Throughout my reign I have talked about my platform #EatBetterLiveBetter, and I have been so inspired from all the #SavvyChoices I have seen across the country. I am often asked why I chose my platform, and more practically, how do I live it out. Today I’m excited to share with you my journery to better health and how I make #savvychoices on a daily basis.
I grew up in a very healthy home and did not think much of it. So when I went away to college, the world of late night pizza, unlimited ice cream, and the freshmen fifteen became a way too real. From this, I became tired all the time, began having migraines, had loss of concentration, gained weight, became depressed, and dealt with added mental and emotional stress. Finally, I got sick and tired of being sick and tired. It took me a while but I finally recognized the connection between what I was eating and how I was feeling.
A quick background and some facts about our food supply today…
In the 70’s a report came out that declared the “fat” in foods was to blame for making Americans’ obese, and a leading cause of cardiovascular disease. In response, the food companies took out the “fat” in processed foods, making everything “low-fat”. However, in order for their food taste to have the same sweet taste, they added sugar. So much sugar to where today 80% of foods on supermarket shelves contain sugar.
Sugar is addictive. Our brains “lights up” on sugar, and processed food is programmed to make us come back for more. I call this FOOD WITH NO BRAKES. (This phrase is from one of my favorite food books, “It Starts With Food”.) This phrase means you can eat more, keep snacking, and never feel “full” because most processed foods do not have the nutrients you need to function, so your body will continue to crave more food. A great example of this: I will admit, I can eat an ENTIRE bag of Chips/Oreos, but mine brain won’t tell me to stop because there is NO nutritional value. I will never feel full. However, if I try to eat an entire bag of apples, I find myself full halfway through apple number two. My brain will eventually tell my body that it is full, because the nutrients in the apple hold the nutritional value that my body was originally craving. Once I started to make the shift and view food as fuel, as medicine, things started to change.
Hopefully during my reign I have shown that this is not a diet, this is not about weight loss, but it is about healthy living. Everyone’s fit is different, I firmly believe that. My goal is to encourage everyone to realize your health is in your hands. It’s about nourishing your body with real, whole foods so that you are consistently satisfied and energized to live life to the fullest.
I tried to think of my favorite #SavvyChoices that I’ve learned and choose my top ten to share with you today. You can do this! Once you make the connection of what you are eating and how you are feeling, you can take control of your health. You are worth it.
1. Eat whole, real food. What does this mean? Eat as much foods without a label as you can. Items that you can name in a single word: banana, oatmeal, eggs, avocado, lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, chicken, apple, berries, peppers, beans. You get the idea. Thinking about consuming foods that are grown in the sun, rather than made in a lab. Concentrating on ADDING in the good stuff. Don’t focus on what you CAN’T eat, think about what you CAN. You do not have to count calories when it is a product of nature. A little trick is, would a caveman know what this is? An apple? Yes. Gummy worms? Highly unlikely.
2. Eliminate soda and all sugary drinks. Drink water, tea, coffee. I can hear my mom saying, “Don’t drink your calories.”
3. Avoid refined sweeteners. Sugar, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, lactose, glucose (anything that ends in “ose” or rhymes with gross). When reading the labels on your food, if you can’t read it, don’t eat it.
4. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. Most of the whole, refrigerated foods will be found there.
5. Eat good fats! Good fats are awesome! Praise the Lord for avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, salmon, almond butter, and greek yogurt. All are fantastic for your heart health and make you feel full longer. Example: I love Ezekiel bread with coconut oil in the morning with eggs. The coconut oil as a spread makes me full for a long time, and I don’t ever get a “sugar crash” like I would with a bagel or waffles.
6. SMOOTHIES! For the love of all things easy and fun. Get a nutribullet or something resembling a blender and go crazy. Berries, almond milk, almond butter, flax seeds, chia seeds, spinach leaves, bananas, kale, whatever your heart desires, then throw in a scoop of protein powder and you are good to go. This is a college live saver, and an excellent way to get nutrients. Instagram has awesome smoothie ideas, and especially ways you can prep ahead. Pro tip: putting your smoothie ingredients in the freezer will save you time, money (foods last longer), and helps for making healthy choices in the future.
7. Food Prep. IMPORTANT. Even if the food prep covers a few days. My favorite way to prep for a week of food is to grill a package of chicken, make pot of brown rice, steam some broccoli, and tupperware it for later. The “grab and go” will save you looking for a quick fix of chips (that won’t satisfy). It’s easy to pull things from the fridge and reheat! If you plan ahead of what you will eat, you’ll be less likely to look for that quick fix.
8. Instagram. PTL. There are SO many cool ideas, inspirations, tricks, tips and motivation to be healthy. Get these accounts on your feed. Change your brain, change your body. I know I love seeing cool food pics that it inspires me to do the same. There is a huge community out there! #savvychoices
9. Don’t have junk food in your kitchen. It sounds simple, but it works! If you don’t have junk food in your kitchen, then you don’t eat junk.
10. One of my most asked questions from this year has to be, “what do you order from Starbucks?” I wish it was more exciting, but I will get a grande or venti coffee and ask to leave room for cream. Then I’ll add half and half with a little bit of cinnamon if I am feeling spicy. Why so basic? Even though the fancy drinks are fun to order and sweet to drink, but day after day after day all those empty calories with no nutritional value add up to not be so helpful long term.
Start small if it seems overwhelming. Start by changing your breakfast habits. Replace your bagel or cereal with eggs, greek yogurt, real oatmeal or a smoothie. I say habit, because it will take about 30 days to see/feel a change. You are today what you ate 4 weeks ago. Be patient. Give yourself grace. Remember it took years to get to where you are now and it will take time to learn new habits. Love yourself to take care of yourself.
If you want more tips + inspo, check out some posts under #SavvyChoices or #MissAmericaWerk and see how people across the country #EatBetterLiveBetter.
So much love,