When I talk to people about the importance of whole, nourishing foods, I speak from experience. When I was 18, I struck out on my own for the first time, and that’s when I started to indulge in junk foods. Chocolate with dairy, refined white sugar, fast foods, fried chicken, pizza, cakes, cookies, gummy bears—I ate anything that I felt like eating. And I quickly became addicted, which led to the familiar ups and downs of eating unhealthy foods.
You might know the cycle—eating sugar gives you that wonderful rush, but then you come crashing down and you try to escape the “low” by eating even more processed foods. This vicious cycle usually develops into an extremely poor relationship with food.
Five years of unhealthy eating landed me in the hospital with a lump the size of a golf ball sticking out of my neck and a diagnosis of stage 1 cancer in my lymphatic system. My immune system was weakened, I was also diagnosed with chronic fatigue, and my blood work turned up Epstein-Barr virus and warning signs of leukemia. But even though I knew sugar was destroying my health, all I could think about was my next fix.
I had to break this vicious cycle once and for all to restore my health, but the thought of giving up ice cream, burgers, tacos, and chocolate for the rest of my life was almost too much to bear. There must be a way, I thought, to enjoy these indulgences in a more nourishing way without sacrificing flavor. And that’s when I started creating recipes filled with nutrients like protein, vitamin E, and antioxidants to replace my favorite processed foods.
During my healing process, every time an impulse popped up, I thought, “Okay, how can I fulfill this craving in a healthful way?” And then I would make, say, a chocolate-peanut butter cup using real cacao powder and maple syrup instead of reaching for a Reese’s cup.
Using this swap-out system, along with juicing six times per day, I was cancer-free in three months. The tumor completely dissolved, I’m still cancer-free to this day, and my relationship with food has completely transformed. And if I can do it, you can do it too.
Making the Change to Whole Foods
When someone is struggling to get healthier, I suggest two things. First, commit to having a glass of fresh juice every single day. This will take care of the basic nutrition your body needs to energize and stay in the healthy zone.
Secondly, ask yourself, “What is my biggest obstacle in terms of food?” What do you eat that you know isn’t good for you, but you just can’t resist the urge? It could be anything from chocolate to cheese to chips. Once you determine the culprit, seek out healthier upgrades.
The best way do this is to make homemade, healthier versions of your favorite foods. If that seems too daunting, go to the health food store and buy organic, non-GMO alternatives. This simple act can help you get over the guilt associated with eating junk and put your mind and body at ease. From there, it’s a process of continuing to refine your eating habits. If you’re already eating the cleanest cheese possible, for instance, but still find that it’s a weakness, look at how many times a week you eat it, and commit to cut back. If you indulge in cheese four times a week, make two times a week your goal. This way, you aren’t cutting yourself off completely, but you are taking control of your food—instead of letting your food control you.
Using this upgrade system, I shed all the excess weight that I had gained from processed foods and refined sugars, healed my body, and transformed my relationship with food.
7 Tips for Changing Bad Eating Habits
To start your journey to an upgraded diet, focus on these seven simple ideas.
- Get proper nutrition every single da y—that will decrease your cravings for the bad stuff.
- Make it a habit to eat nutrient-rich foods , even on days you don’t feel like it. Our bodies need real food to survive and thrive. It’s common for human beings to sabotage their eating and not take care of themselves properly. My rule is that no matter how stressful my day is, I take care of my nutritional needs with a juice, smoothie, or salad—even if I don’t feel like it. The body always responds well to nutrition.
- Fresh juice is one of the quickest ways to add nutrition into your body. Juice infuses a high dose of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients straight into the bloodstream. It’s a powerful way to instantly get cellular nutrition. Try a green juice made with kale, spinach, cucumber, ginger, green apple, and lemon. It’s the best dose of energy ever.
- Keep in mind that there are always healthier, natural alternatives to the bad stuff. Instead of heading to the drive-thru, try making a grass-fed beef burger and French fries with avocado oil. In my books, I call this the “upgrade system.” When we upgrade our choices, we upgrade our health.
- Remember that no matter what health issue you may be dealing with right now, it is possible to heal. When I was suffering from food addictions, I never believed I could be healthy until it happened. And there are many, many stories like mine, so there is hope.
- Cut out the “four usual suspects” that cause health issues. These are gluten, refined sugar, dairy, and genetically modified ingredients (GMOs). Just one week without these health-sapping substances can make a huge difference. Don’t feel like you can do all four at once? Start with one and grow from there. The benefits are worth it.
- Eat local, seasonal, and organic when possible. The best option is to grow your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs if you can.
Did You Know?
Fresh juice is one ofthe quickest ways to infuse nutrition into your body.
The ultimate goal is to live the healthiest, most vibrant life possible. And that starts with making healthier choices every single day. Because every day is a new opportunity to heal.
Liana’s Top Supplements
Here are the nutrients that I take daily:
- Bentonite Clay
- Colloidal silver (Sovereign Silver)
Whole Foods Shopping List & Recipe Guide
Here are some of the foods I keep on hand at all times, plus two of my favorite recipes to try, excerpted from 10-Minute Recipes.
- Almond butter
- Almond flour
- Cacao powder and cacao butter
- Coconut oil
- Maple syrup
- Organic chocolate chips
- Organic peanut butter
- Organic vanilla
- Sea salt
- Tigernut flour
Written by Liana Werner Gray for Better Nutrition and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.