3 diet changes for better health

by Lori and Michelle on March 28, 2012

hello friends!

you all sure love your protein! so happy to see everyone loving our easy chocolate protein muffins. many asked about trying a flax or chia gel for the egg. and like we mentioned in the post, we tried 3 times at trying that and failed each time. feel free to try and let us know how yours turns out. we are still determined to get a vegan version, we are still trying different things.

well today is a busy day for us and we are turning our blog over to the wonderful Amber from Almost Vegan and cookbook writer of Practically Raw. Check out our review of Practically Raw cookbook here.

Three Simple Diet-Based Changes for a Healthier You

Lifestyle gurus will tell you to make SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and
Timely. But unless you have a near-perfect diet (whatever that means) already, I actually recommend
avoiding making goals that are too specific or can be too accurately measured. Why? Because despite
the “attainable” and “realistic” recommendations, many folks overshoot what they’ll want, or even be
able, to do in their day-to-day life.

Instead, I recommend making the following three simple and gradual changes to your diet. You can make
them at any pace you want, to any degree you choose. I often find that small, frequent choices add up to
more lasting change than a grandiose, one-time resolution.

1. Minimize added sugars. Sugar is one nutrient that our body has no true need for—we eat it
for pleasure, pure and simple. But too much sugar can have a host of negative consequences,
increasing the risks for insulin resistance, diabetes, obesity, tooth decay, and more. Take
the opportunity to minimize the added sugars in your diet wherever you can. Even natural
sweeteners like maple syrup and brown rice syrup can contribute to “sugar overdose,” so try to
quell your sweet tooth with fresh fruit or use stevia to sweeten when possible.

2. Emphasize healthy fats. Dietary fat helps us feel full and satiated and is needed for important
tasks in the body, like providing cell membrane fluidity and transmitting nerve impulses. Fats
also help us absorb fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K, and plays a role in maintaining
healthy skin and hair. Sufficient essential fatty acid intake has even been linked to mental health!
I strongly believe that the types of fats you consume matter far more than the total amount. Focus
on ditching harmful trans fats and long-chain saturated fats from animal sources in favor of heart-
healthy monounsaturated fats (like in olives, nuts, and avocado), unrefined essential omega-3
fatty acids (in hemp, chia, and flax seeds), and antimicrobial medium-chain saturated fats (from
plant-based sources like coconut products).

3. Eat more leafy greens—even “in stealth.” Everyone knows leafy greens are low in calories and
yet are packed with calcium, iron, fiber, protein, vitamin K, and more…but not everyone wants to
nosh on a huge salad every day. That’s ok! Find other ways to incorporate greens in to your diet.
Drink your greens in the form of a daily juice or smoothie. Include them in wraps or burritos.
Blend them into soups, sauces, and even hummus. Pulse them into homemade pesto. Discover
the magic of kale chips. Be creative!

With forgiving, flexible resolutions like these, you have a great chance to improve your diet in a long-
lasting, manageable way. Cheers to your health!

Amber Shea Crawley is a linguist, chef, and author specializing in healthful vegan and raw food. Known for her flexible recipes and friendly voice, she was classically trained in the art of gourmet living cuisine at the world-renowned Matthew Kenney Academy, graduating in 2010 as a certified raw and vegan chef. In 2011, she earned her Nutrition Educator certification at the Living Light Culinary Arts Institute. Her first cookbook, Practically Raw: Flexible Raw Recipes Anyone Can Make, debuted in March 2012. Amber blogs at AlmostVeganChef.com.

thanks Amber!!!! we totally agree with your 3 steps to make a change for better health. we like to say –  do things slowly. if you do changes slowly then it usually makes things a little easier. slow changes that soon become part of your lifestyle, naturally.

now your turn. what are 3 things you recommend for someone to make changes for better health?

till next time,



PS: we have some big news coming your way soon.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

katie @KatieDid March 28, 2012 at 7:53 am

yup couldn’t agree more with those points. Despite all sorts of different approaches to diet and health I think those 3 things are key and most view points should and do agree upon!
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the delicate place March 28, 2012 at 8:07 am

oh i’m excited about the big news! my 3 tips are 1. water water water 2. only eat whole foods, nothing in a box. EVER. 3. protein + fat are not only a friend to body comp & skin beauty but maintaining high energy levels as well!
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allie March 28, 2012 at 8:23 am

what’s the news?! what what what?!!

Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather March 28, 2012 at 8:31 am

3 great tips Amber! Definitely limiting the sugar and upping greens makes me feel so much better.
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Kris | iheartwellness.com March 28, 2012 at 8:39 am

Oooooo!! I can’t wait for your big news!!!! Fill a sista in 😉

Ok, I love Amber!! Great tips! I agree with the sugar, the fats and the greens, I would also add in omegas!!! They’ve changed my life 😉 Ohhhh and maybe healthy chocolate 😉

Love you ladies!

Michaela March 28, 2012 at 8:58 am

I agree with all 3 advice just modify them a bit. First of all with fat group I suggest everyone fermented cod liver oil butter oil blend (for dha epa vitaminA D AND K2!!!!!!!!!) also added raw butter Paul Jaminet (autor of perfect health diet) advice to give my little girl raw butter as much as she likes but limits her nuts intake to macadamia and couples of salmon and one brazil nut for selenium, I would also change sources of omega 3 for animal like salmon sardines because of poor conversion of DHA EPA from plants, also full added fat fermented raw goat or sheep kefir( for probiotic and vitamin K2 too!). With greens I do agree but for kids or for someone with gut issues doctors (Like Chris Kresser ) suggest to cooked veggies well in bone broth etc. or drink only green juice where is no fiber. I have no problem with green but my girl and hubby can tolerate greens only in juice but feel very well nourishing after bone broth with well cooked veggies. With sugar I absolutelly agree we do not need any sugar I have just read primal body primal mind and highly recommend book anyone with sugar issue. I limit my family sugar intake to berries and sweet potato and for little one sometimes white rice.

Michaela March 28, 2012 at 9:11 am

One more thing animal sources of vitamin A because or poor conversion (only3% from plants betacarotene) so raw butter egg yolk fermented cod liver oil. In this I disagree with amber about dithing animal sources of fat. Also only plant based sources of vitamin K2 is natto, but not everyone likes the taste so next is animals sources goose liver butter oil, grassfed raw butter raw cheeses egg yolk etc

Brittany @ GOtheXtraMile March 28, 2012 at 9:23 am

Completely agree with all of those! Although I’m not raw, I do follow those guidelines :)
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Lori and Michelle March 28, 2012 at 9:49 am

Brittany we are not 100% raw just love wholesome foods :)

Helene @healthyfrenchie March 28, 2012 at 10:02 am

I agree with all 3 points. My main one is to make everything from scratch (or most things anyway), watch for weird ingredients in things like yogurt or almond milk that are supposed to be healthy, and eat fruits and vegetable with every meal :)
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Mandiee @ Kabochavore March 28, 2012 at 11:26 am

I completely agree with 1 & 3! I focus on getting a few servings of leafy greens a day to keep my energy at its best. However, I’ve found that eating too many healthy fats leaves me feeling lethargic because of IBS in my family. It’s all about balance!

Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) March 28, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Actually those are perfect recommendations. I hate setting clients up for failure and setting realistic attainable goals is really the best way to go. I think minimizing heavily processed foods is a good way to go too. Also taking baby steps is important. If you try to make bold statements and fail, then you give up. Making small changes weekly or daily will make you feel more accomplished and boost your confidence to go further! Great post ladies. Can’t wait to hear your news!!!
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Ela March 28, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Awesome, Amber!

Love to see you guys teaming up.

My three pieces of advice? Those were really good ones!
My best three to add to those might be 1) Make dinner your lightest meal, if you can work it into your schedule. And try to be done eating before 8pm. 2) Drink plenty of water but don’t drink too much water, especially earlier in the day. 3) If you’re done eating and are still hungry, wait fifteen minutes and then see if you’re still hungry, and if you are, have a bit more.
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Nicole @ Making Good Choices March 28, 2012 at 4:49 pm

can’t wait to hear your big news!!
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hihorosie March 28, 2012 at 8:59 pm

Great post, Amber! Love a slow (aka at one’s pace) and more ideal approach to healthy eating. I agree with all three points. My addition would be watch the salt intake. Like sugar, where we tend to overload on salt, which leads to a whole host of issues. Alternatives, such as various seaweeds, veggies or different spices, could be used to add flavor. All the best to you, Amber!

Can’t wait to hear the news, ladies!
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Anastasia@healthymamainfo.com March 28, 2012 at 10:49 pm

I wish everybody on our planet would get to read this post! Thank you!

Lolita @ Peace, Love and Greens March 29, 2012 at 1:49 am

Love love love this post. I like that those are 3 pieces of advice that can be applied to any person’s diet, be in raw vegan or paleo etc. Definitely great dietary advice :)
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