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Joy

10 Simple Ways to Clean Up Your Diet

When I first started to eat healthy, I was so overwhelmed by all of the information out there. Some things would tell you how great one food was, while another article would say to stay away from it. It is easy to get confused by all of the information out there…

I believe that the best way to stick with any change is to start small. There is no way that you can just wake up the next morning and eat and do everything perfect. I’ve come up with 10 simple ways that you can start to clean up your diet and develop lasting habits of a healthy lifestyle. Start with small changes, and don’t get discouraged! Healthy eating, just like anything else, takes practice.

Here are 10 Simple Ways to Clean Up Your Diet:

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the barrage of healthy news articles, tips, and tricks that you see everywhere? Are you starting your journey to becoming healthy? When I first started to eat healthy, I was so overwhelmed by all of the information out there. Some things would tell you how great one food was, while another article would say to stay away from it. It is easy to get confused by all of the information out there.

I believe that the best way to stick with any change is to start small. There is no way that you can just wake up the next morning and eat and do everything perfect. I’ve come up with 10 simple ways that you can start to clean up your diet and develop lasting habits of a healthy lifestyle. I encourage you to try several tips, or even just one to start with. Start with small changes, and don’t get discouraged! Healthy eating, just like anything else, takes practice.

1. Cut the Soda
I can hear the screams as I type this. NOOO! “But it’s diet soda, and I’m addicted, besides it’s not bad right?” Wrong. Unfortunately, there’s just no way around it. Soda is toxic to your body, and diet soda can be even worse. You don’t have to cut it cold turkey, but if you start scaling back, it will help you get rid of the habit in time. Try fizzy healthy substitutes like Kombucha. There’s many different flavors, and it’s one of my favorite drinks!

2. Try More Meatless Meals
While I do not eat any meat except fish, I am not going to say that you should be like that also. I believe that local, organic, humanely raised meat (in the right amounts) is not necessarily all bad. The problem though is that it can be hard to find (or not realistic), especially for a family on a budget. Conventional meats can be pumped full of hormones and do more harm to your body than good. I am a firm believer that you don’t need meat to make a meal delicious. There are so many meatless meals that are nutritious, filling, and budget friendly. Try making 1-3 meatless meals a week.

3. Drink, Drink, Drink.
This is one of the easiest tips. Water is amazing for your body, and your body needs it to function properly. Try to consciously drink more water throughout your day, whether that’s keeping a bottle at your desk, or remembering to drink a glass first thing in the morning. Drinking more water will hydrate your body and make your skin clearer and brighter. Drink up!

4. Start Cutting Sugar
The average American consumes obscene amounts of processed sugar. It’s in things like your bread (yes I’m serious!), your latte you just bought at Starbucks, in that “all natural” juice you’re buying, the list goes on. It is important to read labels so that you know what’s in your food. I prefer to sweeten my own foods when possible, since I believe that maple syrup, honey, and coconut palm sugar are the most healthy sweeteners that you can use. I buy unsweetened almond milk and unsweetened cereal, and use honey on top to add the sweetness that I need. When making smoothies, I use unsweetened almond milk, and use fruit and honey as my sweetener. I also make my own coffee at home to cut down on calories and sugar. Even sweeteners like Stevia are not necessarily healthy.

5. Lighten Up Your Dessert
I don’t know about you, but I almost always need something sweet after dinner. It doesn’t need to be much, but I crave that sweetness. Most ice creams are full of sugar and garbage. The same goes for processed cookies, cakes, etc. It’s even hard to find organic healthier ice cream, as even those can have dangerous additives like carrageenan. An easy way to lighten up your dessert is to make it yourself. This gluten free chocolate peanutbutter mug cake is so good it’s just wrong. It doesn’t taste healthy one bit but it has way less sugar than most desserts! Check out the dessert section of my blog for more recipes, I’ll soon be posting two more of my favorites, fudgy no bake cookies and chocolate peanutbutter protein balls.

6. Try Some Simple Swaps
When you start your journey to eating healthy, it’s best to start small. Start off with a few simple swaps to get you on the right track. Some easy examples are subbing vegan mayo for normal, eating pickles that have no high fructose corn syrup or food dye, buying peanutbutter that the only 2 ingredients are roasted peanuts and salt, and buying almond milk in place of normal milk. There are many healthy foods that can be easily substituted, without losing flavor. A lot of this just goes back to label reading. Start noticing what’s in your food and be more conscious of making some simple swaps to better your health.

7. Try a Green Smoothie
Are you afraid of green smoothies? I know I was. I was sure that something with spinach in it would taste bad. Man was I wrong! Try sneaking some spinach into your smoothie. Try a simple combo like frozen bananas, another frozen fruit, 1-2 cups of spinach, and almond milk. You won’t even taste the spinach and it will give you a great boost of nutrients and energy!

8. Eat More Raw
Eating more raw fruits and veggies is one of the best things that you can do for your body. It will make your skin clearer and brighter, and make you more energetic. Try sneaking some more fresh produce into your diet. An apple with peanutbutter, veggies with hummus, and smoothies are some easy ways to get more raw in your life!

9. Cook Dinner In
Cooking dinner in is a great way to learn about eating healthy. Try some new veggie centric recipes for dinner. I love cooking in the kitchen and creating a dish with my family. It’s great bonding time and you get satisfaction from cooking a healthy and nutritious meal all by yourself! Focus on eating more in and less eating out. Expand your horizons and try some new healthy recipes!

10. Go Organic
Going all organic is difficult, but it’s easy to start making some small changes. Milk, produce, meat, and eggs are some of the most important things to buy organic. Milk can be full of hormones. Try buying organic milk or almond milk instead. Produce is one of those tricky things. It maddens me that non organic produce can be genetically modified and sprayed with pesticides. You don’t want that junk in your body! Try buying your produce organic, if possible. Or check out the Dirty Dozen list that lists the 12 foods that should be always bought organic. Eggs can be bought cage free or organic for not much more expensive. Meat may be more expensive to buy organic, but it’s worth it if you’re going to be eating it.

Hope this list helped you! I know that starting to change what you’ve been eating your whole life can be scary. But don’t give up, it’s so worth it to feel amazing and free your body from the toxins in your food. Try implementing several of these tips into your daily life. Check back on my blog for more health tips, recipes and fitness inspiration!

*This post was originally published on www.blueridgebabe.com. For more from Joy, be sure to visit her site here.

I'm Joy, creator of www.blueridgebabe.com, where I share tons of healthy recipes (mostly vegetarian and vegan), running tips, race recaps, and my life. I love to create and photograph new healthy recipes, and prove that eating for health can be delicious! I've struggled with self esteem for my entire life, and I am learning to love myself, including my fla…

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