Begin to Eat Healthier
QUESTION MARK – ASK THE NATURAL CHEF
Chef Mark Reinfeld
Co-author, Vegan World Fusion Cuisine
[Q&A] I want to eat in a healthier way, but am not sure where to begin. Can you offer a few suggestions on how to make the switch?
We come across this question very often and have found that there are three simple steps you can take to get you on your way.
Begin Where You Are
The first step is to look at and accept where you are at with your eating. What is your current food intake? If you wish, keep a food log for a few days to a week. Keep track of everything you eat, including the snacks. This is a powerful practice as you can begin to locate the less than excellent food choices and begin to replace them with more healthful ones. Don’t play the judgment game with yourself. Remember the important thing is to take the first step. If your time or inclination does not allow you to keep a food log, that’s ok. Just take a mental note of where you are at right now. Accept that you are at where you are at and that this is the beginning of your journey towards more healthful living.
Hold an Intention of a Healthier Life
Hold an intention of creating a healthier, more vibrant you and commit to yourself to do what you can to actualize this intention. If you are able to do this, you are 90% of the way there. This is what sets you aside from the others who have given up on trying to improve themselves in this way. Create a vision of yourself of where you would like to be a year from now. What weight would you like to attain? What dress size or cholesterol level? If you feel inspired to write down these intentions, this can be another powerful inspirational tool for you to refer to along the way.
Gently And Lovingly Transition From Where You Are To Where You Would Like To Be
There are many theories surrounding what foods are healthy and what foods are not. Special diets abound, each one proclaiming to be the end all/be all to loose weight, feel great and stay young forever. We would like to suggest that every individual is biophysically unique and what is true for some of us, is not true for others. Your own body and own sense of well being is your best judge.
Rigidly trying to adhere to an externally imposed diet is a formula for disappointment and relapse into old ways of eating. In most instances, we recommend taking baby steps, making changes slowly and gradually. (Of course, in some instances, health conditions necessitate dramatic and instantaneous changes to ones diet and lifestyle.)
If you love eating bacon double cheeseburgers 4 times a week, try leaving out the bacon once a week. If you eat them 4 days a week, try having them 3 days a week for the next month, then 2 days a week the following month. Once a week for the month after that until finally they become only an occasional indulgence. The same holds true for other eating habits we would like to change.
One shouldn’t have a deprived feeling when making these changes. There are countless ways of replacing unhealthy food choices with exciting and delicious alternatives.
In the initial stage try implementing the following:
A few things to gradually phase out:
Greasy and fried foods
High fat and high sodium foods
Refined sugar and flours
Artificial flavors, chemical preservatives and additives
A few things to gradually phase in:
A wide selection of organically grown fruits and vegetables. Experiment to find your favorite
Organic whole grains
Unroasted, unsalted nuts and seeds. (in moderation)
Fresh organic juices and smoothies
Some parting suggestions:
Take a trip to your local health food store to familiarize yourself with the wide variety of healthful food choices.
Remember that moderation is the key.
Read labels to find out what you are eating.
Have fun and savor the journey to a healthier more joyful life.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mark Reinfeld is the founding chef of the Blossoming Lotus Restaurants and a recipient of a 2006 Platinum carrot award given by the Aspen Center of Integral Health to ‘Americas Top Healthy Gourmet Chefs’. He is a recognized authority in the field of healthy cuisine. Mark is the coauthor of Vegan World Fusion Cuisine, winner of 8 national awards.
None of the above is intended as medical advice. Since every individual’s health condition and circumstance are unique, we recommend seeking the services of a qualified health care professional before using any of this information for medical purposes.