So you’ve read some books, maybe browsed a few magazines and googled a few topics and you’re ready to make a lifestyle change. But now WHAT?! How do you start? Where do you begin? Hopefully this will help you out!
One Step At A Time Approach
Not quite ready to jump in with both feet? Not to worry, taking it nice and slow is a great way to gently transition into your new lifestyle. (If you are looking for a more direct approach check it out here.)
Let’s start with what is often the hardest part of healthy diet – beverages. “Hi, my name is Sarah and I am addicted to Diet Coke” That was me before I changed my eating habits. Most of my daily meals consisted of just diet coke! I was pretty much excited about every part of eating healthy, except parting ways with my beloved beverage. For myself, I had to go cold turkey – I knew with even one sip I wouldn’t be able to resist drinking the whole can and the others in the fridge that were calling my name. But if going cold turkey from your favorite beverage won’t work for you then start by eliminating HALF of what you currently drink and replacing it with water (feel free to flavor your water with lemon, lime, orange or cucumbers). Each week you should be eliminating more and more of the beverage until you have completely switched to water. This process tends to go faster than you would believe. Even diet soda starts to taste sickly sweet once you’ve awakened your taste buds to healthy wholesome food. If you can give up your vice sooner rather then later then you are doing great!
Dinner – One of the first things I tell people that are just starting out is to look through some magazines, books and online blogs to find dinner recipes that look yummy and inspire you. Grab a couple of your favorites and try working 1 or 2 into your nightly routine. Not too hard huh? Now add a couple more. Keep adding until each of your nightly meals are healthy, naked eating meal. Some of our favorite dinners are Quinoa Pizza Bake, Mexi-Cali Pasta, Crispy Taco Salad, Cheesy Pizza Donuts, Sweet Potato Quinoa Burgers and Enchiladas with Homemade Sauce.
Once you have dinners mastered it’s time to move on to your other meals. Let’s take a look at breakfast, lunch and snacks!
Breakfast – Start with the basics – cereal (or oatmeal, like Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats) with fruit and non dairy milk (for a list of healthy cereals check out Building a Healthy Pantry). A fruit smoothie, a slice of whole wheat toast with a nut butter spread or even some Banana Pancakes are a tasty way to start the day. For an on the go breakfast try our NO BAKE Blueberry Granola Bars. Keep it simple and quick in the beginning so you don’t get overwhelmed.
Lunch – If you’re a veggie lover then stock up on your favorites! A fresh veggie salad is an excellent lunch choice. Sprinkle with some extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar or try our favorite Creamy Vinaigrette Dressing for the perfect salad topping. If you’re not big on salads then try some of our other lunchtime favorites – Spicy Peanut Pasta, Cheesy Pizza Donuts, Creamy Potato Onion Soup, Crunchy Burger Patties or Gluten and Grain Free Pizza. Something as simple as peanut (or almond) butter and jelly on whole wheat bread works great too. I’ll often make a large batch of Pasta Salad with Vinaigrette Dressing and separate it into single serve containers that I can grab each day for lunch. Leftovers from dinner also make great lunches!
Snacks – Again, stick to the basics at first and then branch out. Grab some of your favorite nuts and seeds – almonds, walnuts, pecans, sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Measure out a single serving of each and toss them in some snack bags for easy grab and go servings. Pair your nuts and seeds with some carrots, broccoli, cauliflower or celery – our California Dip is perfect for dunking your veggies in. Apples, bananas and grapes are easy fruits to have for snacks or try some Crispy Sesame Green Bean Fries, Pizza Baked Chickpeas or Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Chips.
Extras – Often times when people start out on a healthy lifestyle change they stock up on protein powders, supplements and other ‘healthy’ essentials. While protein powder and supplements are perfectly fine it’s best to ease your way into them before shelling out a lot of money for items you might not like or need.
If you’re worry about getting enough vitamins and minerals each day taking a multivitamin can help put your mind at ease. Although it’s best to get your daily requirement through healthy foods (and entirely possible as well), we know that not everyone can eat a varied diet and sometimes a vitamin is necessary. We recommend checking out Deva Multivitamin One A Day. This vitamin is ideal for those on a vegan or vegetarian diet. For those that are on a vegan diet please make sure you are getting adequate amounts of B12 and vitamin D. The daily multivitamin mentioned above will fulfill your daily requirement or you can take separate supplements to get the recommended amount.
For all the other ‘extras’ that you might need check out Building A Healthy Pantry. There you can find recommendations for flour, canned goods, oils, etc that are good to have on hand when preparing healthy meals.
And don’t forget the WATER! When you’re starting out, drinking water will really help to flush your system and keep you hydrated. Herbal teas or sparkling mineral water are also excellent beverage choices. Organic coffee sweetened with a healthy sweetener or Homemade Coffee Creamer is perfectly fine on a limited basis.
Now that you’ve stocked up on good, wholesome healthy food it’s time to figure out how it all works together to help you. Your goal should be 3-4 sensible sized meals daily. Each meal should be based around non starchy vegetables such as lettuce, greens, carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, etc. Include a serving of whole grains or starchy vegetables, a serving of fruit and a serving of legumes, nuts or seeds. You should feel satisfied after each meal, not stuffed. By the time your next meal comes around you should be hungry. If not, decrease your portion size next time.
Naked eating is a lifestyle change and it takes time to get used to this new way of life. The more you eat naked, the easier it becomes. This is why for the first week or so I recommend writing down your daily meals so that you can easily pull out the necessary items at the appropriate times. Take a few minutes the night before and jot down what you will be having for breakfast and lunch. If you are away from the house during these times you will want to pack your meals so that you’ll have everything with you.
If you currently have an exercise program that you follow then you are already a step ahead! Keep up the good work!
If you haven’t yet added in an exercise routine, now is a great time to start. For most people walking is a great way to start incorporating exercise into your daily routine. Invest in a good pair of walking shoes and head outside (or inside if you have access to a treadmill). Start with walking half a mile and gradually increase your pace and distance as you gain muscle and energy. Once you’ve gotten a steady exercise routine worked into your daily lifestyle you can branch out by adding weights, cardio classes and sports activities!
Some people will do a cheat meal once a week or once a month. This is completely up to you. For me personally if I’m craving something that isn’t healthy I try to find a way to make a tasty, healthy version.
YOU CAN DO IT:
Remember that naked eating isn’t a diet – don’t worry if you miss a meal, eat a candy bar or slip up. Put the past behind you and start again – RIGHT AWAY, no need to wait for tomorrow. As you become more comfortable reading labels and making meals you’ll notice how quick meal preparation becomes. You do have to put some time and enegry into getting started, but soon you’ll be so accustomed to your new lifestyle that you’ll wonder how you lived any other way!
As ALWAYS check with your doctor before starting any exercise or nutrition program!
Are there any tips or tricks that you learned along that way that helped you when starting out? Please share them with us and help out others that are just starting on this awesome adventure and lifestyle!