5 Tips on Opting for Fresh, Healthy Foods Instead of Processed Junk Foods

By: Loolwa Khazzoom, Founder, Dancing with Pain

March 30th, 2008 • Nutrition for Natural Pain ReliefPrint Print

A friend of mine just expressed to me that he wants to turn around his eating habits — opting for fresh, healthy foods instead of processed junk foods. Having gone through the transition myself years ago, and having learned a lot along the way, I shared a few tips on how to make his transition as easy as possible.

I figured I would share these tips with you as well, with an emphasis on creating a diet that will reduce your inflammation levels and that, as a result, may reduce your pain levels — as happened in my case.

Tip #1: Educate yourself.

Spend a little bit of time each day reading small passages from a book or Internet site, or listening to a track on a CD or podcast — through which you can glean sound advice on creating an anti-inflammatory diet for healing conic pain. (I keep my informational books in the bathroom and CDs in the car, where I’m a captive audience.)

Sign up for a nutrition consultation with someone who is experienced in creating a diet to relieve chronic pain.

Of course, be sure to check the credibility and reliability of anything you are reading or listening to and anyone you are talking with. I recommend my own personal nutritionist, Anasuya Batliner, NC, Dipl. ABT, CST, as well as Andrew Weil, M.D. — both of whom have done extensive research into creating anti-inflammatory diets.

Tip #2: Stay focused on the positive.

Rather than trying to abruptly stop eating the old foods, start off by simply introducing the new foods. Keep on eating those pizza slices, chocolate bars, and potato chips you’ve been scarfing each day. Side-by-side with that, however, eat steamed vegetables, fresh salads, and proteins rich in Omega-3 fats.

Tip #3: Show yourself compassion.

When we have chronic pain, we are constantly in need of physical comfort — which is easily accessible in cookies, ice cream, and the like. The problem, of course, is that sugar creates a vicious cycle: The more we eat it, the more we experience inflammation — which in turn can jack up our pain levels and make us turn even more desperately to comfort food.

In changing our diet, we not only have to create a new set of comforts for dealing with our pain, but we also have to overcome our body’s intense physical cravings for sugar and other addictive substances found in junk food. So go easy on yourself! Have compassion for your struggle; be proud of the fact that you are even trying to make a change; and praise yourself for every positive change you successfully make.

Tip #4: Take baby steps.

Don’t expect yourself to suddenly start eating greens like a jack rabbit. Begin by committing to eating something like one small side salad once a day. Buy pre-packaged, pre-washed greens to make the commitment as easy as possible to keep.

Tip #5: Stock your kitchen with nutritious foods.

The basic idea of creating an anti-inflammatory diet is mixing & matching vegetables, fruits, proteins, oils, spices, and sweeteners that promote optimum health. In another post, I will share some of the ingredients that I have in my kitchen at any given time. Stay tuned!

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