Put 1-2 tbsp of Cacao into your coffee or smoothies. This charming change was a life saver for me. I admit, I have a bit of a sugar addiction (did you know sugar addiction can be harder to quit than both smoking and heroin?). I’ve been trying to work on this. Cacao has been really helpful in that front, and it doesn’t even have any sugar!
It help’s with balancing your hormones as well as your happy chemicals (serotonin). It helps with depression and anxiety and reduces the stress hormone from your system. This is good because stress can create a lot of negative side affects in both your health and your mental wellbeing. It can help to prevent cancers and other diseases (such as diabetes). Cacao improves hearth health, helps muscles recovery, improves blood pressure, and has a lot of magnesium, which the American diet is severely lacking. Almost everyone has a deficit in Magnesium (see point 2). I also read a few years back that the oldest women alive ingested 1-2 tbsp of cacao a day (i’m not sure if she is still alive anymore).
Introduce Magnesium to your life (I mean I can almost guarantee you are deficit). If you haven’t read the Magnesium Miracle by Carolyn Dean then stop reading this blog right now and check it out. It’s a worthy investment.
According to the book, a LOT of sickness or ailments can be cured simply by checking out your Magnesium levels and increasing them. Low Mg levels can cause diabetes, headaches, poor absorption, celiac disease, chronic diarrhea, and many many more concerns. Good thing Cacao has so much of it! It’s hard to get enough in the American diet today due to the soil and pesticides used when growing crops.
Definitely increase the amount of Mg in your diet, but you can also take magnesium soaks and enjoy a pleasant bath, take some supplements, etc. (p.s. according to this book and some other forms of research i’ve read, Americans actually have an extreme surplus of calcium. Magnesium helps to balance it and without that balance we can get really sick. It is recommended to avoid calcium for an hour or so before and after you ingest anything with magnesium to help with absorption. (of course consult your doctor about all of your vitamin levels).
3. Identifying problem areas and plan
For me it was finding a good routine. I really struggle with cooking after a long days work. My job was absolutely draining. Meal preping on Sundays has been so helpful. Another way is to plan a head. If you have everything you need ready to go and it is quick and easy then you are more likely to use the healthy foods you get. Identify what your struggle is, whether it’s time, money, whatever and make a plan for it.
4. Don’t eliminate, add.
You don’t have to stop eating wonderfully greasy pizza. Instead you could have a side salad before you allow yourself to have the first slice. You don’t have to stop anything you love. Increasing healthy habits will help you to have those guilty pleasures in smaller quantities and give you the befits of a healthier lifestyle. Setting yourself up for failure by saying “I’m gonna eat salads only for the next month” may be a set up.
5. Prepare veggies after shopping
Try to limit veggie waste – try chopping up your veggies right after getting back from the store. You can keep them in the fridge or (depending on the veggie, freeze them) until ready to use. Meal prep does not have to include hours of cooking foods for the week. It could be as simple as chopping up the onions and peppers when you get home (google to see if the veggie you are preparing will be able to handle a few days chopped up in the fridge). Doing this can make you more likely to cook. It can also make your veggies last longer if you do a bit of research first. I know putting some paper towels in a bag of spinach makes it last twice as long for me.
6. Keep refrigerator organized
I admit, i’m not perfect at this. I still find myself throwing things in and making a mess (or if I ask my husband to put the groceries away I know i’m in for a disaster). But I do try to clear it out and organize it as much as possible. A clean fridge is not a forgetful fridge. You’ll be less likely to forget that you had strawberries sitting behind left overs and underneath a box of pizza.
7. Alternative milk
If you have not ready Skinny Bitch I urge you to do so. If you’re not a big reader there are TONS of documentaries about milk, how horrible the animals are treated, how bad it actually is for our health, and how dirty milk actually is. We’re basically drinking cow puss and antibiotics. I’m not trying to change anyones minds, just spread some education. Check it out and see what you think.
10. Hot lemon water
It might sound weird, but hot lemon water is actually pretty good. A nice warm drink in the morning is both comforting and nutritious. I actually had a Japanese teacher in undergrad who thought it was so bizarre when she moved to America that hot water was not a thing here.
But it should be! Hot lemon water is good for digestion, immune system functioning weight loss, healthy brains and more. It’s a great way to start off the morning and getting your digestive track going.
11. Identify Alternatives
Find healthy options for the things you love. Caramel is something that a lot of people love on ice cream or in an ice coffee. But did you know that you can make a DIY “caramel” sauce using dates? It tastes so good and it is good for you. Find alternatives to things that you love.
13. Pre-portion snacks
I don’t do this often enough, but it is totally worth it. Portion out chips so you don’t find yourself eating the whole bag in one sitting. Make some home made trail mix or buy some and spit it into portion sizes. You always have a snack ready on the go. This is also great for those days when you wake up late and need to get lunch together in a hurry.
14. re-create your favorite meal/drink/snack at home.
I love the S’Mores Frappuccino. Check out my recipe for a DIY version here. It’s not exactly “healthy”, but it sure has a lot less calories or sugars than the stuff at the store has. I’m actually hoping to recreate the recipe with some cacao and healthier alternatives too so keep your eyes open for that.
15. Find someone to be your accountability buddy.
Social media, friends, co-workers, your neighbor. It’s not too hard to get connected these days (even for those with social anxiety). The internet makes this easy and obtainable.