It's been several weeks since Daddy got the bad news that his American diet dominated by meats, processed grains and beer has been slowly killing him. He's got six months to improve his numbers by switching to a plant-based diet, or face long-term medications. Willing to clean up his diet, he's made great strides toward a healthier lifestyle following these three tips:
1. READ EVERY LABEL
In order to take control of what you are consuming, you have to actually know what you are consuming. This means reading every label (especially the fine print on the back) of every product before purchasing it. Many products touted as "healthy" or "natural" on the front label can actually be disgustingly high in sodium, saturated fats, and processed sugars.
2. EDUCATE YOURSELF
There are fabulous food documentaries out there. Once a month we try to watch one new food film to learn more about how food is made/slaughtered/polluted and how we can make better lifestyle choices to improve our own health and the health of the planet. Great documentaries for health food noobies are Forks Over Knives, Supersize Me, Food, Inc. Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and Vegucated.
The more you learn about the food industry's dirty production and corrupt marketing of delicious-but-terrible-for-you products, the easier it is to avoid them. The more you understand how the human body works and which foods are its best fuels, the easier it is to make healthy food choices.
3. BE WILLING TO BREAK "TRADITION"
Football = beer. Always beer. Right?
Not anymore for this guy. And who said the two had to go together anyway? The beer industry? Football can be just as fun to watch while consuming healthier foods and drinks. It really can be.
Last week, I experimented with our juicer to make a juice that kindasorta tastes like beer. The juice (cauliflower, apple, ginger, lime) had a vague essence of beer flavor, while being packed with nutritious calories instead of empty ones. He won't admit it, but I think he liked it because he sipped the entire pint glass down before halftime.
This tip applies to many bad food associations that our society has embraced as "tradition" like hotdogs and baseball, salty popcorn and movies, or cheap candy and Halloween. Americans have done a great job (to the detriment of 33% of our waistlines) of justifying the consumption of crappy foods in the name of "tradition" when really it was just effective product marketing over the course of a few decades that made us think these associations were set in stone by our ancestors.