Beginning the Journey to Achieving Wellness

Beginning the Journey of Achieving Optimal Wellness–This is part one of a six-month series that will be published monthly until June 2023.

One afternoon, I was at Whole Foods enjoying my huge vegan salad. Two tables from where I sat were three children eating their apples with the biggest smiles, expressing whose apple tasted the best. Truthfully, I have never seen children so excited about eating fruit. It was evident that candy or sugar was never a part of their childhood.

Most people who have the chronic diseases of Obesity, Diabetes [Adult-onset], High Blood Pressure, and High Cholesterol acquire them by eating foods that are high in calories, fat, sugar, and salt. Yet, with proper nutrition, these diseases can be brought under control allowing the person to enjoy optimal health.

There are so many misconceptions about achieving optimal wellness. Reaching your peak mental and physical health will never happen with quick-fix diets or exercising until you’re ready to pass out. People who have great health have made an intentional commitment “to do no harm” to their minds and bodies. Achieving and maintaining optimal health requires strength and perseverance. It is a lifelong journey.

When you decide to change your lifestyle, the most significant info that you need to know is that you are the enemy and your body will sabotage your efforts. Food cravings cause most setbacks. Love ice cream? Purchase a blender, and silicone popsicle molds, and make your own with your favorite fruit, agave, vegan whip, almond, or coconut milk [unsweetened], add nuts, coconut pieces, etc.

Misconception: Learned behaviors and taste preferences are almost impossible to change. We agree that food provides enjoyment! Our upbringing has everything to do with our food likes and dislikes and how we prepare our food. The children who enjoyed their apples as if they were slices of apple pie were given nature’s candy–fruit from infancy. Change is possible and will happen if your goals are realistic.

Many of us did not grow up on fast food. Yet, we have made these disease factories a billion-dollar industry. Sadly we have compromised our very existence to enjoy bad health in a bag containing a 1500-calorie meal packed with the recommended amount of sodium for two to three days.

Great News! Our tastebuds can be retrained!

Fact: You are entering a warzone against yourself. Changing your tastes from unhealthy to healthy foods requires continuous strategic planning and implementation. The first thoughts are definitely overwhelming. So, am I throwing away all of the food in my refrigerator? No! Before we subtract food, we are going to bring in some healthy additions.

Choose a fresh, dark leafy green vegetable [kale, collards, mustards, chard, or spinach] that you like or think that you can learn to like because you will eat a large bowl at least once a day. In fact, you will begin dinner by eating your leafy greens. Spinach and kale make great salads. Adding a couple of small slices of [one-inch width] cornbread or cutting two thin slices of a tasty but healthy deli-baked bread will give you something to look forward to and establish the healthy habit of eating veggies that are low-calorie but high in-nutritious value.

Why leafy dark greens? They are power-packed with nutrients that produce a rapid mind and body response of achieving one giant step on the journey to wellness.

Prep and technique for cooking the greens will probably be different from the method you are accustomed to using. Restrictions: No pork products. If you must have meat, use a smoked turkey leg that has been boiled for 20 to 30 minutes to get rid of excess sodium before its added to the greens.

The secret to great-tasting greens is to sauté diced garlic, red onion, and red pepper in olive or avocado oil in your pot first. Add three inches of spring water, add the greens in layers, add salt sparingly to each layer of greens, and put your smoked turkey in the pot. Cover and cook for at least one hour. Greens should not swim in the water–too much water causes loss of their nutritional value. Spinach should not be cooked using this method.

When beginning the journey, you may crave junk food, not because you are hungry, but because random eating between meals is a habit. Eat a bowl of greens!

Two behaviors are guaranteed to sabotage your efforts to change your current lifestyle. 1. Eating while watching anything electronic, including your cell phone–just turn it off. 2. Not eating at the table with a sturdy chair. Do not eat in a recliner, sitting on the sofa, or in an easy chair. All promote the habit of overeating. No table? Buy a nice wooden tray table.

Set up your meal times as if you are in a restaurant. Hopefully, your family can join you at dinner to celebrate your decision to achieve optimal health. If you live alone, then celebrate yourself.

Your assignment: 1. Pray for God’s help. The struggle of changing to achieve optimal health is real. It takes structure and discipline to reduce the intake of high-calorie, high-fat, high-sugar, and high-sodium foods that provide little to no nutrients. 2. Keep a daily journal. If you failed to reach your goals for today–do not be hard on yourself. Identify what caused you to eat the entire pie. Next time buy one slice of pie from your local supermarket. Set daily realistic goals that can be accomplished. 3. What is the one food that you would like to keep in your dietary intake?

For example, love macaroni and cheese? Choose one day on the weekend to have 1-2 cups of mac and cheese. Do not cook a large pan or you will eat all of it! Setting limitations by using portion size on foods containing too many calories will enhance your body’s natural response to losing weight.

Along with losing weight, I lost Diabetes, High Cholesterol, Shortness of Breath, and Painful Knee and Ankle Joints. My High Blood Pressure has been stable for two years and I only take one pill.

As you feed your body with the proper foods you will enjoy an increase in mental alertness and physical strength. The greatest joy of enjoying better health is looking at the new you in the mirror! You will have yourself to thank.

“Beloved, I pray that in every way you may prosper and enjoy good health, as your soul also prospers.” –3 John 1:2

Italian Stuffed Collard Greens

Author: steps2successwithspiritualsolutions

It takes courage, perseverance, faith, and trust to serve God in today's unstable world. Yet, we are never alone. Pray daily and pray often. Study the Bible. The Scriptures are a Love Letter from God to those who accept Jesus as their personal Savior. You will receive comfort, knowledge, and wisdom. God says, "I have loved you with an everlasting love." Jeremiah 31:3. Be blessed in Jesus' name. Amen.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: