A while back, I read an interesting post on Your Vibrant Family about 3 Simple Steps to Improve Your Family’s Health, and it got me thinking. Alicia Michelle (the awesome woman behind Your Vibrant Family) brought up some important tweaks to use to boost our families’ health, but for where I am in my health journey, I needed something a little deeper.
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As always, I am not a health professional, and I do not play one on the internet. I am simply a mom sharing her best tips and tricks for supporting her family’s health and wellness. Always talk with your doctor before beginning a new wellness routine — bonus points if you can find a holistic practitioner or Functional Medicine doctor near you! View my complete terms & conditions here.
Remember the Gut Health Super Bundle I talked about in my Nourishing the Body during & after Chemo post back in March? Nutrition and gut-healing have been front and center in my brain ever since my cancer diagnosis, and that bundle has been such a great resource for getting us on the right track. So, if I had to take all those great resources and everything I’ve learned over the past year and boil them down into THREE actionable steps for others who desperately want or need a healthy-living jumpstart, what would I choose?
Lucky you! You’re the first to find out! ?
Three Steps That Will Make the MOST IMMEDIATE Difference for Your Family’s Health:
1) Cut sugar.
Refined, white sugar is one of the big no-no’s if you are diabetic, hypo-glycemic, or have cancer — along with a multitude of other health issues — because of its inflammatory properties. Last week I posted about all those things no one ever told me about ending chemo and the crazy inflammation flares I was having. Turns out, one of my HUGE triggers was white sugar. Go figure. ? And this stuff isn’t good for you otherwise “healthy” folks out there, either!
Wait… WHY is white sugar so bad??
Basically, white sugar is straight sucrose. All the processing the cane or beet plant goes through strips out all its minerals and nutrients. When we ingest straight sucrose, it acts more like a drug for the body than a food. It feeds all the bad bacteria in our guts, which weakens our immune systems, which leads to sugar cravings, which further weakens our systems, and the whole cycle perpetuates itself. Have you ever noticed how HARD it is to “quit” sugar?? Man… It is NO fun. But, it is SO necessary to help our families get healthy!
For more information about why process sugar is so rotten, check out these awesome posts & resources:
- Why is White Refined Sugar So Unhealthy? by Kitchen Stewardship
- The Harmful Effects of Sugar by Wellness Mama
- Zapping Sugar Cravings by The Weston A. Price Foundation
Our family is finally at a place where we no longer keep white sugar in the house. (Yay!) If I want to back cookies, I use a Paleo chocolate chip cookie recipe that uses nut butter and coconut sugar. (Yes, it’s still technically sugar, but it’s unrefined and unprocessed, so it’s at least a step in the right direction!) For everything else, I use raw honey or maple syrup. Still in moderation, but at least we’ve taken this one baby step away from white sugar!
Bonus Tip: While you’re cutting sugar, also go ahead and cut out food coloring and synthetic dyes! Petroleum-based food dyes have MASSIVE impact on our behavior and mental health. If your kids are acting crazy every time you give them M&Ms, it may not be JUST the sugar! By cutting out colored candies and snack cakes with colored frosting, you’ll be nixing both toxins at once! Check out this post for more information and one mom’s story.
2) Switch to fermented, sprouted, or soaked grains and legumes.
Grains, legumes, and nuts all contain phytic acid, which blocks mineral absorption in the body. Sprouting, soaking, or fermenting these food sources breaks down the phytic acid and “pre-digests” the harder-to-break-down substances. These processes allow our bodies to fully digest grains, legumes, and nuts and use the nutrients they provide.
I’ve made homemade bread with freshly-milled wheat for years, but I’ve recently started soaking the flour the night before and then baking the bread in the morning. Surprisingly, it turns out even better than it did before! Hooray! Plus, I don’t have the swelling up like a balloon issues if I soak the flour before baking. ?
For the times I’m — let’s just be brutally honest here — too LAZY to soak the flour ahead of time, we’ve found an AWESOME sprouted bread at our local Kroger and health food store. (There’s currently a $1 off coupon on the Rudi’s site, too!) It’s really hard to MAKE bread now that it’s so much easier to BUY it!
I also make sure to soak and dehydrate all our nuts and seeds. Quite frankly, they TASTE better this way! On salads, by the handful, in recipes — they’re just SO TASTY! Our 3-year-old will even eat crispy pecans by the handful. Take THAT picky phase!
3) Switch to nontoxic cleaning & body products.
Between sulfates, unpronounceable ingredients, petroleum-based products, and a bazillion preservatives in our convenient, store-bought products, we are SURROUNDED and IMMERSED in chemicals day in and day out.
Typically, when all systems are functioning properly, our bodies are amazing machines for eliminating toxins. But when we are so heavily inundated with chemicals, our bodies have a hard time keeping up. All those un-eliminated toxins get stuck in our systems, clogging up the works, and wreaking all sorts of havoc to our health.
Who needs THAT?!
In my post on Detoxing for Chemo, I talk in great detail about how we’ve reduced our toxic load by switching to non-toxic cleaning and body products. So, I won’t reinvent the wheel here. But, DO go check out that post for specific ideas, non-toxic brands and products we love, and DIY recipes we use regularly.
Are YOU ready to make the switch?
Making the switch in these three areas will help reduce the inflammatory response in the body, reduce the toxic load on your body, and allow the gut to start healing. Obviously, more changes are needed for complete and lasting healing, but these three baby steps are a GREAT place to start.
As you’re working on your baby steps, don’t forget to support your body well with a Home Health Arsenal! When the nasties threaten your family, you’ll never have to feel helpless again!
What baby steps toward health are you ready to make in your life? Tell me in the comments!
Let’s cheer each other on as we strive toward health and healing!
As a former University Resident Director, Career Counselor, Certified Personality Trainer, and high school Spanish teacher, Laura has quite the “scattered” background — with one underlying theme: education! She writes to teach and inspire women on topics related to faith, family, and lifework. She is also a resume writer, specializing in resumes for moms, career changers, and new graduates.