Eating healthy is a learned habit.  Making dietary changes for health reasons or weight loss can be more challenging than just beating cravings.  Grocery shopping changes.  Meals might go from microwave or eating out to cooking with fresh foods.  Which means more dishes to wash.  Adding breakfast into your morning may feel like yet another task.  

So when I recommend dietary changes, I take into account the client’s current lifestyle.  Busy parents and people whose work involves traveling or overtime hours need gradual changes in order to be successful.  

My cornerstone belief for healthy diet is to eat fresh, whole foods.  This may seem simplistic, but it goes against the current Standard American Diet.  Reasons I may recommend dietary changes include (but are not limited to): Celiac or gluten sensitivity, food sensitivities, candida (yeast overgrowth), weight concerns, and brain fog.

  1. Start with whole foods you already like.  Instead of thinking of a new diet as cutting out foods, start with adding fresh foods.  Since the fruit and vegetable section is at the front of most grocery stores, start there.  Buy small quantities so you feel less pressure, which pushes out the pleasure of eating something you like that is also good for you. In the winter you can also choose frozen vegetables and fruits. 
  2. Make a collection of staple recipes.  When you find a recipe that you like and works for your schedule, keep it!  Use Pinterest or GoogleDocs to save online.  Or you can always print recipes and keep in a binder.
  3. Follow bloggers and websites that specialize in healthy eating.  On Facebook, follow Goodful for tasteful and easy ideas.  I also follow blogs like Joyous Health, which offers interesting new recipes along with positive and uplifting wellness blogs.
  4. Try the buffet at Whole Foods or other health foods stores.  The buffet at Whole Foods offers a wide variety of dishes and sides that can suit almost any diet.  This way, you can conveniently try new things.  If you like something, find the recipes on Whole Foods’ website and save it for later.
  5. Add a protein shake into your routine.  Staying full is an essential part in kicking cravings.  A protein shake can be as easy as just adding your preference of almond or coconut milk or you can find ways to make it a little more interesting.  Add chia seeds for texture or avocado for richness.  Berries and vanilla protein powder can almost never go wrong.  A protein shake after a meal can help with the dessert cravings and help keep you feeling fuller.
  6. Move your body.  When you have a regular exercise routine, you’ll notice more when you eat overly processed foods that tend to sit heavy in your stomach.  If you struggle with eating disorders such as compulsive eating or food addictions, exercising is a great way to make more feel good emotions like endorphins, which people with food addictions get when eating something they crave.  
  7. Find drinks you like.  Sparkling water can require some adjustment if pop was regular in your diet. Try adding lemon or cucumber to your water.  Look for beverages with no sugar and no added chemicals (like diet drinks).  If you struggle with taking diet cokes out of your life, titrate down.  It also may be an indication that you need a detox to help you through that physical addiction.  

Although changes to your diet may be difficult at first, many people find that after sticking to it for a few weeks (I recommend about six) that they don’t want the foods they used to love.  Food now makes them feel good.  

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food – Hypocrites

Dr. Melanie MacLaren is a naturopathic doctor and registered yoga teacher who is passionate about natural health and the individualized needs of each of her clients.

Call 317-818-1800 to learn more about Dr. Melanie or request an appointment.