Guide For Transitioning To A Healthier Diet

At this point, most of us know what foods are healthy. The challenge is no longer in finding the best health-promoting foods, but rather conveniently incorporating them into the diet on a daily basis without overextending our time budget. What then is the best route to take when aiming to integrate more healthy foods into the diet by replacing the less-healthy options?

A common approach when transitioning to a new way of eating is to eliminate certain non-health promoting foods. However, the most effective way to seamlessly adopt a new eating plan is to include more health-promoting foods as opposed to eliminating the less healthy. This is a practical solution that works on a physiological level as well as a psychological one.

Physically, this approach is ideal in that it allows time for the body to detoxify itself. Healthier foods generally have more fiber, more chlorophyll and are often enzyme rich. These three components of healthy food will, however, take the body a bit of time to adapt to. By slowly adding foods that are rich in these nutrients, the body will grow used to them and actually begin to expect and even desire them over time.

Psychologically, adopting this “inclusion” approach is a sound strategy. Mentally knowing that you can still eat some of the foods you’re trying to wean yourself off of in the early stages of the new diet is a comfort to most. Simply starting a program that is less restrictive (and therefore not as daunting) will have a greater chance of being embraced and will eventually becoming routine.

One of the most effective ways to begin making the transition is to incorporate key cleansing foods in a form that is appealing. Whole food smoothies are the best way to do this. Blended with one’s choice of fresh fruit, they can accommodate most everyone. As mentioned, the key active ingredients for transitional purposes are fiber, chlorophyll and enzymes. As with any nutrient, fiber is best obtained from a whole food source. Both soluble and insoluble sources of fiber are important. Hemp, flax, greens and vegetables are a superior source. Whole grains are also a reasonable choice and sprouted are the best. Chlorophyll rich foods are the green ones — the darker the better. From basic lettuce to more exotic algae such as chlorella, spirulina and even phytoplankton, they are tremendously healthy.

Enzymes are prevalent in raw food.  Simply by incorporating more raw foods (such as fruit and vegetables) into your diet will ensure that your enzyme needs are covered. However, stress and the over consumption of refined foods can cause enzyme production to sharply decline. But the addition of fresh raw fruit is a good first step.

Other good whole food sources to add to a smoothie include coconut water, which is extremely rich in electrolytes, and a seed called Salba that is high in protein and essential fatty acids, including omega-3.

About Brendan
Brendan Brazier is a professional Ironman triathlete, two-time Canadian 50km Ultra Marathon Champion and bestselling author on performance nutrition. He is also the creator of the award-winning VEGA line of whole food products.    Brendan’s latest book, The Thrive Diet (Penguin, 2007), includes 100 balanced, plant-based, whole food recipes.  Visit Brendan at http://www.brendanbrazier.com

Join the Conversation

Login or sign upsign up to add a comment

jamielees, posted on April 21, 2010

I wish these articles were available in audio as I like to be tuned all day at work... listening to classes and interviews. Unfortunatley I can not read and do my job and the same time. But I can listen and do my job.

Password is case sensitive.