8 Steps Towards Lifelong Health and A “No-More-Diet” Challenge

Benefits of Bone Broth

Forget the word “diet”.  That is your first challenge for 2012! I am officially declaring it a four-letter word.

That “D” word just shouts short-term success.

Let’s make long-term changes to our bodies, our lifestyles, and our mental and physical health…and let’s STICK TO THEM!

So. Forget about that naughty word. Instead set small, easily achievable goals that will be simple to stick to.  Start small and build on them.

And most importantly, DO NOT try to fit them all into the month of January.  Make small changes each week/month. Pretty soon, your new changes will feel like a normal part of your everyday life and will place you on the path towards a LIFETIME of good health…not just in January.

Here are 7 Great Goals to get you started:

1.  Look for Community Supported Agriculture offerings in your area. Bountiful Baskets Food Co-op is one that we use and is offered in a number of states. This will encourage you to cook “outside the box”. It will spur you to get creative with your greens and vegetables. Plan your weekly meals around what shows up in your weekly offerings.  By going grocery shopping after I pick up my box, I have started saving up to $100/month on my grocery bill.

steps towards lifelong health

Some of the offerings from my most recent CSA Box

2.  Make a realistic menu-plan EVERY WEEK and then stick to it. If you are doing #1 above, do this after you get your produce box. Include breakfasts, snacks, lunches, and dinners in your menu-plan. Create your grocery list based on your plan and shop only for those ingredients. Post your plan where you can see it every day. I am making this fun menu board for my wall this year.

No More Diet Plan

Photo courtesy of Fussy Monkey Business

3.  Start focusing on the health of your gut – a crucial step to improving your health.  Begin slowly by following some of the steps to heal the gut.

4Make your own bone broths (if Vegan/Vegetarian use this recipe but use only the vegetables). The health benefits are bountiful and it is one of the simplest steps you can take towards health.  Then…add it to everything.

5.  Attempt to add 3 raw foods into your meals or snacks each day.  Raw foods are living foods full of beneficial enzymes and probiotics. Check out this list of 10 beneficial Raw Foods to get you started.

Beneficial Raw Foods

Raw Berry Pudding Pies that are so healthy you can eat them for breakfast!

6.  Sip 2 teaspoons of Raw, Organic, Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar (with the “Mother” still in it) mixed with water each day.  There are endless  health benefits of raw Apple Cider Vinegar that still contains the”Mother”.

7.  Try to grow some of your own vegetables and/or herbs. There are a plethora of ways to do this regardless of your garden size, climate, and gardening abilities.  There is nothing more satisfying than being able to eat something right from the garden that you grew! And guess what? YOU CAN DO IT. This is what I did and I have a black thumb.

heal the gut

8. Create a Vision Board of what you want to accomplish this year and put some of these goals on it. Then look at it. Every. Day.

Okay. I am challenging you to do at least ONE of these steps this week. Which one are you going to start with? You can even start with that first challenge of eliminating the word “Diet” from your Vocabulary!

Kim Maes is the creator of the Cook It Allergy Free iPhone and iPad Apps, which customize recipes to meet multiple food allergy needs. She also writes the recipe blog Cook It Allergy Free, where she shares her passion for teaching others how easy and delicious it can be to eat whole, pure allergy-friendly meals that the entire family will enjoy. Kim went back to receive a Master’s Degree in Holistic Nutrition after her son and her husband were diagnosed with Celiac Disease and other food sensitivities.

40 Responses to 8 Steps Towards Lifelong Health and A “No-More-Diet” Challenge

  • Ricki says:

    I love these tips, Kim! So many of us leap on resolutions in January, only to have them fade away by February. I agree that small changes are the best way to go. . . small will turn into big over time! :)

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    Kim Maes Reply:

    Thanks Ricki! I figured it out the hard way when I used to set all of these massive goals and resolutions in January, and then by February I had forgotten about most of them. Small changes periodically over longer periods of time will make it so much easier to stick to. At least that is the truth in my life. :)

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  • I love ALL of these, Kim! And I’m a total sucker for anything involving vision boards. :-) also, having your menu plan posted is so good for little kids– they see it in writing, then don’t argue about the dinner choice, and can read ahead to gear up.
    happy 2012! xoox

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    Kim Maes Reply:

    Steph, I do vision boards with my kids as well. They love looking at it and feeling good when they can check off things they accomplish. And you are so right about the menu plan. They see it and just know. That is why I am making a prettier one for this year! :)
    co
    k

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  • Super tips, Kim and I have started several of them due to your posts and influence over the past year.

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    Kim Maes Reply:

    Thanks Wendy. I have a recurring theme in my life (and posts) of what I think are important steps towards health. :)

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  • Nice tips Kim! I love the comment about not trying to fit everything into january. There can be such pressure to start and “finish” a resolution that I can start at an unreasonable pace and then burn OUT and then the whole thing just falls a part. Ugh. Baby steps are good for everyone. Not just babies. :)

    Great post!

    Lillian

    [Reply]

    Kim Maes Reply:

    Lillian, I totally hear you about burning out after a few weeks. You said it right. Baby steps are not just for babies. :)

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  • Kelly says:

    Such a great post!!! I pity the person who follows you next week. …Oh wait, that’s me! Oh no! LOL :-)

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    Kim Maes Reply:

    Ha! Kelly, you are too funny! I have no fear that your post next week will be amazing. Your posts always rock it! :)

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  • Maggie Savage says:

    Kim I can’t possibly pick a favorite tip. They’re all awesome! It’s so easy to get carried away in January! I love the idea of starting small. We only get our CSA bin in the summer and oh how I miss it. Thankfully I can get some good organic produce at my health food store. I really want to make a menu board like that, I think Callum (who is learning to read) would love it. And I love what Stephanie says too. Sometimes I feel like my kids think they live in a restaurant and I’m the head chef! Haha. Thanks for a fabulous post.

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    Kim Maes Reply:

    Maggie, do they just not offer them during the rest of the year because it is too hard to grow things during the harsher weather months? I know our boxes definitely change drastically from summer to winter, but they still offer them in winter (although, sometimes the produce is not local when they cannot get enough from around here). And, umm…I just totally said to my family the other night as they were all asking for one thing or another, “What do you think I am? Your personal chef or something for your own personal restaurant? I wish I had me one of those!” LOL

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    Maggie Savage Reply:

    Too funny Kim! I think we’re living parallel lives in many ways! Yeah, winter is too cold so nothing but a little bit of kale grows :) I can get produce at our Farmer’s Market but none of them have CSA’s for their farms; it’s just kale, carrots, root veg, apples, and mushrooms really.

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    Kim Maes Reply:

    Maggie, i swear so many times you post about things or comment about something that just happened in our house. LOL Parallel lives is right. :)

  • These are ALL great tips. My vision board is done and ready to be celebrated. Will work on my menu next! Great post.

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    Kim Maes Reply:

    Thanks, Diane. I cannot WAIT to see your vision board. You lucky girl. You already have it done. I have no doubt your year will be rocking!

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  • What a fantastic post, Kim! Almost everything you shared has a common theme … getting you and family members excited about living healthy. The anticipation of the weekly produce basket, the fun and beauty of the menu board, seeing all that’s good and desired displayed on one’s vision board, etc. :-)

    Thanks so much for sharing your great tips! xo,
    Shirley

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    Kim Maes Reply:

    Shirley, I think my whole life has a common theme centered around some of those tips. LOL Maybe I should change the name of my blog to…Cook It with ACV and Bone Broth. teehee. I cannot wait to see everyone’s boards. This is going to be such a great year for ALL of us!
    xo
    k

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  • great post!
    it’s taken me 3 years to completely overhaul the way i eat and i am finally there! i have detoxed and have zero cravings for anything except highly nutritious food…and eat what ever i want, but within the new way of eating–plant based way of eating is the way to go….i exercise in a sustainable way and do not gain weight…and the kicker–i am 40 years old now and have the metabolism of a 20 year old….it’s so possible folks! just have to want it bad enough

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    Kim Maes Reply:

    Eva, what an inspiration you are to all of us! Isn’t it amazing how, if you do it over time, the changes just seem to fall into your natural flow of life. I am shocked constantly at how I never even crave sweets or the unhealthy foods anymore. I actually prefer savory to anything else now. Focusing on plant based foods is such a wonderful path to health as well. I am so thrilled to hear how great you are doing after making all of your changes over these last few years. And you are sooo right. It IS possible. You just have to want it for you (not do it because someone else wants you to).

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  • Heather says:

    Thanks for all these tips! I especially like the tips on healing the leaky gut, and the link to raw foods (and that amazing-looking banana berry pies recipe!). I’ve struggled for years with digestion issues, and since going GF/refined sugar free, I’m learning what it is like to really listen to my body. It’s amazing to me that our bodies can heal themselves if only given the right ingredients! :)

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    Kim Maes Reply:

    Isn’t amazing that our bodies just know how to work better once we give it the right nutrition and fuel, Heather? I am so glad that you are learning how to listen to what your body really needs and wants now. That is one of the best things that any of us can figure out! Way to go!

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  • I want a raw berry pudding pie! That looks so good and I’m craving something like that right now (seriously, right now). Great tips, Kim. Just what I would expect from you. You definitely have it down! I guess I need to get this vision board thing going. That’s a hard one for me, but you’ve motivated me to give it a try.
    Melissa

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    Kim Maes Reply:

    Melissa, if you were closer I would whip one of those mini raw berry pies for you! After all of your accomplishments this week, you deserve one of them and SO much more!! And I think you do a pretty good job of accomplishing your goals without a vision board. Seems to me that you have had one busy and totally amazing year!
    xo
    k

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  • Kim! I was relieved to see that I’ve got the raw foods/snacks covered. I was a little worried because I don’t get into much raw ‘cooking’ but I eat a lot of raw foods. What an incredible post…so fully inspirational and perfect for TBP. Thank you for being part of this new adventure.

    xoxo!
    Amy

    [Reply]

    Kim Maes Reply:

    Amy, it does not surprise me in the least that you are totally covered on the raw foods front (or on any of these steps, for that matter)! Thanks for the kind words about the post. I am so looking forward to all of the exciting things that will be coming from this website this year! Thank you for allowing me to be a part of it. :) It is a total honor.
    xo
    k

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  • You have set out a plan that looks do-able, to be sure. I especially like your menu board–great idea for my husband to refer to, also!
    Here’s to no more dieting, just healthier eating!

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    Kim Maes Reply:

    Yay! I like your toast, Pat! No more dieting, just healthier eating!! That is the best way to live, in my opinion! :) And I agree that the board is good for the husbands too. Mine is always asking what we are having for dinner. I am hoping with a big board like that, they will get their answers without having to even ask.

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  • I need to be better about planning menus. We have a pretty well stocked pantry and fridge/freezer, but when it comes to having things lined up for the week, we seem to fall short.

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    Kim Maes Reply:

    Sarena, I totally get it. I always have my fridge and freezer full, but unless I set my plan ahead of time I totally fall into the same-old same-old ruts. :)

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  • Debi says:

    I ♥ you, Kim! I totally agree about “diet.” When I radically changed my diet 2 years ago (before going gf), I decided to take diet for what it means – what we eat. That’s all it is. Society demonized the word for us. Diet is no longer a dirty four letter word in my mind. I already do 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. I really need to get into a CSA again. Since we moved to Cincinnati we haven’t been able to since my work schedule is ever changing, but there are some possibilities that I’ve been looking into. I try 7 every Spring, but something bad always happens. The only good thing I can do is use my AeroGarden for herbs. lol And right now, I have no space for it in our kitchen.

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    Kim Maes Reply:

    Debi, it is amazing, isn’t it, how once we change what that words means in our heads, how differently we can respond to it. I, too, just think of my diet of whatever it is I eat every day. And you totally had me laughing out loud about something bad happening every time you do #7. I swear that gardening is a total enigma. I am shocked at how well some things do and how terrible other do. I know it is all trial and error. I literally almost cried when I lost all of my cucumbers to the frost a few weeks ago. But then everything else seemed to thrive in that cold snap.?.? Strange thing that growing food from the earth is. LOL

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  • Kim – I love this post. I’m so all about rethinking the word “diet”. It’s about good health, achieved by making good choices. The d word has been bastardized, for sure.

    I’ve been dancing round and round making a vision board, making excuses like there’s no tomorrow. Time to get busy. Thanks for the tremendous inspiration! That’s where I’m going to start.

    With my new role as a Holistic Health Coach, I’m feeling more and more responsibility around being a good model for my clients; your post is just what I needed to read today. Thank you!

    [Reply]

    Kim Maes Reply:

    My sweet Ellen, it is so wonderful to see you on such an inspirational path right now and in such a good place to help others. I love hearing that smile in your voice again. I cannot wait to see how this year unfolds for you. A vision board will be a great place to start! :)

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  • Jeanette says:

    What a nice list of practical tips – I joined a CSA last summer and loved it, plan on doing it again this year. I do try to plan my weekly menu, definitely helps make dinner a lot easier. Still need to make that vision board though!

    [Reply]

    Kim Maes Reply:

    Thanks, Jeanette! The CSA’s are so fun because it is such a surprise each week. I love the challenge of figuring out how on earth I am going to use it all up by the time the next one shows up. :) And, get on that vision board, girlie!!

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  • Kim says:

    Kim,
    Thank you for such an inspirational (and pretty) post. Just in time, too, to remember that change is for the long-haul, not just for January!

    [Reply]

    Kim Maes Reply:

    Thanks so much, Kim! I think there is way less pressure if we do not feel like we have to get it all done by the end of January. If we give ourselves all year, it is way more doable.

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  • Alisa says:

    I LOVE this post and the idea of that four letter D word. You are too cute.

    I almost died when I saw that menu board. I saw it on pinterest a month or so ago and we made one ourselves! I have it just behind my desk (next to the kitchen) and love using it!

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  • Tess Masters says:

    LOL! LOVED this post too.
    Thanks for all of the amazing information.
    YES. I DIED when I saw that menu board too!
    I HAVE to get me one of those :)

    [Reply]

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