Choices. So many things can be said about them. The most important: that no one else can ever make your choices for you. However, that’s not to dismiss the fact that they won’t try and influence your choices. That happens everywhere (yes, especially when it concerns eating). Ever purchased food? Then you both made a choice and were influenced (assuming you read the label, at least). Everyone can be influenced, that is completely natural. Problems occur when that influence is overextended into persuasion, and that’s when one’s choices can potentially suffer. When it comes to choosing what to eat, making the best choices can be difficult (as explained in the previous part of this series), especially when poor choices masquerade as good ones.

The best choice is a very subjective thing, unique to each individual’s perspective and personal experience. That’s why certain dietary preferences and restrictions may work well for some, but aren’t for everyone. There are guidelines that can be applied to anyone’s diet, and the closer they are followed, the better the results (health and happiness both increase). If you have been following our blog, you have probably noticed that the basic goal of “eating to live” is to eat foods high in nutrients, and avoid those that are not. The chart below breaks down how nutrient-rich a food is, and thus how frequently it should be consumed.

The focus is to incorporate a greater number of whole, plant-based foods into one’s diet, while significantly reducing animal products and processed, refined foods. The very structure of these guidelines will inherently reduce non-essential fats, salt, and sugars, which will result in improved health. Making the choice to eat healthier is even easier to do when you follow the basic premise of the chart. What’s even more attractive about making that choice is that the guidelines are open-ended and adjustable. One can adapt to the “eating to live” lifestyle quite easily, as there are no rigid restrictions or strict requirements (i.e., eat more good foods, avoid more bad foods). The greater number of nutrient dense foods consumed, the more profound the results will be (simple as that). As the dieter’s focus is shifted away from less healthy foods, the taste buds will naturally acclimate and begin to favor the increased number of fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains. Over time, the human palate will shift, and one’s unhealthy cravings will ultimately be replaced with new beneficial ones.

While the promised results are certainly appealing, choosing to eat healthy is not always an easy choice to make. Know that if your goal truly is to live a healthier, more vibrant lifestyle, the choices that help you to do so will become easier as you set your mind to that purpose. Simply follow the basic guidelines outlined in the Eating to Live series as much as comfortably possible, and you will get there quicker than you would imagine. Noticeable results will begin to occur, making progress easier to maintain, as satisfaction will also continue to grow. As with most things, when you feel better and happier about something, you should seek to add more of it to your life. The improved clarity, equanimity, and enjoyment gained from eating to live will create enough of its own momentum, that it will perpetuate a cycle of continued benefits. The initial difficulty of the change is easily absolved, as eating to live and making the right choice becomes second nature. It really is a lifestyle, one that is easily obtainable for anyone. As with all big choices, if you have to take time to make a choice, take time. Then make the choice.