We all want to eat healthier, have more energy and a much better quality of life. Some of us want to lose or gain weight as well, but everyone wants to live longer and have great health into their golden years. Since everyone knows it starts with the healthier food you put in your body, we’ve developed a guide to help you do just that.
In the guide below we will address many of the common questions around the subject of shopping for healthier foods that our readers ask. Then, we will cover the actual action of buying the healthier food. So, be sure to read each section, because you might just have many of your own questions answered as well.
Disclaimer: The following is for educational purposes only. We are not advocating a change in dietary, health or exercise protocols. Please seek the advice or council of your nutritionally educated health care practitioner prior to engaging in any dietary or exercise changes.
How Do You Set Health Goals Properly?
Setting health goals properly is the same as setting any set of goals properly. There is a method that when employed can all but guarantee your successful goal setting, here’s what you need to do to maximize it’s potential.
1. Determine what’s important to you.
The way that this is best done is to sit down and make a list of the things that are important to you, what will make you happy and your big why. Well cover each below.
A). The list of things that are important to you may be any of these things, all of them or none of them, you need to decide what’s important to you and move on from there.
Your list could be any of these things or more: You want to look a certain way in the mirror or fit into my clothes better. You would like to feel better and have more energy without having that big slump in the middle of the day.
You’d like to live a longer life full of health and vitality so that you can play with the grandkids at their level and keep up with them.
Maybe you have some health challenges that you’d like to lessen or overcome altogether.
There are many reasons you’d like to eat and be healthier, so personalize your list, really think about it and make it your own. Don’t worry about what you write down, no one has to see it but you anyway.
B). List the things that will make you happy. These are things like, you’ll be happy when you reach a size X or a certain weight.
Maybe you’ll be happy when you’re able to walk or run a certain distance or lift a certain weight without difficulty. Maybe you’d like to be able to cut down on medications you may be taking and do so WITH your doctors’ approval because you’re doing so well.
Many people and this might just include you, would like to anti-age or age more gracefully and so maybe alleviating some of the aches and pains in your body would truly make you happy.
Since the goal of life is to be happy, this is a big thing in proper goal setting. Be sure to daydream and feel the things that would make you happy once you achieve them and write them down, this will really help in the last section called ‘why?’
C). Your big why. There has to be a very good reason why you want to accomplish these goals and be happier with yourself and your health, this is your why.
Why do you want to eat healthier?
Because, if you want to shop for healthier foods, unless you’re a care giver for someone else, this means that you want yourself, your family or both to be healthier.
So, why? Why is that so important to you?
Really get deep into the core of why this is such a burning desire and then write it down.
The reason you need to do the why exercise is that getting healthier is a big challenge fraught with all kinds of problems. You can almost bet that the moment you decide to be healthier things will pop up to test you.
If you decide to lose weight, all of a sudden, your friend invites you to a barbeque or brings over a box of donuts. It just always seems to work that way.
You’re going to need resolve, and to have steadfast resolve you need to know why this is important to you, what joy will you get in the end that’s bigger than the taste of those donuts you crave right now and the big reason why you’re doing this in the first place.
Once you have these in place, you can withstand any bombardment from the outside world wanting to drag you back to where you were but will never go again.
2. Now write out your goals.
Based on the above things that are important to you, will make you happy and define your purpose in giving you a reason why, write out the end results you need to achieve to make these things happen.
Those end results are your goals. Those are the things you need to make happen to be happy with the results.
So, list them in regular fashion such as 1. 2. 3. Etc. You can later prioritize them in order of importance if you like, but the main thing is to get them written down.
Make sure they are succinct, clear and concise, you don’t want sloppy goals. They must be written so that anyone reading them would understand them, not in code. They need to be rock solid.
3. Set a completion date.
Setting a date that you will attain your goals by, is one of the things that make them real. Step number 4 also helps in this but having a drop-dead date of completion sets your target and makes it a real thing.
This is why people set deadlines in business. If you don’t, people will put it off and not get it done.
Trust us, set a date.
4. Sign them in front of someone.
This is the other element that will make your goals a real thing. You sign them in front of someone you respect and that will hold you accountable.
Then, give them a copy or just a reminder sheet.
The copy or the reminder both tell them that the day after your completion date you will meet with them to show them that you have achieved each of your goals.
Just signing them is not enough, you need to schedule that meeting at the signing so that you have a level of accountability.
It’s easy to slack off when no one is going to know. But, when someone you respect knows you slacked off and didn’t do much, it hurts.
Now that we have your goals in order, we next have to determine…
What Does It Mean To Be Healthy?
You should really set your own goal of what you think being healthy means to you. However, at a minimum it means that you have no diseases, no illnesses, and that you are not on any medications.
You may wish to consider setting your goal of optimal health. Optimal health would mean that, for your age you are in the upper 5% to 10% of people in their ability to move, exercise, blood work, Vo2 Max (maximum oxygen uptake), that you have the correct body weight and a low enough body fat percentage.
One of the best and easiest ways to test and judge your fitness is to get a heart rate monitor. Raise your heart rate to of 70% of your maximum and check your heart rate.
Now stop exercising. Wait one minute and check your heart rate again. If you dropped at least 10 bpm then your parasympathetic system (your system of recovery) is working quite well.
You see, one of the best measures of health is how fast your body can recover and start to bring you back down to normal (homeostasis).
This actually assesses your entire parasympathetic system as a whole and lets you know really quickly how much work you have to do.
So, write out as part of one of your goals the level of health you want to achieve. This should be something you decide on for yourself but write it down so that you have that marker to obtain.
Now let’s move into the actual foods themselves. Some of this may be a no brainer for you if you’re already somewhat nutritionally educated. So, read it all as a refresher and some of the points may be new to you too.
Which Foods Are The Healthiest For People?
To start with, stick with fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, if you eat meat then wild caught salmon is likely the best. You can add in chicken, fish, turkey and a little red meat once in a while only if they are organic which we will cover below.
You should be eating whole foods not packaged or processed foods. Processed foods are one of the main reasons you’re reading this, they are the enemy, stay far, far away from them.
You should be consuming what we call the cave man diet, which means; if you can’t pick it off of a tree or a bush, pull it up out of the ground, spear it out of the ocean or chase it down and kill it, then don’t eat it.
Then on top of that is should remain in its most whole natural form possible to keep from being overly processed.
Are Organic Foods Healthier And Safer Than Regular Foods?
The answer to that is an absolute no brainer, YES! Of course, organic is better for you and safer. It’s just common sense. Look at it this way, if it kills a bug, how can it possibly be good for you?
And then, when conventional crops are grown on soil that only has NPK fertilizer put back into it and not decaying plants, and then let the soil rest and uptake those nutrients, then yes, there are less nutrients in the food (NPK = nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium).
We have the studies cited below for your review, but this is just plain common sense. There are over 300 substances including vitamins, minerals etc. Found in an apple. So, if you’re only putting 3 chemicals into the ground where does the tree get the rest of the nutrition it needs?
It doesn’t, which means it’s also not in your foods. This is not a fluke that only pertains to apples, this is true of all conventionally grown foods.
You can read all the literature on the subject you want, but math is math, you can’t get 300 out of 3. In other words, you can’t get the 300 substances in apples from adding just 3 substances to the earth. It’s just not possible.
How Do I Shop In The Stores To Get The Healthiest Foods?
Here is the secret to staying away from all the junk and easily selecting only the healthiest foods while shopping at your local grocer.
Only shop on the outside isles that are generally on the main interior walls. They put all of the fruits, vegetables, meats and other whole foods along those outside wall areas. The middle isles are almost all processed packaged foods.
There are a few exceptions like maybe you venture down the frozen foods isle to get frozen berries or frozen vegetables to replace the ones you can’t get fresh because they are out of season. But that’s about it. You can also venture down the spice isle, but be careful not to buy spices loaded with chemicals.
For the most part, there isn’t anything of any real food value in those inner isles and there are certainly a whole lot of bad foods stuck in there.
One of the most confusing things for people is that we still call all these packaged goods food. We should rename them. They are not food, they are devoid of nutrients, fiber, phytochemicals and most other nutrition. They have unbelievable amounts of chemicals added to them. They are not food, and you should no longer view them as such.
Eat like a caveman and you’ll be good to go.