4 Refrigerator Changes For Healthy Living

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A healthy lifestyle begins at home. One of the biggest health misconceptions is the idea that a few hours of exercise during the week will bring the change you drastically want. The average person starting a health journey will dedicate three 1-hour sessions a week to some form of workout and expect to see results. There is no denying that exercising consistently will change your body, but without incorporating other necessary healthly mindsets, the journey becomes a lot longer than it needs to be. 

Food is your greatest accomplice on the road to change. Certain foods need to be added to your day and others need to be cut. Without proper nutrition, cutting unhealthy fatty foods, reducing sugar intake, and shifting your entire mindset about everything you consume, you're fighting against yourself to see results.

Refrigerators hold the majority of our foods at home, so as you transition into a new lifestyle, it’s important to get rid of products that offer little value and swap them with products that will help enhance your results. What you eat gives you the energy to work harder, last throughout your busy day, support weight loss and maintenance, and create the tone and definition you want. These four common fridge products are the start to clearing out your fridge with junk.

1. Dairy

Dairy milk is something most people grew up on, so letting go can be hard; change is challenging. We use milk for a lot of things: cooking, baking, cereal, oatmeal, coffee, smoothies. With new goals in mind, consider that dairy milk is high in unhealthy fat, calories, cholesterol, hormones, and unnatural to the human body. Cattle in the U.S are pumped with hormones to expedite growth and also pumped with antibiotics to keep them alive and somewhat healthy in their compacted spaces where disease and bacteria are rampant.

For most people, the easiest dairy milk substitute is almond milk. Low in calories, fat, and cholesterol, almond milk is also a great source for vitamin A which helps protect cells from daily toxins and vitamin D which is vital for strong bones and a healthy immune system. Soy milk was once a favorite for many people, but up to 94 percent of soy crops are GMO (countless studies show GMOs cause a list of diseases). Other healthy milk substitutes are milk made from hemp, rice, cashew, and coconut. Keep it simple when you buy milk alternatives. If you're buying milk for everyday purposes, avoid flavored versions like honey, chocolate, or vanilla; you can add any of these ingredients from a source you trust to better control what you're consuming. Also, opt for the "unsweetened" version always; there's no need for replaced sugar in milk. For most products, the less ingredients, the better. Companies have to keep costs down, and you have no idea where the honey, chocolate, or sugar they use is sourced.

2. Juice

What is the point of juice; if you want apple juice, eat an apple; if you want orange juice, eat an orange. Juice takes fruits, and occasionally vegetables, which are already naturally sweet and adds water, sugar variations, and preservatives. Juice is marketed to be more appealing than whole fruit: you can buy a half-gallon of apple juice for $1.99 or buy one organic apple for $1.26. To the unconscious consumer, juice just seems like a better purchase for your money. But, the extra ingredients give you the minimum of whatever fruit is branded on the cover. Mott's apple juice for instance lists: water, apple juice concentrate, and ascorbic acid (vitamin C). How can apple juice be an ingredient in apple juice? Also, when a label reads "High in Vitamin C!" it usually means "High in Ascorbic Acid," a synthetic GMO version of vitamin C that acts more like a drug in the body than a vitamin. 

Even juices that claim to be sugar free have some form of sugar in them, renamed to meet regulation standards. A label can read "sugar-free" yet have high fructose corn syrup, a synthetic form of sugar that wreaks havoc on the body, lingers in your stomach — since your body is unable to properly expel it —, and negatively impacts your liver, and therefore the rest of your body.Since your liver is in charge of metabolizing sugar in the body, once it reaches it's limit, all excess sugar become fat.

Instead of heading to the juice aisle, make your own juices at home. Grab a pitcher, add filtered water and get creative. Lemonade, orangeade, limeade, and iced tea are some of the refreshing options that are easy and healthy to make. Instead of using sugar, try raw honey or coconut sugar to give your drink a sweeter taste without the negative unnatural side effects.

These marketing tricks apply to soda also; diet soda works exactly the same as regular soda in the body. What they cut off out calories, they make up in high sugar content.

3. Greens

When it comes to a healthy leaf, the health unconscious usually think of lettuce; it's green, with all the other greens, and a head of lettuce is $1 while everything that's good for you is $2.99 and up — what would the average consumer choose? Lettuce has no little to no nutritional value, except being filled with water.

A start to a a healthier alternative is spinach; it's typically inexpensive ($2-$4) has no natural taste and is versatile; you can eat it raw, cook it lightly or steam it. Spinach carries an abundance of vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium, potassium, vitamin b-12, vitamin C, and vitamin A. It's light taste makes it perfect for any meal and it can easily be elevated with some salt, pepper, and olive oil.

Once you begin to enjoy spinach, upgrade to more versatile green with distinct flavors: arugula, kale, swiss chard, mizuna, watercress, etc. 

4. Margarine

Margarine was created as a cheap butter substitute; with no dairy, it could last longer and travel farther without spoiling. Margarine is made from:

  • Vegetable oil, which is filled with unhealthy fats that cause internal inflammation and lead to different types of disease: cancer, diabetes, heart disease

  • Water

  • Salt

  • Emulsifiers, which are preservatives that destroy our guts — the most important place when it comes to health. Without healthy gut bacteria, food isn't processed properly and essential nutrients aren't absorbed. Emulsifiers are linked to diseases such as obesity, cancer, and heart disease.

Throw it out. If you use margarine as a spread on toast, become better than that salt flavored yellow brick. Get a little creative and try one of these DIY spreads. If you use margarine to cook with, opt for coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil instead. Both offer more natural health benefits without the additives and preservatives that cause disease. Additionally, butter can be used (especially for baking), but opt for unsalted.

A Simple Start

These swap ideas are just the start of your healthy journey. Take a look in your fridge and consider all the other things you can get rid of and replace with healthier alternatives.

Realistically, you don't have to cut out juices or soda forever. But when you begin your transition into a healthier lifestyle, the best way to deal with cravings and old habits is to quit immediately. Once you've been committed for two months and see the changes you want, incorporate old items back into your life with limitation.