Ten Small Things You Can Do To Improve Your Family’s Health
- Eat more foods raw
One third of your diet should be made up of uncooked, raw foods. Kids love finger foods, so this is an easy one. Cut up fruit and veggies for snacks or add them as a side for lunch or dinner. Mine love cucumbers, carrots and cherry tomatoes. Buy organic fruits and vegetables when possible. Exposure to toxic chemicals can affect children’s immune systems and many pesticides have been proven to cause cancer. If you can’t afford organic, buy certain organic fruits and vegetables, avoiding the dirty dozen, strawberries, peaches, apples and grapes to name a few.
- Give them water, not juice
Most kids and adults don’t get enough water on a daily basis. The ideal ratio is to drink ½ your body weight in ounces of pure water. A 60 pound child needs 30 ounces of water; a 200 pound adult would need 100 ounces of water. Do not include juice, sports drinks, coffee, tea or soda in this count. We are constantly dehydrated, so it’s important to get enough fluids. Water ideally should be filtered and not from the tap.
- Eat good fats, don’t use canola oil, margarine or butter replacement spreads
Vegetable oils have been touted as heart healthy, even the American Heart Association lists them in their recipes. Canola oil when heated turns to a trans-fatty acid and is processed with high heat, chemical extraction leaving remnants of solvents in the oil. Canola can rancidify from the high heat and is then deodorized to make it palatable. Avoid canola, as well as cottonseed and soybean oils. Replace with cold pressed oils such as walnut, sunflower or sesame oils. Use butter or coconut oil when heating to high temperatures; don’t heat olive oil too high.
- Don’t heat or bake with flax
Want the health benefits of flax? Just don’t use it when baking muffins or breads. The omega-3s cannot withstand heating and rancidify causing them to become trans-fats. There are tons of Paleo recipes using flax in breads or muffins. Don’t do it. Instead add them to smoothies or sprinkle over yogurt with fruit.
- Read labels and don’t buy food with partially hydrogenated oils or shortening
Check labels as these are one of the worst fats to consume for heart health and are commonly found in cakes, cookies, chips and crackers. Hydrogenated oils have had their omega 3s converted with the addition of hydrogen changing the chemical makeup so they stay solid and don’t rancidify on the shelf. Shortening such as Crisco and margarine are examples. Use coconut oil or butter in cooking instead.
- Avoid artificial sweeteners
In additional to being chemically generated, aspartame, sucralose and other artificial sweeteners can trick the body. The brain thinks the body is getting something sweet and when it doesn’t, it causes you to eat more. So diet soda isn’t really great for a diet. Same for high fructose corn syrup. Fake sugars should be kept out of your kid's diets. Sucralose and other “sugars” are showing up in juices, yogurts and other items marketed to children.
- Reduce and slowly eliminate sugar and corn syrup consumption
Sugar intake causes blood sugar levels to surge. Too much sugar over time wears out the pancreas and can set people up for diabetes in addition to obesity. Processed foods contain tons of sugar, so be mindful of what’s inside, especially in cereals, yogurts and snack foods. A 20 oz. sports drink can contain 17 teaspoons of sugar. Serve water instead of juice and sports drinks. Eat fruit in moderation and try dried fruit and nuts instead of candy. Sweeten baked goods with dates or other substitutes. Crush fresh fruit and serve on top of yogurt instead of buying yogurt cups with sugar.
- Reduce Carbohydrates
Keep starchy carbohydrates – breads, pastas, rice and grains to less than 15% of your family’s diet. Total carbohydrate intake should be 40%, but made up mostly of non-glycemic vegetables and whole low sugar fruits. Occasional grains are fine but they should be soaked first.
- Eat butter, grass-fed meats and eggs
Grass-fed or pastured products contain Vitamin K2 or Activator X in fat. Dr. Weston A. Price found it was important in mineral absorption and protected from tooth decay, growth development and reproduction and protection from heart disease.* For best results K2 should also be consumed with Vitamins A and D as K2 activates these vitamins. Use pastured or raw cultured butter, grass-fed beef and chicken and wild caught fish. Animals fed corn; do not contain the same benefits.
Eat Salt, It’s Actually Good For You
Salt can help with digestion, contains electrolytes and is important for the adrenal glands and thyroid and helps balance sodium and potassium. You need to eat the right kind of salt, though. Table salt or sodium chloride has been heat processed, destroying nutritional benefits and can contain leftover chemicals and bleaching agents. Pink Himalayan salt and Celtic Sea salt are good choices since they contain minerals such as magnesium, zinc, iron and manganese. They also help control blood pressure and volume.