The 12-Step Program
Actually, what follows is just an example. You can use as many steps as you want, making whatever changes you want. This is just a sample of what can be done, to give you some ideas.
- Apply these changes, one at a time, until you get used to them. This will probably be 3-4 weeks per step. But in a year’s time, you’ll be eating as healthy as possible.
- Focus as much energy as possible on each change for at least a couple weeks. Don’t deviate if you can. Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it.
- If it seems too difficult, make a smaller step instead. For example, instead of cutting out sweets, just cut out cakes and donuts. Smaller steps make things much easier.
- Always replace bad food with healthy food that you enjoy. What I’ve given are just examples — everyone has different tastes.
OK, so here’s an example of how this step-by-step process could work:
- Eat fruits for snacks. If you snack on junk food during the day, have some fruits by your side at all times. When you’re feeling hungry for a snack, eat a fruit. One of those bags of small apples is a handy thing — you can’t go wrong with apples.
- Drink water instead of soda. The only thing I drink (besides an occasional beer) is water. I’m not saying you need to do that, but try to cut out sugary drinks a bit at a time, replacing them with water.
- Eat whole grain bread. If you eat white bread or bagels or whatever, replace them with whole-grain versions. Be sure to look at the ingredients — it shouldn’t say enriched wheat flour, but whole grain. Also try to avoid breads with high-fructose corn syrup (actually, avoid that ingredient in anything).
- Add fresh veggies to dinner. If you don’t already, have some steamed greens with dinner. Cut out a less healthy side dish if you usually eat something else.
- Cut out red meat. You can still eat poultry and seafood for now. You can later cut those out too if you want.
- Make pizza instead of ordering. Homemade pizza is the best, and if you haven’t made it yet, you should. The simple way is to get a ready-made whole-wheat crust, although making your own tastes even better. Start with the simple version, though, as you don’t want to make things too difficult. For the simple version, just add some gourmet spaghetti sauce (not Ragu), cut up some veggies (I like tomatoes and mushrooms and spinach and olives, but you can use anything, even potatoes). Brush the veggies with some olive oil. You can add grated cheese or soy cheese if you want, though it’s not necessary. Bake till it looks cooked. Mmmm.
- Nuts instead of chips. If you normally snack on chips, try unsalted peanuts or raw almonds.
- Soymilk instead of whole milk. Whole milk is fatty (not to mention the suffering done by the cows in modern dairy factories). Soymilk is much healthier. You get used to it after awhile, like all the changes on this list, but if soymilk is a problem at least drink 1% milk.
- Whole grain cereal. If you eat sugary cereal, try a whole-grain cereal instead.
- Berries instead of candy. This is a recent change of mine, and it’s actually been much easier than I thought. I used to snack on chocolate candy all the time, but now I try to eat berries to satisfy my sweet cravings and it works!
- Scrambled tofu instead of fried eggs. Scrambled tofu is a secret vegan wonder. Try this recipe.
- Try some great veggie dinners. There are so many good ones out there if you haven’t tried them.
If you implement 12 changes, you’ll probably be eating healthier than you ever have before. A great thing is that once you’ve done this, you’ll probably keep going, to 20 steps and beyond.