It’s that time of year again. Many of us are thinking about New Year’s Resolutions or at least how we can make improvements in the coming year.
Beginning sometime in December, I start having these thoughts: What can I do to be healthier in the coming year? What kinds of foods should I eat? What type of workout routine is best for me? And on and on it goes.
Let’s take a look at how to start the year off right by focusing on foods that we all know are good for our health.
Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet
In our Western culture, we enjoy a wide variety of food and lots of convenience. As a whole, people in our country are extremely busy and don’t have much time for planning and preparing meals.
As a result, we pick up fast food on our way from here or to there and look for shortcuts in making our meals. Although switching to a plant-based diet requires more planning and forethought, it is well worth the effort.
You may wonder what kinds of foods a plant-based diet contains. Michael Pollan said it best.
“If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.”
A plant-based diet is made up of foods that come from plants. Foods from the following categories should fill up our plates. Choose organic foods whenever possible. Either fresh or frozen is fine.
Below is a list of foods that we should avoid altogether if possible or at least limit as much as possible.
In future posts, I will be sharing ideas about how to eat healthy foods and avoid the ones that are not good for us. It’s well worth the effort to establish a healthier lifestyle and start working on disease prevention today.
The Typical American Diet
Think for a minute about what you ate last week. Do you enjoy the typical American diet? If so, you are probably eating your share of fast foods and processed foods and drinking sugary beverages. Most of us grow up with these norms and are bombarded by advertisements to consume these types of foods. It’s part of our culture.
But, if you look around and listen to health professionals, you will quickly realize that we are facing several health crises in our country. According to the CDC, over seventy percent of adults age 20 and up are overweight or obese. Anyone with a body mass index higher than 25 is overweight. Looking at these statistics makes me think it’s time for us to re-examine what we eat and how we take care of our bodies!
Not only does diet affect weight, but it affects our health as well. We may be living longer now, but we are living lives that have fewer productive years. At the end of our lives, we are suffering more health problems and are debilitated to the point that we are not able to take care of ourselves.
We need to reverse this trend and look for ways to be healthy as long as we are alive.
The 21 Day Challenge
Spending the first 21 days of the new year eating an entirely plant-based diet is not original. I first heard of this last year when some friends mentioned going on the Daniel Fast in January to give their digestive systems a rest after eating too much food during the holidays.
I’ve been intrigued by the idea all year, and I even read a few books about clean eating. After reading Michael Gregor’s New York Times best-selling book, How Not to Die, Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease, I’m ready to make some permanent changes to my diet. He gives specific guidelines for foods that are beneficial to our bodies and that help fight diseases that are common in our country.
Choosing to eat foods that boost our health and help with weight management can be called many different names. This idea is gaining popularity in our culture, which is a good thing. We need to get back to the basics of eating whole, healthy food and focusing on disease prevention.
What better way to start the new year, I thought, than with a brand new way of eating! I love the idea of starting with the 21-day clean eating challenge because it’s tangible and the time frame is specific. It’s only 21 days. How hard can this be?
I’ve recruited my husband to take the challenge too. He has had some health problems this year and, like most of us, he needs to lose a few pounds. Eating this way will be a huge change for him as he enjoys the typical American diet.
Just as with exercise, there is no downside to clean eating. Breaking away from the norms of our food culture will be good for us all the way around.
If we want our bodies to take care of us, then we have to care for our bodies.
The new year is a perfect time to start the 21-day challenge to better health!