The "organic lifestyle" is becoming increasingly commonplace in the world today. Organic diets — which seemed to be a fad among young, hip college students or 20-somethings a decade or two ago — have been shown to yield significant health benefits and enormous potential to improve your quality of life. Here's a look at some tips for integrating more organic food into your life as an older adult.
The best time to start implementing a healthier diet centered around organic food is during your regular grocery trip. Take some time to evaluate your usual grocery list and ask yourself what you can replace with healthier alternatives. Some good things to consider are:
Update your grocery list as you see fit to be conducive to healthier, organically-oriented meals and snacks. If these questions are difficult for you to find answers to or you experience trouble in altering your current diet, it's okay to start small. Begin by making just one meal a week from entirely free-range or organic ingredients or switching your daily snack to an organic fruit you enjoy.
Purchasing food from local producers can help the economy and the earth. By shopping local, you help reduce pollution and emissions that occur when produce is imported from countries halfway across the world. On top of that, you're helping a business owner in your own community put food on their family's table as well. While it may seem like a small thing, shopping locally can make a huge difference to your local economy — and by extension your state and even national economy.
Again, it's okay to start small. Begin by finding and going to local farmer's markets and becoming personally acquainted with the producers in your area. Take time to ask them what's in season, what growing practices they use on foods you're interested in and how they like to enjoy those foods. This is a great time to ask what products they grow organically.
If your area doesn't have any sources of local, organic produce — or if you simply don't have access to them — that's okay. You can still find healthy, all-natural alternatives at a chain supermarket. A good tip for doing this is to stick to the "outskirts" of the supermarket. Shop along the outer perimeter aisles. This is where you'll generally find fresh produce, meat and fish and some other organic options. Center aisles typically have more sugary or processed items, though you can look for packaging there too that proclaims organic.
Reading the labels on the food you buy can be shocking and enlightening. At times, it can be virtually impossible to discern how your food was grown or processed. Countless items sold in chain supermarkets are:
Set aside some time to take an inventory of food in your kitchen and read the nutrition panels on questionable items. It may be a real eye-opener.
Even if you don't have the kind of space for a full-blown garden in your yard, a little windowsill space can go a long way. Consider getting a few pots and some good soil and growing your own herbs. Even something as little as this can be healthier than artificially preserved herbs and spices you may find at the supermarket.
Start with something simple such as parsley, basil or oregano, and who knows — you may find you have a green thumb. Before you know it, you might find yourself growing some smaller veggies, like cherry tomatoes.
One thing's for sure: nothing tastes better than fresh herbs, fruit or veggies grown by your own hands right there at home. Water your plants regularly and give them a little TLC here and there, and you'll be rewarded with some delicious flavors. Even if you don't cook often, having some nutritious, homegrown herbs to snip little bits of and nibble on can be the best "vitamin pill" you could ever wish for.
As an older adult, incorporating organic foods into your diet can be a fantastic source of natural nutrients and antioxidants that promote the health of your heart and kidneys and boost your energy levels and basic quality of life. Residents at ViewPointe assisted living are encouraged to maintain their nutritional health by setting new habits such as finding healthy, natural alternatives to junk food.
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