buying dark leafy greens usually don’t last more than a week so don’t stock up.
Stock up on items like coconut oil. Stores put them on sale every 4-6 week’s so buy enough to last until the next sale. Pick up some items for snacks, you don’t want to go hungry or you’re tempted to eat a quick processed snack. Avoid snacks that are high in sugar, if you’re hungry you’ll eat too much at once which will spike your blood sugar.
- Almond butter
- Cucumber slices
- Dark chocolate
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Nuts, raw
- SeaSnax Seaweed
- Wild Albacore Tuna, canned
Check out your local farmers market. I’ve noticed more farmers are selling organic produce at reasonable prices. Plus, it’s locally grown so it’s fresher and you’re supporting your neighborhood farmers.
Step 3: Dining Out:
Dining at a restaurant does become a little more tricky but that doesn’t mean you still can’t go out and enjoy yourself. Avoid all fast food restaurants, they use processed foods and unhealthy processed oils.
Many restaurants have special menus so just ask. Our son is a type 1 diabetic so we always ask for a menu that includes the number of carbohydrates for each meal. Occasionally they won’t have one but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Look for baked, boiled, roasted, or steamed items on the menu. Avoid anything fried or has a cream based sauce. Most salad dressings use canola oil, instead ask the waiter/waitress if they have olive oil or ask for lemons and squeeze the juice on the salad.
It also helps to go to their website and see if they have their menu posted online. This gives you an advantage as to what you’re going to order. You can even call them in advance and ask questions. It’s funny but since I’ve been making our own delicious meals at home it’s hard to find a restaurant we’re impressed with. You may discover this too!
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