healthy living challengeIf small lifestyle changes could help you lose weight, increase your energy, improve your mood and your overall health, would you take the challenge?

The Diet challenge involves eliminating unhealthy items from your diet and replacing them with whole foods.

The new year is always a time for resolutions. Fad diets, miracle products and aggressive jump-starts to “better health” are abundant as the new year approaches. Trust me, “the latest and greatest” is not going to be the thing that will help you finally reach your weight loss goals.

Instead, choose a healthier, holistic approach to healthy living.

One component of  my approach to weight loss – what I like to call the ‘Diet Alternative’ – is to transition to a healthier, whole food diet.

Here are some steps to get you started:

  1. Read food labels. Beware of artificial ingredients, like high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), that are added to convenience items, such as baked goods, to improve shelf life. High fructose corn syrup is an industrial food product and far from “natural” or a naturally occurring substance. Your body is not built to process these artificial ingredients. Barry M. Popkin, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has published widely on the dangers of sugar-sweetened drinks and their contribution to the obesity epidemic.  In a review of HFCS in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,(i) he explains that HFCS is absorbed more rapidly than regular sugar, and that it doesn’t stimulate insulin or leptin production. This prevents you from triggering the body’s signals for being full and may lead to overconsumption of total calories. He concludes by saying that:“… the increase in consumption of HFCS has a temporal relation to the epidemic of obesity, and the overconsumption of HFCS… may play a role in the epidemic of obesity.”
  2. Avoid wheat. There have been numerous reports about the wheat that is used in our foods. It is so far removed from the original wheat of our ancestors and can lead to a host of issues, including raising blood sugar and causing abdominal belly fat. As cardiologist Dr. William Davis noted in his book, Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight and Find Your Path Back to Health, today’s hybridized wheat contains sodium azide, a known toxin. It also goes through a gamma irradiation process during manufacturing. Enjoy other grains, such as spelt, millet and rye.
  3. Avoid all fast food and junk food. The goal is to minimize prepackaged, overly processed, artificially preserved and prepared foods. Highly processed foods have been stripped of their nutrient content and fiber; in other words, they have no nutritional value and will only leave you hungry. Refined white flour, white pasta, and white sugar are just some examples.

So what will your challenge be this week? I’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to leave a comment!



(i) Dufault, R., LeBlanc, B., Schnoll, R. et al. 2009. Mercury from chlor-alkali plants: Measured concentrations in food product sugar. Environ Health. 26(8):2.


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