Is it possible to eat healthy these days?

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(What motivates me to prioritize my health, and how do I make it work. Part 2)

Is it possible to eat healthy these days?  I believe it is, and it’s not as difficult as one might think to live a healthier lifestyle.  Sure, it takes some thought and effort, but I sum it up to doing the best we can with what we have, in the area in which we live.   

When I consider my diet today, it looks nothing like it did 20 years ago; thank goodness, as my staple food was, admittedly, potatoe chips!  Change doesn’t happen overnight; it’s a work in progress, and as I learn more about food and my environment, I constantly tweak my choices.  I also adapt to my surroundings and make adjustments according to what’s available.  When I moved to from Nova Scotia to Qatar, I quickly realized that I had to think outside the box, try new brands, read labels and ask the local folk about the produce that was available to me.  With my interest in cooking, it was exciting to try fruits and vegetables I’d never heard of, experiment with spices that I had only read about, and taste dishes of which the ingredients had to be identified by the chef.  Being a frugal shopper, I was happy to sample local products, which were a fraction of the cost of the imported and well known varieties. 

I think, as a whole, we have become wiser to the relationship food and the environment has on our health and wellbeing.  We are making smarter and more informed decisions before filling our grocery carts.  With the Internet at our fingertips, we have the opportunity to learn about food; it’s benefits, how it’s grown, and the process it goes through before reaching our tables.  Equally, the contradictive information out there can be mind boggling and it can leave us not knowing what to believe.  It's up to us to dig a little deeper to find factual information so that we can make informed decisions about what we put into our bodies.

So, how to get started?  We are all different and what works for one person, doesn’t necessarily work for another.  Our eating habits stem from childhood and we have emotional attachments to food, cultural traditions, as well as family and social influences.  The first thing we need is the desire to change.  If we truly want to start living a healthier life style we will.  I honestly think it’s that simple and with that frame of mind we will start moving toward our goals.  We’ll become more inquisitive and selective of our food choices, and, as we learn more about the how food fuels our bodies, we will desire fresh produce over denatured food.  When, one morning, we wake up and realise that we feel better, have more energy, as well as a more positive outlook, we will be motivated to continually improve upon our current choices.  

Lack of energy, aches and pains, digestive complaints, illness and disease, are telling signs that the body is not in balance.  It's up to us to pay attention to the warnings that the body is unsatisfied with our lifestyle choices.  I think, deep down, most of us beleive that natural, whole food is what the body requires for optimal performance.  As John Robbins, author of Healthy at 100, writes “We all have the tools to live longer lives, and to remain active, productive, and resourceful until the very end.”

This is Janice, inspiring change

P.S. Summer is over and September is all about fresh starts, new schedules and routines.  Click here for your free Developing Healthy Habits guide and start living your healthier lifestyle today!

 

 

Does heredity dictate our future?


Does heredity dictate our future?  (What motivates me to prioritize my health, and how do I make it work. Part 1)

Any one who knew us could say that my mother and I were attached at the hip.  In the last few years of my father’s life, when distance separated us, we spoke on the phone most every day.  Sadly, I lost both of these wonderful people to cancer at ages 57 and 66.  Much too young, I think!  

When we look at our family history, most of us can list several ailments that have plagued our loved ones.  Does heredity dictate our future?  I don’t think it does.  At least, I hope not!  Surely, heredity plays somewhat of a role, but as many functional medicine specialists are currently proving, my predisposition is not necessarily my destiny.

More often than not, we are raised eating the same as the people in our household.  Likewise, our tribe, if you will, guides our diet and lifestyle choices, and in turn, we tend to develop similar habits.  Doesn’t it makes sense then, that we walk into comparable health issues?  For example, research has proven that children of obese parents have an 80% chance of becoming obese themselves.  This is a sad and staggering statistic!  Some will still argue that it's inherited, but it appears to be largely due to food choices, eating habits, and the importance placed on physical activity.  A study by the U.S. CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) states that "Genetic factors likely play some role in high blood pressure, heart disease, and other related conditions. However, it is also likely that people with a family history of heart disease share common environments...the risk can increase even more when heredity combines with unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as smoking cigarettes and eating an unhealthy diet."  More and more, health organisations such as The Canadian Diabetes Association and the Mayo Clinic are reporting similar findings; that healthy living plays a major role in disease prevention.

I think it's well worth taking a look at food and lifestyle choices of our tribe before deciding that we are doomed for the same fate.  Of greater interest to me as a nutritional consultant, is to study the lifestyle choices of people who have managed to avert the ailments of their relatives.

My health struggles started from a very young age, and it was only by making changes as an adult, that I began to understand that food played a direct role in my health.  That was my “aha” moment!  That was the moment when I began to connect the dots and realize that I do have some control over my destiny!

Just to be clear, I am in no way saying that I'm exempt from illness and disease, for, as we all know, there are no guarantees in life.  I do, however, believe that I can reduce my odds by making better choices and by living a healthier lifestyle.  My diet is nowhere near perfect, but it's 110% better than it's ever been.  I have tons of energy to do the things I love to do, so, at the very least, I can feel great while trying to stave off disease.

It saddens me to hear people say that there is nothing they can do about their health, that it’s hereditary.  As the saying goes “one reason people resist change is because they focus on what they have to give up, instead of what they have to gain.”  I have a lot to gain!!

This is Janice, inspiring change