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Mention the phrase “healthy eating” and look around for how many eyes roll. The thought of it sends us into flashbacks of never-ending salads and cottage cheese. Can we tweak the wording ever so slightly? What if we start using “healthful” instead. After all, we want to be fulfilled in our overall health, yes? As I have mentioned before, I have tried just about every diet though the years. There seems to be a new one popping up constantly. “Research shows…” and “you can see the instant results that…” It’s one promise after another that everyone buys into (mentally, emotionally, and financially) only to be left hangry and confused. The weight drops but as soon as a piece of birthday cake touches their lips – boom – the pounds shoot right back up, maybe even surpassing the original total. How frustrating?! Losing weight is not the only fitness goal to set our minds to. It may be to gain weight, build muscle, or run longer distances. Each person has their unique fitness needs and there is a nutrition plan to match.

A meal plan based on quick solutions for quick results is not long-lasting. In order to see the results we desire and live out the life we have envisioned, eating right has to be a part of that lifestyle. Making that decision, I would say, is close to 75% of the battle. Once we make up our minds to do something, good luck telling us “no.”

What motivates you to make the lifestyle changes to live the life you desire?

Is it to look good? Great! That should be a part of it. However, that reason alone will not drive you enough when it battle gets hard; and it will. Perhaps you want the energy and strength to get down on the floor and play with your kids. Maybe there is a marathon you want to take on. Have you ever felt the embarrassment of not fitting in an airplane seatbelt or on a carnival ride? Do you get winded going up stairs and pray no one hears your uncontrollable puffs of breath? Is there a fitness contest or beauty pageant for which you are training? The motivations are endless, but they all tend to pull on our heart strings, especially those attached to insecurities.

Once you have chosen your deep-rooted motivation, write it out.

Now for the food portion of today’s program! Again, I am not a nutritionist. I have tried just about every diet plan and product and the results have been less than stellar. Now, I am researching and testing what I am gathering to be the unshakable truth of the nutrition God has provided. Why are we looking to man who is always in a hurry and creating shortcuts? The method of shopping along the outside of the grocery store is one I firmly believe in. All that we need to restore health in our bodies, minds, hearts, and souls comes straight from the One who created them.

That is a big reason behind my ventures with the Daniel’s Fast. It seems so strict and immediately puts people off with its disciplines of…

no bread (unless homemade from all natural ingredients)

no meat

no dairy

no sugar

no alcohol,

nothing processed

That’s a lot of “no’s.” If I were to think only in what I cannot have, I would get to bread and quit. This was not meant to be an everyday deal. We should allow ourselves "the good food" too. My goal is to allow two cheats a week. Not two cheat days! However, if I am celebrating with friends and family or I just cannot shake a craving, yes, I allow myself the privilege. Meanwhile, what I can have is so much more satisfying!

Fruits (the healthful carbs)

Veggies (including potatoes and sweet potatoes)

Whole grains (notice I did not say “multigrain” – quinoa, rice, oats)

Nuts and fresh ground peanut butter, almond butter, and cashew butter

Almond or coconut milk

Pure 100% cocoa

The latter on the “no list” is the biggest lesson I have taken away from the fast. Especially as a resident of the United States of America it is alarming how much processed food we consume. It is astronomical the amounts of chemically created food we are ingesting each day. Now, I will say that during times of when I am not fasting, yet still maintaining healthful eating habits, I do add in the protein of lean, organic or grass-fed meat. One of the next items I will soon try is unpasteurized milk from a local dairy farm. Together, we will explore the benefits and the setbacks.

As a heads up, my dietary needs are to encompass my lifestyle. Athletics are a big part of my daily activity and I will be starting marathon training soon. As an entrepreneur, my days are sometimes a blur or I find myself in the hustle and bustle of traveling. Needing affordable, healthy options for on the go was always the challenge before. As a person with less of a sweet tooth and too great a love for chips and bread, I do not turn to the countless sugary “health” bars. I am looking for savory, healthful options to feed my needs. What I consume may not be what you need. However, with the foundation laid above, there is a combination of the list that will establish a life choice to fit your needs. You will thank God every single day for the transformation it will bring. Now that I have discovered recipes that combat the busy and the budget, I will share those with you as we go. Now that you have the foundation for the can-do foods, start writing out what you actually like to eat out of each category. We’ll put them to use to feed our sweet tooths, our savory cravings, and our need to be fed –

heart, mind, soul, and strength.

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