My great-grandfather grew up with very little, but made a nice life for himself in the United States. He wasn’t rich; he lived well, and he did a lot with what he had. He shared with people. He would frequent the same restaurants, befriend the staff, and give generous gifts. As a young boy he always knew he would come to the United States, and so he did.
I’ll never forget, I was only six years old, and I sat with my grandfather at his kitchen table. He handed me five dollars to add to my piggy bank, and a handful of walnuts. He talked to me about money, planning for the future, and (cupping his hand over mine with the walnuts) told me to take care of myself, because the future happens fast. I listened with much admiration.
My grandfather passed away when he was in his nineties. A chef who believed in fresh foods and “anything in moderation”, we can all follow in his footsteps, no matter what our age.
Like a retirement fund and 401 k, food and lifestyle is a means to plan ahead. Here are 4 simple reminders of the things we can do now to invest in our health and have tons of energy on the journey:
*If You Can’t Spell It, Don’t Eat It
Processed foods age us fast. By overworking our pancreas and digestive system, fake foods just don’t work well with our bodies. Stick with the basics by using fresh ingredients first. Eat whole grains, fruits, veggies, and high quality proteins and fats such as beans, nuts, salmon. Shop the perimeter of the food store, and when you absolutely have to buy food in a box, look at the ingredients list. If you can’t pronounce the ingredients or have no clue what they are, skip it. Eat real food, feel read good.
*Switch it Out
All foods are not created equal. For example, yogurt can be a healthy option, but if you’re yogurt is filled with sugar or chemicals, you may as well eat a candy bar, right? We’re lucky, though, because we have SO many choices. Switch to plain all-natural greek yogurt and add fresh fruit, pure extracts, even cinnamon. Or, if you only eat white pasta, rice, or bread, try whole grain varieties instead. If you switch out your ‘staple’ foods for higher quality options, your body will thank you in years to come!
*Slip it In
Ok, so you may not be ready to do a 180 when it comes to food. I totally understand. But filling your body with antioxidants will make you glow from the inside-out! Trick yourself by ‘slipping in’ healthy ingredients to your everyday choices. For example, flax is a powerful antioxidant that’s so easy to add to almost anything. Use it when you’re making chicken fingers, add it to your cereal, sneak it in to your morning muffins.
Strong muscles and healthy bones can add years of high energy, high quality living. Make sure to build your muscle and protect your bones by doing stretching, strength training, or water exercises. And, if you’re noticing your metabolism slowing down as you age, don’t worry- strength training can rev that up, too. You’ll become a strong, healthy, fat burning machine in no time!