On Your Health

Check back to the INTEGRIS On Your Health blog for the latest health and wellness news for all Oklahomans.

Healthier Eating You Can Start Today: The Quick List!

Today we have a post from our guest blogger, Juli Johnson, APRN. Juli works at the INTEGRIS Cancer Institute, where she is an Integrative Medicine practitioner. Juli is an advanced practice nurse who has been with INTEGRIS since 2000. In 2014, she graduated from the Fellowship in Integrative Medicine program at the University Of Arizona College of Medicine, where she studied under the Integrative Medicine pioneer Andrew Weil, M.D.

Check back to On Your Health for new posts by Juli on all things related to Integrative Medicine.

Hi everyone, it's Juli here.

Every day, many thousands of people decide to start eating better. But often, they don't know where to begin! There are so many decisions to make and so much information to process. What to eat? When to eat? How much to eat? What not to eat? Sometimes the choices overwhelm people so that they give up before they even start.

I’m here to tell you: don’t be intimidated by all you think you don’t know. If you make too many extreme changes too soon, of course you’re going to throw in the towel. Your ways of eating became a habit over decades, so you won’t be able to change EVERYTHING in one day.

Change is going to happen over time. Know that small changes produce big results eventually, and if you start small you’ll find it easier to sustain the change over the long haul. Once you see the accomplishment of one goal and build some momentum, I bet your success will motivate you to establish additional healthy food habits as you go.

Choose one or two things off this list to start changing TODAY. Give yourself a few weeks to make the habit stick. I guarantee if you do, you’re going to feel better. Once you feel you’ve mastered one item on the list, pick another and give yourself a few weeks to form that habit, too.

I’ve mentioned before that the body has innate ways of healing itself. As you’ve read in my past posts, inflammation is a natural part of the body’s immune response. Without it, our bodies can’t heal. But when inflammation is out of control, your body develops issues like asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and chronic pain. Inflammation also plays a role in heart disease and cancer.

One of the best ways you can harness your body’s ability to heal itself is through the foods you eat. The choices listed below are the building blocks of an anti-inflammatory diet. If you start making just one change today, you will begin to prevent inappropriate inflammation, reduce the risk of age-related diseases and promote your optimal health.

A Quick List of Choices for Improving Your Diet

  1. Eat a piece of fruit every day. (The ultimate goal is at least three servings a day).
  2. Eat a serving (just ½ a cup!) of vegetables every day. (The ultimate goal is at least four servings a day).
  3. Stop drinking one sugary drink a day. (The ultimate goal is no sugary drinks, just water and healthy teas).
  4. Eat a variety of mushrooms. (They are great for the immune system and loaded with antioxidants).
  5. Eat sensible portions of avocado and nuts every day. (Think: 1/4 of an avocado and a handful of nuts – they are both loaded with the “good fat” that all bodies need).
  6. Incorporate salmon, preferably sockeye salmon, into your diet on a regular basis.
  7. Try avoiding salt completely for one meal a day.
  8. Use more spices in your cooking and eating.
  9. Cook most of your meals with olive oil (preferably extra virgin, expeller-pressed) instead of butter, margarine, corn oil, sunflower oil and mixed vegetable oils.
  10. Consider your portion size at every single meal.
  11. Read the food label, and avoid trans fat as much as you can.
  12. Eat more beans.
  13. Cut back on your animal proteins to a few times a week (except fish, which you can eat as much as possible) while considering their source and quality.

juli johnsonJuli offers an Integrative Medicine clinic every Tuesday at the INTEGRIS Cancer Institute Wellness Center. If you’d like to talk to Juli about Integrative Medicine give her a call at 405-773-6400.