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  1. Get rid of products loaded with simple sugars and those that are loaded with high fructose corn syrup. These kinds of things are high in calories and wreak havoc on your digestive process making your body dependent on regular “sugar hits.” Replace these simple sugars with natural sweeteners like agave nectar, honey or brown rice sugar which much sweeter than sugar – so you will use less. Agave nectar, in particular, does not create a sugar rush, and is much less disturbing to the body’s blood sugar levels than white sugar.
  2. Get rid of products with chemical additives like preservatives, flavors and coloring. A good rule of thumb, highlighted by Michael Pollan in his book Food Rules, is to avoid eating anything you cannot pronounce. This is especially important if you have kids, food additives may have a disproportionately greater health impact on children.
  3. Get rid of soda and energy drinks. Sodas and energy drinks are loaded with sugars, artificial coloring and flavoring. Many people forget to count the calories in these kinds of drinks, and they really add up.  Instead, drink lots of purified water; and if you are addicted to a sweet fizzy treat, try sparkling mineral water with a slice of cucumber, lemon or lime. You can also add a dash of juice to give it a soda-like feel and taste.
  4. If you cannot live with out crackers or chips around the house; choose ones that have three to five ingredients which you can recognize and pronounce. Stay away from anything partially hydrogenated and check sodium content. According to the 2005 Dietary Guidelines you should not exceed 2,300 mg of sodium a day if you’re a healthy adult, and not over 1,500 mg if you have high blood pressure, kidney disease or diabetes;  if you are African-American; or you’re middle-aged or older.
  5. Clean out your supply of white rice; and replace it with brown rice – which takes longer to cook, but as a whole food, it takes longer to digest than white rice, providing the body with sustained energy throughout the day. Brown rice contains the highest amount of B vitamins out of all grains. Additionally, it contains iron, vitamin E, amino acids, and linoleic acid. It is high in fiber and is extremely low in sodium.
  6. Break your habit of eating refined white flour bread and semolina or white flour pastas. Replace white bread with whole grain or sprouted wheat bread, and try whole grain or brown rice pastas.
  7. Get rid of sugar-filled breakfast cereals. Select instead all natural, whole grain breakfast cereals – look for the cereals with fewer ingredients and remember you will want to be able to pronounce each of the ingredients. You can also turn left over brown rice into rice porridge, or make up some old-fashioned or steel-cut oats for the fiber of a whole grains.
  8. Check the ingredients on your peanut butter and get rid of it if it contains added sugar and hydrogenated oils. Replace it with all natural peanut butter – to be certain read the label. If it has more than three ingredients and you have trouble pronouncing any of them, look for another brand. You can also try other varieties of nut butters such as almond, cashew or macadamia butters. My personal favorite is sunflower butter. Please note that these can be pricey, you can also try making your own by putting nuts through a food processor.
  9. Get rid of sugary yogurt filled with artificial flavors, gelatin, and preservatives. Replace them with all-natural yogurt with live cultures. You might want to try Greek yogurt, since it is strained through a cloth, it’s thicker, more filling and it contains twice the protein than other yogurt. If you want to sweeten your yogurt add fresh fruit – especially berries, or sliced bananas.
  10. LOOK at “sell by” dates and throw out old condiments and spices that have expired. Spices can grow moldy and lose their flavor. Try shopping at a food co-op or similar place where you can buy fresh spices in bulk – getting only as much as you need for a week or two of recipes. The most expensive aspect of spices is the packaging, so buying in bulk is both a fresher and more economic alternative. You can also grow one or two of your favorite spices in a garden box outside your window – some will even do well in a flower-pot inside the house. Use your home-grown spices fresh or dry them to add to your dishes.
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