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3 health habits to start using today

Treat your body to only the best, most natural foods.
Treat your body to only the best, most natural foods.
Photo by Brendan Hoffman

In today's world of fast-paced news and discoveries, it's hard to stick to a healthy regimen that you know you can depend on. There always seems to be a new diet trending in the media, followed closely by a new study completely debunking it.

Moving past all the fads and trends, the best health advice is to go for food that is whole, unpackaged, and free of additonal sugars, oils or salts.

Here are three wellness (and vegan) strategies you can always count on for looking and feeling your best.

1) Drink lemon water

Starting off the day with a large glass of water is the best way to wake up your body and mind. And by adding lemon juice you’ll receive not only the benefits of vitamin C and potassium, you’ll also find a refreshing new way to satisfy your thirst! Whether lemon juice is a verifiable form of detoxification is still up to debate within the medical world; but by switching from your regular daily routine of beverages to lemon water, you’ll vastly improve your health.

Drinking lemon water is a great alternative for that 3:00 p.m. crash when you're craving coffee or for sugary beverages like Gatorade or sweetened iced tea. By switching, not only are you cutting out the added calories from sugar, you’re also inputting more water into your system which everyone agrees is the number one way to support and strengthen the body.

2) Steam your Vegetables

The methods of cooking your food can make a big difference. When we which reach for a frying pan, the second step often is to add a pad of butter or line of oil. Although this is a tasty way of cooking vegetables, it’s a quick way to add on a lot more calories.

Many have argued that cooking with vegetable oil is the healthier alternative, and although it is better for your heart than butter, the truth of the matter is, whether it comes from a vegetable or animal, oil is oil and all oils are fats.

A quick tool to use is in the Google search engine. Search "calories in oil" and the first item will be a calculator where you can enter the type of oil and amount. You'll discover that a single tablespoon of olive oil contains 119 calories!

Next time you add fresh vegetables to your dish, try steaming them instead of frying or roasting. This cuts out the need for oil and butter, and it brings out fresh flavors. If you need more of a kick, try sprinkling your favorite herbs or spices to the finished product.

3) Get Rid of Processed Foods

Choose foods in their fresh, whole state and your body will never hate you for it. Processed foods are the ones in the convenient store aisles that have a shelf-life of 100 years. And yes, they are exactly that-- convenient. Processed foods have become so insanely popular because they give people a quick way of consuming calories.

They’re also really (really) good at tricking your mind into thinking that they’re the “best new thing on the market”. Don’t let the advertisers fool you! Just because the label says the product contains multiple servings of vegetables, always be cautious... and then eat a real carrot instead.

Why exactly are they so wrong for your health? When you read the label on processed foods (such as chips, ready-made meals, anything with pre-flavored ingredients, or from a fast-food restaurant) you’ll find sodium, fat, high-fructose corn syrup, and artificial ingredients. High levels of sodium and fat cause a lot of damage to your heart and circulatory system. High-fructose corn syrup is a sweetener made from corn that contributes no nutritional value-- only extra calories.

Even vegans have a problem of eating too much processed food. Imitation meats and dairy products are also harmful because many of these are made with an ingredient called soy protein isolate, a high protein source also used in energy bars. Unless it's organic, over 90% of the nation's soybeans are genetically modified. Always look for soy products that are organic and non-GMO.

The bottom line: Love your body; don’t fill it with fake food.