As I ‘ve aged I have had to review my personal health plan. When we are young and invincible our bodies seem to be able to recuperate from a lot of the traumas we put it through – late nights, too much alcohol, over-the-top workouts, junk food…

After awhile our bodies begin shouting, “ENOUGH!” Some of us listen and make healthy changes. Some of us continue our old habits and use the excuse of getting old to explain the excess weight, aches and pains, inflammation and illness.

If you’re tired of feeling old and worn out here are a few things to consider.

Are you eating REAL food?

You know, the stuff your mom used to make from scratch – real mashed potatoes, vegetables that come from the garden, not a can, meat without breading or sugar/salt laden gravies. Salads with fresh fruits and veggies dressed with fresh dressing.

Remember, you are what you eat. If you’re not happy with what you’re seeing or how you’re feeling check the labels on the foods you eat. Hint: if you’re eating foods without labels, (fresh produce, freshly cut meat) you’re on the right track.

Your body needs a plethora of vitamins and minerals, along with some fiber, protein, fat and carbohydrates.

  • Want lots of vitamins, minerals and fiber? Go with fruits and veggies, the colorful ones! And eat as many as you can raw.
  • Protein keeps up with the maintenance your body needs – muscle, skin, hair, etc.
  • Fat keeps your skin supple and hair shiny. Of course you want the fats that support your body, things like olive oil, avocados, coconut oil, butter from grass-fed cows and eggs from free-range chickens.
  • When looking for healthy carbohydrates, go with those naturally occurring in starchy vegetables. Limit processed grains. Notice, I didn’t say cut them out. When you eat unprocessed grains take time to eat them slowly, chew them well and savor the experience.

How much do YOU need to eat?

Remember how nice it is to go to a fancy restaurant and have the waiter place a beautifully plated meal in front of you? You know, one that has lots of color, texture and flavor. You slowly taste each food the chef has prepared and marvel at the way everything goes together. When you finish the food on you plate you feel satisfied.

Why not cook a meal you would set in front of company? Yes, YOU are worth the effort! Plan a flavorful, colorful balanced meal. Plate your meal before you serve it. Arrange the food so that it is inviting. The key to success is COLOR!

Begin with a nice crunch salad. If the thought of looking at iceberg lettuce every night bores you, be creative.   There are lots of different types of greens to consider. Here’s a simple salad to get your started, and consider a visit to your local farmers’ market for unique seasonal options.

Choose colorful veggies and prepare them with flavor. If you’re not a veggie fan because boiled anything makes you gag, stop boiling and begin sautéing! When you sauté you’re not throwing the vitamins and minerals out with the water, you get to add healthy oils and use tasty spices.

Preparing meat can be quick and easy. If your oven didn’t come with a broiler pan, visit your closest kitchen store and invest in one. Whether it’s a simple pork chop, an expensive cut of beef or a fish filet, a simple sprinkle with salt and pepper and a quick broil will produce a tasty anchor for your plate. When considering the size of your meat portion an easy rule to follow is to match the portion of the meat to the size of the palm of your hand.

Now for the carbs. Go light! Unless you’ve been out gardening all day or moving the furniture as you vacuum you probably don’t need to add a lot quick energy back into your body. A general rule for portion control is no more than ¼ cup of rice, pasta or legumes OR a piece of bread.

Want something sweet for dessert? Consider fresh fruit with yogurt and a little raw honey. Sprinkle it with some coconut or chopped nuts. Remember, you just want a little sweet taste to end the meal, not an anchor to hold you to the couch for the rest of the evening. In fact, the best ending to a good meal is a stroll around the block checking out what the neighbors are up to and thinking how nice it is to be alive.