13 Easiest Ways to Clean Up Your Diet

GrapefruitApproaching a lifestyle change can be daunting, so BAZAAR turned to SLVRBK mat founder and certified holistic health practitioner specializing in nutrition, weight management, digestive health, detoxification and stress management, Steven Macari, for his list of 13 fixes you can begin instituting now. From letting fat be your friend to smarter snacking and avoiding the four white devils, get tips to clean up your act.

1. Drink More Water
Humans are about 70% water. Most people don't drink enough water and often times the sensation they believe to be hunger is actually thirst. To be effectively hydrated you should drink half your body weight in ounces per day (i.e. a 120 pound person should drink 60 ounces of water per day). Start each day with an 8 - 16 ounces glasses of water and add a pinch of quality sea salt to your water to add beneficial minerals. Artesian spring water is your best bet as most water filters do not remove all the harmful substances.

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2. Skip the Gluten
Studies show that more than 60% of people are sensitive to gluten. If you have blue or green eyes the percentage goes even higher. Gluten sensitivity can lead to bloating, poor digestion, skin issues, inflammation and mental fatigue, just to name a few side effects. For an at home test to see if you are sensitive, try removing gluten from your diet for 2 weeks. During this time period if you notice any difference in how you look and feel you should consider removing gluten from your diet. You may also get a blood test from your doctor for additional confirmation. Common Sources of Gluten: 1. Most pastas (unless corn, rice or quinoa based) 2.Most breads ( i.e. rye, spelt, semolina) 3. Oats, barley, triticale, couscous, kamut
Hidden Sources of Gluten: Sausages (fillers), soy sauce, hydrolyzed plant/vegetable modified food starch, vinegars, 'natural flavorings' label, seasonings, gravies, sauces, ice cream, soup, beer, wine, whiskey, malt, vodka (grain based)
Gluten Free Options: 1. Regular and Sweet potatoes 2. Rice, Quinoa 3. Gluten free breads made of coconut flour or sorghum flour
Great Grains:
Many grains are highly contaminated with mold and fungus, even organic ones. Limit grain consumption and when used, soak and rinse your rice, quinoa, oats and other grains.

3. Remove White Foods from Your Diet
Remove what are commonly referred to as the four white devils from your diet: white sugar, pasteurized dairy, table salt/iodized salt (not to be confused with sea salt), white flour. These foods have a direct adverse effect on your mind and body and can lead to any number of health issues, including high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, blood sugar issues, digestive issues and weight gain.

4. Avoid GMO Foods
Avoid GMO foods. Corn and soy are two of the biggest offenders, others include papaya, squash, and zucchini. Studies have shown that eating genetically modified foods can genetically modify your own cells and this can lead to accelerated aging and a variety of other health issues.

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5. Go Organic
Whenever possible, choose organic. The toxic substances that are sprayed on produce and ingested by animals wind up in our body. The human body will store toxins that it is unable to detoxify in fat. You can't get rid of fat on your own body if you keep eating foods that are covered in toxic substances.

6. Eat Good Fats
Good fats are necessary for brain function, healthy skin, energy levels and hormonal regulation. Bad fats can make you sick and can make you hold onto unwanted fat. Good fats include organic versions of the following: olive oil, coconut oil, ghee, butter [from pasture raised cows], grape seed oil, avocado oil and nut oils. Bad fats include canola oil, palm oil, margarine, any hydrogenated oils, vegetables oils and trans-fatty acids.

7. Add Snacks
People eat snacks to stabilize their blood sugar, but often even what we think of as healthy snacks like a piece of fruit cause further blood sugar issues. Always include some protein with your fruit to help stabilize your blood sugar. A half of a banana and a hand full of almonds makes a great snack or mini-meal, as does an apple paired with some nut butter or carrots and avocado.

8. Buy Local Produce

Avoid foods from outside the country. Food brought in from outside the country is irradiated (basically microwaved) to kill any harmful bacteria, fungi and other contaminants that are deemed harmful. This process also kills a high percentage of the nutrients in the food itself. Stick to produce grown in the US and choose local organic produce when possible.

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9. Improve Your Coffee Habits
Coffee is one of the most contaminated crops. If you like a morning cup, buy organic coffee beans and grind them fresh to reduce your toxic load. Try using a non-dairy coconut or almond based creamer. It is also beneficial to consume a small amount of protein or fat to give a stable boost in energy and avoid the mid morning crash.

10. Don't Restrict Calories

When you restrict calories and skip meals your body thinks it is gearing up for a period where food will not be available and it will need to draw on it's own fat for energy (think a hibernating bear). This signals your body to produce more fat storing enzymes, which means that when you do begin eating you will be wearing your carbohydrates instead of burning through them. This can happen by skipping as little as one meal. Hint: don't skip breakfast.

11. Smart Drink Choices

A few cocktails are a fun part of life, just make smart choices. Choose potato based vodkas, tequila, biodynamic and organic wine. Avoid beer if you do go the gluten free route.

12. Get a Sugar Fix

Satisfy that sweet tooth by using natural sweeteners and eating sweeter fruits. Natural sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, agave, date sugar, coconut sugar and stevia are great alternatives. Fruits such as dates, berries, pineapple and citrus fruits can often satisfy that sweet craving.

13. The 80/20 Rule

Don't make yourself crazy, if you take care of your body 80% of the time, you can enjoy those cheat meals 20% of the time.

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