Did you know that February is American Heart Month? As a member of the over-fifty crowd (and yes, now the over-seventy crowd), keeping my heart healthy is extremely important. Towards this, I like to stay pretty physically active…my back swing can always use some extra work. What I haven’t written a lot on, however, is the eating component in this “trying-to-be-healthy” equation.
In the discussions I have had with all kinds of people in many different phases of life, some of the biggest reasons (or, “excuses” as I like to call them) for not focusing on a body-friendly diet are that it takes too much time (“I’m too busy!”) and it’s more expensive than unhealthy alternatives.
I’d like to start by addressing these two points a bit directly:
1. If you’re really too busy to keep your body (the only one you have) healthy, you need to reevaluate what’s taking up your time.
2. If you think healthy food is too expensive, consider the cost of the healthcare that not taking care of your body NOW can precipitate.
The truth of the matter, however, is that both of these complaints are untrue. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be time consuming, nor does it have to be more expensive.
Think about it: You can throw something frozen in the freezer for five minutes—or you can take that same five minutes and make a decent salad. OR—you can cook in advance & freeze healthier options to have a hot & healthy dinner when you’re crunched for time. There are countless ways, many even quicker than junk consumed daily, to fill your diet with nutrients—and honestly, with fruits, veggies & clean proteins, you can usually eat MORE while keeping your caloric, trans fats, and sodium intake MUCH lower than the instant-gratification quick-hunger-fixes.
As for cost—I’d like to challenge you: Take your grocery/food budget for two weeks and only buy good-for-you options. Focus on fresh, natural & richly colored foods, as they tend to pack the most nutritional power. When you go out for dinner, rather than ordering an oversized burger—opt for a healthy serving of veggies with some clean fat and protein like avocado and chicken. If you really stick to the challenge (and eat what you buy), you’ll find that your budget spreads a bit further, you feel better—and if you keep it up, you’ll also break those addictions to foods that are causing health problems.
Who’s up for the two week challenge? Who wants to join me in eating for a healthy heart? Share a photo of your healthy grocery cart or basket on our Facebook page! I’m excited to see what healthy goods you’re eating!