10 Ways for Creating Successful Dietary Habits
I could create a list of “Top 10 Ways to Make Healthy Eating Easy” for you to follow, but most likely the list won’t work. Instead of trying to learn completely new tricks that leads to frustration and disappointment when they don’t stick, observe your own daily habits. Think about what can you trade or adjust to make the life you already live better balanced.
Eating healthy is not difficult. I’ll bet you snorted in disbelief just then, but stick with me. Eating healthy is about taking care of yourself and creating daily habits that support you each day. The hardest part about eating a different way is letting go of control. The human ego which helps you form a continuous flow of behavior by constantly referencing past events in memory with current and future events to come is stubborn and controlling. Especially so if most of your choices are fear based. If the ego is in a consistent state of fear based choices, it will be difficult to move forward towards new unpracticed life goals. I know this is making a big assumption, but I’ll bet that at some point you tried to talk yourself out of not eating certain foods anymore because you may become nutritionally deficient if done so. Whole grains, eggs, dairy, meat, tropical fruit are just a few on the long list of foods that are commonly cut out of a persons diet when trying to address the root cause of an illness. If you allow yourself to flow in a positive direction the change that you desire will become reality.
I had my life phase of being a negative nancy when everything was bad and against me. Exhausted from always being down, I challenged myself to look at the positive side to my situations and find something that made it worth it. Instead of being sad, I make a conscious choice to acknowledge the negative long enough to learn why it is negative and not worth repeating and then I focus on the positive much more because that will strengthen me into the next life lesson. Through this process I learned that creating an energy of positivity also kept me in a place of reality. The reality is that God is here guiding us and even through the uncomfortable situations, there is a positive outcome that is bringing us closer to the reality that we desire.
MY ALKALINE DIET STORY.
During the years leading up to my choice to change my eating habits to be inline with the Alkaline Diet principles my meals consisted of mostly grains, meat, and sugar. Nearly every meal had a meat included. I thought this was my best source of protein. I didn’t know how to prepare vegetables. Except, I did understand how to make a premixed bagged salad with dressing and toppings included. I could steam broccoli as a side dish, sometimes. The largest portion of my meals would usually be bread or some type of grain. And most everything tasted better with a layer of shredded cheese. My daily snacks were a sweet dessert or toast with cream cheese.
I will always remember a particular grocery store trip that was about a week into my new alkaline diet journey This trip sparked my letting go of control and mourning of foods that I thought I would be miserable without. As I passed by the bakery counter in a hate-my-life mood because I felt like I couldn’t eat the pastries that I once had, I finally noticed the large shelf full of herbal teas directly across from the copious amounts of sugar. Forcing myself out of my comfort zone of always eating the same foods, I picked out three new herbal tea blends that were appealing. I’ll be honest, the flavors that I picked weren’t that great and I attribute that to the way the herbs were packaged not specifically the herbs. However, I didn’t see this as a failure – just another lesson. By doing this one different thing, it peaked my curiosity of herbs, how to collect them from the garden, and led to the inner discovery of my passion for herbal tea. Had I continued to lament over the loss of sugar and refused to allow myself to change I would have never discovered this hidden talent in my self-knowledge.
Evening chai green tea and it looks like someone 🐛 had a snack of my flowers. 🐞🍃 I love chai tea, and prefer making it from scratch but today I was out of clove, black tea, cardamom pods, and cinnamon. Pretty hard to make chai tea without the essential ingredients! 🍵 I did however have ginger, matcha tea, and black peppercorn. So guess what I did; used essential oils clove, cardamom, and cinnamon to fill in the gaps. It worked perfectly! I'm probably going to do that again. 😉
Sometimes when we are pouting over not getting to eat good food after deciding to eat healthy, it’s truthfully our ego resisting growth and change. I can promise you that it is not completely about the food, as good as those brownies may be. Change can have a steep learning curve, but that curve can be a place that a more truer version of yourself is waiting to be met head on. You may also decide that those brownies weren’t really that great after all, I know I did.
A few words of caution, do not over think this! Do not get caught up in perfectionism that you never begin for fear of doing it wrong. When someone tells me that they make terrible food choices for the day and are disappointed in themselves I like to say, “If all else fails, eat a cucumber and start again tomorrow.” If you didn’t eat foods that you wanted, you didn’t drink enough water, you spoke negatively towards yourself; pause at the end of the day to give yourself grace and forgiveness. Eat a cucumber, there’s your veggie and water you missed, and start fresh tomorrow. This diet journey is a marathon, it is a lifestyle shift, not a quick sprint that you fix by next week. Heck, you probably won’t fix it by next year so just settle in and enjoy the journey. We’re complicated and challenging beings, and let’s be honest, if it were easy you probably wouldn’t be interested. We all love a good challenge.
THE LIST OF TEN.
Read this list and hopefully something will resonate with you to help guide yourself so that you can have the power to develop positive eating habits. This list is your list. Even if you’re not following the Alkaline Diet this list can be applied to any diet or goal that you have in life, it doesn’t have to be only about food. Trade food for another struggle you are faced with and use these principles to guide you through.
1. Daily Journals Can Help.
To successfully eat healthy is to form new habits around food. With that in mind, forming new eating habits are made somewhat easier when you take the time to record them in a writing journal. When you see what you automatically do without thought, you will be able to see areas that can be changed, improved, and possibly duplicated.
I use the journal style called Bullet Journal developed by Ryder Carroll because it helps me to keep all of my ideas in one place. To form new habits, within the journal you could create a habit tracker page that lists each new habit you want to accomplish for the day. This technique is meant to remind you of the new habits you’re wanting to form while leaving less room for unwanted habits to continue.
To begin a journal you can use something as simple as a composition book available at most stores that sell school supplies. I recently bought one for less than $1.00. If you prefer a more refined journal that doesn’t have lines and is a heavier weighted paper for drawing, begin with the essentials dot matix journal which also includes a pocket and stretchy band to hold the journal closed. If you enjoy drawing, there are many YouTube videos that give examples of different bullet journal styling. It is a craft and I created a YouTube playlist to give you shortcut ideas of how to begin.
2. Record Everything Each Day.
Each day write down your meals and snacks. Record what type of exercise you accomplished. How much television did you watch, how much time you spent checking your social media accounts. Take note of your mood for the day by simply writing, “Good day, not easily irritated, felt optimistic.” This will help you to keep track of a correlation between foods that may or may not be causing discomfort. If you’ve always experienced digestion discomfort, it’s initially difficult to pinpoint which foods are worth keeping in your diet. This is why the food journal is so helpful; you will see patterns and correlation between mood and food choices. Of course record how much water you drink, so many of us are just dehydrated and never know this simple fix.
3. Make Food Replacements, Not Restrictions.
So you can probably imagine how challenging it was for me to change my food choices to be 80% vegetables and 20% either meat, grain, dairy, nuts, or fruit since I didn’t even know what to do with a full head of unprepared lettuce. It was as if I didn’t even know what to do with food!
This is how I made the change less daunting, replacement. Instead of worrying about eating enough vegetables, I would mentally think of the amount of rice I would have typically put on my plate and replace that portion size with vegetables. The vegetables can be cooked or raw, this is your choice. You want to always choose a food that you enjoy eating because the biggest portion of this shift is the energy of your attitude. If you stay in a place of pity, defeat, and disgust that will be what you reflect in your life. Instead, bring yourself to a place of patience, determination, and delight.
4. Notice Your Habits.
What we eat for our meals each day, is more about a habit than it is about what we actually like to eat. I’m sure as you journal about your daily eating habits, you will discover there are foods that you eat simply because that is what you have always chosen for that meal time. Sandwich for lunch, perhaps?
Haven’t you ate an entire meal and when you finish it you say to yourself, “Why did I eat that? I didn’t even like it.” You ate it because that was a habit formed reaction.
I personally have a habit of cleaning my plate with each meal. I feel like I have to eat every bite of food that has been put on it, despite the times when I don’t want the food. It is a very hard habit to break. Sometimes I can stop during the meal and allow myself to not feel compelled to finish it, and sometimes I end the meal with the question above.
I honestly don’t have any tricks to break this habit, other than the most effective way is to become more present of mind when eating and listen to yourself better. It is a self discipline. If you want to stop, then stop. If you don’t want to eat what was given to you, then don’t. Someone may be offended if you don’t eat what they have served you, be polite and they’ll have to get over it because you’re the owner of your body and it is your choice for what goes into it. This can be difficult at times because we have created many guilt based rules around meal time. Remember, you are in control of what goes into your body. Listen to what your body is telling you. Don’t do something because, “That’s just what I do.”
5. Follow the Patterns in Your Habits.
Closely observe your daily habits, there is a pattern to them. Each day you eat breakfast from a familiar group of meal ideas. You may exercise at the same time because it fits in with your other tasks that need to be accomplished for the day. You probably eat lunch that is always prepared from a common variety of ingredients. You check your social media accounts at the same time each day because it has become a habit to do that. Hopefully you go to bed close to the same time each night to be well rested for the next day. Then, you wake up to do it all again the next day. Not exactly the same way each day, but the principle guideline is most likely a formed habit pattern.
If you want to change breakfast, you could try one of the five breakfast meals that I pick from to see if they work for you. Since lunch is often a rushed meal, if eaten at all, prepare it ahead of time only choosing between two different options so there is less risk of defaulting back to a meal habit you’re hoping to replace. Take-out for dinner is so easy, but the way that I avoid it too often is to remind myself that the dinner I make is going to taste so much better, and typically is more affordable. Unless I’m ordering from the Indian-foods restaurant that only uses fresh ingredients and from scratch recipes, then I might change my mind. Joking aside, there is importance in preparing your own foods that nourish and support your health.
6. Follow the Principles of the Alkaline Diet.
There is a common set of principles with the Alkaline Diet and if you follow those, working through the minor details isn’t as important. You heard it here, no more searching Dr. Google for “is ____ alkaline.” Habits and principle guidelines help us to achieve a 20% input that commonly gives a 80% output. It follows the Pareto principle, the 80/20 rule of observing that approximately 20% of the cause will result in 80% of the results. If we observe our habits, it may be that only a small percentage of our input is needed to shift for the goal to be accomplished.
In the beginning of my alkaline diet journey I did search Google for many foods to see if they are alkaline forming or not, just to give myself a base point. Then as I became more familiar with which vegetables I need to be eating more of, I realized if I make the portion of my vegetables mainly high alkaline forming I don’t have to fuss over which is more alkaline forming. It didn’t matter if green leaf lettuce was more alkaline forming than red leaf lettuce, all that mattered was that I ate green leafy vegetables. If I make a smoothie with 80% green leaf and 20% fruit, then that is an alkaline diet meal.
Dinner can be 60% salad, 20% meat, 20% grain or other and that is an alkaline diet meal. This diet is meant to help you find your balance and if you literally think of a balance scale with the greens side weighing more, then that is all you need to do to be successful to eat healthy. To make it simpler for you, I created a food chart that is easy to understand and contains quick start guide plus a list of helpful books to read.
7. Swap out Habits.
What did you eat the most of, and do you want to change that? I used to eat meat at each meal, I wanted to eat less of it. I stopped eating meat for breakfast and lunch because it weighed down my energy levels. Something that I hadn’t noticed until I began the food journal. I didn’t notice that my habits were keeping me in a state of choosing things automatically because that is what I had always done. At dinner if I don’t want to have a meat, I swap it for a larger serving of vegetables. Chopped zucchini makes an excellent 1:1 trade for meat. I listen to my body and it’s needs, if I feel the need to have more bone broth then I do that. If I don’t feel the need, then I back off. I’m listening to my cravings, desires, and helping them to stay in balance so that I feel balanced.
Do you consistently feel tired each day? Sometimes that swap is as easy as going to bed at a reasonable time, and avoid looking at bright screens during the late evening. Instead of watching your favorite YouTube channel before bed (I’m guilty of this), read a relaxing book or meditate and pray to calm the mind.
Any habit that you are unsatisfied with, you will need to replace with a new habit in order for it to go away. Cold turkey quiting has it’s place, and so does slow and steady wins the race.
8. Forget Perfectionism.
Instead of doing a complete overhaul of your life to be inline with someone else’s principles, observe your own life to see how you could modify it to be similar yet authentic to you. Besides, perfectionism is a liar.
I could say to you, “To be successful with the Alkaline Diet you can no longer eat bread, meat, or sugar. Absolutely do not complete strenuous exercise, and listen only to calming folk music,” but what good is that going to do for you if bread is life, you own a cattle farm, are a cross-fit competitor, and only listen to negative toned music?
The ideas that people generate as an example of what the perfect alkaline diet looks like is not always correct for each individual. No one can tell you what works best for you. The food charts and meal plans that you find for this diet philosophy are suggestions, that is all. They are suggestions for what may work for you since you’re in a similar situation as the author is describing. I really believe that eating a large salad each day is beneficial, but the next person may have a hard time stomaching it and opts for the smoothie instead. These meals both work.
If you have been looking into the Alkaline Diet, and are wondering why the food charts contradict each other, this is my answer to that. It’s an easy fix, so no need to let the variety of suggestions become a hang-up.
9. Be You.
Observe your own habits and compare them to the suggested principle guidelines of the Alkaline Diet. I know this could seem odd, that I am suggesting you create your own rules. Let’s be honest, you probably don’t do well with being told what to do anyway. Does anyone? From a very young age, we’re always testing boundaries and questioning what the people around us are telling us to do. Adulthood is no different, except typically there is no longer another person standing there to gently guide you by telling you what is the better choice to make. And because that parent is not there, we tend to hand off this responsibility to other people, but the truth is you need to stop giving away the ownership to your health. Stop waiting for someone else to fix you, you have to fix you!
Don’t focus on what to give up and not eat, focus on what you need to eat to support a more alkaline environment; leafy greens, raw vegetables, avocado, coconut, and water as examples. Add these foods into your life and the more good stuff you add, I promise the less you’ll want the not-so-good stuff.
Here we go, another work week. You'll do good today. Believe that. Your mind is your most valuable tool. I had no reason to believe that I could heal my body from symptoms of four autoimmune diseases except for I believed that I could do it. No one told me I could, but God, so I did it. Belief is all you need. Change your mind, shift your mind, and you will succeed. \// . . . . #curingvision #functionalmedicine #autoimmunediseasewarrior #hashimotosdisease #aip #autoimmuneprotocol #wahlswarrior #alkalinediet #healthwarrior #wellnessadvocate #eatrealfood #autoimmuneawareness #rd2be #roadtowellness #notsickanymore #healed #faithinhigherpower #believeinyourself #youcanheal #healthyself #letfoodbethymedicine #herbaltherapy #essentialoils #healthandwellness #cookeville #roadtorecovery #balancedlifestyle #alkalinelifestyle #balancedlife
10. Have Faith.
Believe in yourself and trust that you are here exploring this new way of eating foods for a reason. Trust the process, have faith in yourself, and have even more patience with yourself than you’ve previously felt imaginable. You will stumble, you will fall, but it will be beautiful as you stand back up.
Now, grab that journal, start recording, and discover your habits!
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