January 6, 2016

Day 6: Do These 9 Things Before Starting Any New Diet

Green salad
Everyone knows that the success of any new building project begins with the foundation.  And so it is with our health.  Before you begin a crash diet only to have it crumble or go down in flames, try this wisdom: Add first, then subtract. Before you try restricting all of the crap out of your diet, concentrate your efforts on adding good things into your first and then see how much of the bad gets naturally crowded out. Here are 9 building blocks to add More FOOD and More FRESH to your life.

1. F - Fresh Vegetables and Fruit - Every good diet begins with a foundation of fresh vegetables (the focus of our Day 7 post), green smoothies (Day 8 post), and leafy greens (Day 9 post). Once that is in place, increase your intake of fresh quality fruits and berries. Work to get your vegetable intake to 3 servings a day (one serving at every meal). If you are already there, then double it and get two servings at every meal.  With this practice alone, you will feel more full, crowd out some of the cravings, and reach for unhealthy options much less. 

2. O - Organic Lean Protein - Choosing organic, lean poultry and fish are a great start, as well as vegetables, beans, seeds, whole grains, and legumes, all of which are rich in protein. Did you know that at least 16 plants contain complete proteins? If you are an athlete and need to supplement, did you know that you can buy more than just whey protein powder? How about pea protein powder, or hemp, brown rice, chia seed, flax seed, quinoa, amaranth, millet, lentil, cranberry seed, pumpkin seed, SaviSeed, and soy, which are combined in various plant-based protein powders? Buy them when they are on sale, or to save even more, buy the seeds and grind your own protein powder! We will break things down more on Day 11 and get you pumped up!

3. O - Omega Fatty Acids and Healthy Fats - Try to include more nuts, avocado, and coconut into your snacks. Replace canola, corn, and vegetable oils with olive, walnut, and avocado oils. Incorporate coconut oil into recipes and your health and beauty routines. Fats don’t make you fat, sugar does. Get the skinny about adding healthy fats on Day 12

4. D - Drink Enough Water - We've all heard that 8 cups of water is what our body needs everyday. How are you doing on reaching that goal? A new year is the perfect time to rethink your beverage choices and give your body the life-sustaining liquid it needs. If water is too bland for you then try adding flavor in the form of a squeezed lemon, infused fruit or berries, a drop of ingestible essential oils, or some herbal teas. A 150lb adult is made up of 50-60% water. That's about 80 lbs or 10 gallons. So if you drink 1/2 gallon per day (64oz, 2 liters or 2 quarts) then that means your body can change its oil about once every 20-30 days. We'll fill you with the facts and strategies on Day 13.  

5. F - Find a Friend - Whether it's your spouse, significant other, a roommate, or friend, you will greatly benefit from finding someone who shares your determination for health. You can work together, cook together, or exercise together as a team or just be there to communicate and give each other encouragement and strength when the going gets tough. Be our friend and stop back on Day 14

6. R - Rest and Sleep - Not only will you feel more refreshed at the beginning of your day, but you will find that cravings for starchy, sugary foods are dramatically reduced by getting enough rest, which is 7-8 hours for adults. This means you may also need to turn off the TV and close your eyes an hour or two earlier. You will not regret giving yourself enough sleep. Stop back on Day 15 and wake up to a beautiful new world.

7. E - Engage the Family - For those who have children in the home, the thought of trying to convince them to eat healthy can be truly daunting. We have been through the task, and have tips, insights, and recipes to get them engaged. Share your excitement and newfound knowledge with them and explain why living healthy is a better choice. You may be surprised when they actually enjoy trying new fruits and vegetables. Soon they may be the ones encouraging you! Come back on Day 16 to read more.

8. S - Study Up. Knowledge is empowering. That's the main reason we are doing this blog. We want to help our friends and family and the world sort through the fact and fiction of foods, diets, and health practices. So keep coming back each day for your 5 minutes of inspiration and motivation. We also want to point you towards some of the resources that have helped motivate us to make life changes. On Day 18 we are covering some of our favorite health and recipe books to get to you started.

9. H - Heart-Healthy Exercise. This is not about burning calories. This is about exercising your most important muscle to keep your engine running for a long life. There are dozens of fun and healthy ways to move your body and get your heart rate up: walk, bike, hike, swim, jog, take ballroom dance, join an adults sports league, or do Yoga from YouTube (Adriene is my favorite). The trickiest part is finding activities that suit your schedule. Early mornings, late evenings, and taking turns with your spouse are the three main ways we finally fit it in. Get your heart-rate up for Day 19.

Remember, the first key to better health is adding, not subtracting. Add more FOOD: fresh vegetables and fruits, organic lean protein, omega fatty acids and healthy fats, and drinking enough water. Keep things FRESH by finding a friend, resting and sleeping, engaging your family, studying up, and doing heart-healthy exercise. We promise that if you do these things you will find that you naturally decrease your cravings for unhealthy foods and consume them much less often. You will have built a successful foundation for your health for years to come.


  1. great ideas...especially that adding before subtracting. I think that is definitely where I get hung up most often. Excited to try this...and get the kids involved. I notice that when I meal plan and have them give me their opinion in planning they are much more likely to eat it, helping cook sometimes helps too, but I think a family meeting about eating would help...thanks so much!! (matti)

    1. Yes! I believe the adding first is key. This helps children not get overwhelmed by such big changes. I have found that most children have at least one vegetable that they like to eat. I have made a practice to always serve that vegetable to my pickiest children and it helps ease their fears about nutritious eating. Our kids don't love everything I serve, but I try to add something I think they will eat. Takes practice! The more they see vegetables and fresh fruit served, the more they gravitate towards them naturally.