Mom eating healthy dinner with daughter at dining table

Are you eating yourself to good health?

Do you believe that a healthy lifestyle begins at home?

I do indeed. In the United States there are over 150 million people including millions of children who suffer from obesity, diabetes, and a myriad of chronic illnesses. The problem is growing and in a majority of cases can be cured and limited by taking on your kitchen. Yes, I know that when you have a family it at times can become difficult to master culinary delights for the entire family while running to afterschool activities, homework, and everything else that falls on your plate.

I get asked daily the seemingly easy question. “How do I keep my family healthy while balancing a busy work and life schedule?” They immediately follow it up with “I know you’re going to tell me to eat more vegetables, Right?” Well, yes and no.

What I will tell you is that eating more whole, real, live foods, cooking them at home and sitting down together as a family will help to improve your health and the health of your family. You see most of us plain and simple don’t shop properly. We allow our taste buds and our bodies to be hijacked if you will by the overconsumption of salt, chemicals and other preservatives used to make food “shelf-stable”. I am not sure about you, but I certainly don’t want to put something in my body that can last on my local grocers’ shelf for months if not years on end. Processed foods, especially sugar can be as addictive as drugs or alcohol. How do we help ourselves to get out of this addictive food state? Willpower alone will not get you out of it. You need to refocus your energy on eating real food and not feeling guilty. The closer to nature we eat the easier our bodies will be able to absorb those much-needed nutrients and help to keep our “engine” running smoothly. Unfortunately, we did not come with an owner’s manual. And much like any other piece of equipment, we need to make sure that we are putting the right “parts” ingredients into our machine for it to run properly. Read your labels if you buy processed foods, and know your facts. If a product says zero trans-fat is that the real truth? Well, our food can be labeled that way if it has less than 2g per serving. And how many ingredients are on the label of the so-called “chicken nuggets” that you are feeding your children. Oh and most important is chicken one of them?

Knowledge is power when shopping or dining out. Make smart choices, and ask questions. Cook more at home, and by that I mean really cook. Cooking requires fresh ingredients, and heating up a pan or the oven NOT the microwave.

Gary Appelsies

Of course I can tell you to eat less and exercise more but that is just an easy way out. In no way shape or form do I want to judge or shame people. My goal is to help people to make healthy lifestyle decisions. Clean eating really can help to heal our bodies. The process of healing our bodies in a natural way does not happen overnight. Our bodies need to do some detox and get used to eating a diet that consists of real food. The days of the quick fix are over my friends. Take it upon yourself and start to slowly add real food into your diet. Stick with it and you will begin to see changes you never thought possible. Before you know it your body will in a very subtle way tap you on the shoulder and say “Apple please,” when it is in need of a sugar fix.

Get your entire family involved, have everyone in the kitchen washing peeling, and chopping. The more involved everyone is the more fun it is to eat what you created. Try cutting down on the salt by adding freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice as well as adding spices and herbs to your food for more intense flavor. Remember we eat with our senses first. So, food that smells and looks good will most likely taste good.