Here’s one trend that shouldn’t be a trend…
Clean Eating. I say it shouldn’t be a trend because trends come and go. But I believe once you come into the knowledge and practice of eating clean, that should become a life addition that never goes out of style. A desire to take care of my temple and a somewhat spiritual call to become a vegetarian is what drove me toward clean eating. I used to be an avid supporter of the mantra, “I eat whatever I want, when I want, no matter how bad for me, & no one’s gonna stop me!” I figured as a rather healthy, fit, young person, why should I give up tasty, fatty foods? But every year for Lent, I give something up. Even though I’m not catholic, I entertain the idea of sacrifice as a dear ideal that is very good for the growing and rearing of the soul, as well as closer relationship with God. In a quest to be healthier and take care of our temples more, Triiinity & I gave up fast food, together.
I had been for some reason, around this time, started to feel a tug on my heart…and my stomach…to become a vegetarian. I was wildly opposed to the idea, yet it kept popping up all around me. This couldn’t be by coincidence. I shared this with Triiinity, who began growing toward the idea as well, and I succumbed to the inner desire. Or at least future “me” did. I told myself I would become a vegetarian one day. Though I gave myself no finite limit on that. At the time, such a declaration was big enough of a change of heart.
The more I stayed away from fast food, the more healthy changes I noticed in my body. I began to research just how bad fast food is for us. In that process, not only did I find out many terrible facts about fast food, but also about much of the food we buy on the shelves at our grocery stores each day. And how many of those over-processed goods are responsible for deadly conditions, such as diabetes, high-blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, hormone imbalances…and the list goes on. I thought that, out of respect for self and my Creator, I would take better care of my body and try to get others to do the same as well.
We decided that, even after Lent, we would not return to eating fast food. We sustained ourselves by eating only home-cooked meals or food from restaurant-style establishments. Anything that came from a source that appeared too processed had to go. We also stopped over-consumption of candy, potato chips, and things of that nature. On June 1st we gave up meat and decided to become pescetarians. This means we do not eat beef, pork, or chicken, only fish and other seafood. And of course veggies and grains. We have now set a finite date for vegetarianism and plan to become vegetarians on January 1, 2014. We hope to one day become vegans…but that’s a longgg ways off, for now.
Now are by no means the best clean-eating connoisseurs on the block, we are but beginners ourselves. But I’ve noticed, since the start of my journey, that a lot more people in my age group are becoming interested in clean & healthy eating. I want to share a couple facts & tips I’ve learned along the way, to help people stay on the path to their cleanest, healthiest, and best self.
Fact: GMO’s (genetically modified organisms), which are banned in many other countries in the world are now present in 75% to 80% of conventional processed food in the U.S. GMO’s have been linked to numerous health problems, and cause tumors in rats (as well as the vegetables and fruits they are used to manipulate)
Tip: Keep most of your shopping in the fresh food sections of the grocery store. Your basket should look more like this, than this.
Fact: Products that contain GMO’s are not required to be labeled by our FDA.
Tip: Buy organic whenever possible. Things try to use words like “natural” and claims like “no artificial ingredients” but usually unless it says organic, its not. Meaning it has some sort of processed or artificial ingredients present. Buying organic goods is a great help in avoiding GMO’s
Fact: Most animals used for meat are fed GMO grains and corn feed and are pumped full of HGH (human growth hormones). The animals are kept in super harsh conditions, in which sickness and infection is not treated. In occasions where the sickness is treated, it is treated by pumping sick animals full of antibiotics. Many animals dwell in such horrible conditions that their dead lay among them and the sick, dead bodies are eaten by their own kind. The ones that survive to eat the sick/dead animals…are the ones we end up eating.
Tip: My personal solution to this is to just phase out meat entirely. However, if you would like to keep meat in your diet, look for meat that is labeled as treated humanely, hormone-free, cage-free, etc. This way you will keep from eating animals that have been kept in unsanitary conditions or given unhealthy feed.
Fact: Not only does the FDA here in the U.S. not require GMO products to be labeled, which makes them hard to avoid, but also, due to the spike in interest in eating clean, many products claim to be all natural, GMO free, etc., etc., but are not.
Tip: Look for foods verified by the Non-GMO project whenever possible. They are a non-profit organization that looks to verify the standard of foods that claim to be organic or non-gmo. They also have loads of information on their website, so if you’re interested in learning more about GMO’s, that’d be good to check out!
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It can be more expensive to eat healthy sometimes, but not if your strategic with what you buy, you can actually cut costs in many areas. It may take a little more effort to shuck corn yourself or cut carrots instead of buying canned ones. However, you can ensure that they are organic and you will save a little money, too, by not buying things in their more convenient (pre-cut, pre-portioned, preservative laden..) form. And while some practices may be a bit more expensive, spending a little more money to eat healthier is cheaper than the money you’d spend on treatment for cancer or diabetes (or any other ailments that can come from eating unhealthily). So think on that and make the choice to be a little healthier, each day.
Other tips for eating clean are to avoid milk, bleached flours, and refined sugars. These are steps we have started the process toward but are not fully enacted in our diet yet. For now, we are just pescetarians, trying to eat cleaner, and taking things one step at a time. 🙂
***Also, I want to make it clear that being a vegetarian or vegan is not the only way to eat healthy or clean. It is but a choice in the way you desire to go about your journey to healthy and clean eating. ***
I know this process can seem a bit overwhelming at first, but the best way to begin is with research. Just research a little something on the subject each day. Knowledge is power and it is the best place to start as it almost always propels you toward action :). If you are interested in healthy eating and need further guidance on how to get started, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be happy to share the knowledge I’ve gained in my journey thus far.
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♥ XOXO A.T. ♥