7 ways to improve your eating habits

I believe that nutrition is one of the best resources that everyone can easily access to create a healthy and fit body and mind. Our physical and mental health is influenced not only by what we eat on a daily basis, but also by the times we eat and drink, the speed at which we eat and even whether we eat alone or in a social setting.

Below is a list of simple dietary changes you can make today. See how you feel with each change you make, both physically and mentally. What improvements can you notice in your digestion, mood, sleep and energy levels?

1. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
I recommend every day at least Eat 7 portions (one portion is 80 g) of different fruits and vegetables. It is best if you can eat them fresh, but out of season you can use frozen or canned products. Eat your fruits and vegetables in the least processed form and leave them unpeeled whenever possible (potatoes, carrots, apples, pears).

It's actually easier than you think. Make it your goal to make your meals in as many rainbow colors as possible, so you get the whole variety of what nature has to offer. You can mix a healthy smoothie with fruit and leafy vegetables for breakfast. You can make a beautiful, fragrant vegetable curry any season. And you can quickly make a lunch salad with a mix of fresh and boiled or baked vegetables.

2.Make fiber-rich starchy carbohydrates the basis of your main meal.
Starchy carbohydrates include potatoes, grains such as rice, oats and millet, and products made from flour such as bread and pasta. Always opt for fiber-rich and whole-grain variants, such as wholemeal sourdough bread and pasta, brown rice or potatoes with skins. These foods contain much more fiber than white or refined starchy carbohydrates. Not only do they keep you feeling full for longer, but they are also an important source of microelements and minerals and soluble fiber that feed good intestinal bacteria.

I recommend eating at least one starchy food with every main meal and not adding fats when cooking these types of food, as that increases the calorie content and makes it difficult to digest. Some people think that starchy foods are fatteners, but they are actually the fatty additives we serve them with. Carbohydrates contain less than half the calories per gram of what fats provide.

An important piece of advice when it comes to increasing the consumption of plants, whole grains and beans. These foods are high in soluble fiber, making them very healthy for your gut and overall health. If you have been eating very little fiber-rich foods until now, start slowly with small portions spread throughout the day and increase portions every 3-5 days. Your gut will become populated with healthy bacteria if you consistently eat high-fiber foods, but to avoid bloating and stomach cramps, start small and build up.

3.Eliminate highly and ultra-processed foods.
Highly processed foods are full of salt, sugar and preservatives. Ultra-processed foods are made from few or no natural foods and usually contain chemicals that you wouldn't use in food preparation at home, such as: hydrolyzed proteins, modified starches, hydrogenated oils, dyes, flavors, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners , emulsifiers and fillers. These foods are harmful to your health in the long run.

You can easily eliminate these foods by replacing them with whole foods, such as fresh vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. Start by reading the labels of all the foods you buy to check that they are free of added sugars, preservatives, emulsifiers and other chemicals.

When you need a quick snack, replace cookies, chips, or chocolate with fresh or dried fruit, raw nuts and seeds, or clean hummus, and chopped veggies. Replace ready-made and pre-packaged meals with simple homemade meals with few ingredients. Involve all family members in making their favorite healthy meals.

4. Reduce animal products and dairy.
There's nothing in animal products and dairy that contributes to your health that you couldn't get from a varied plant-based diet. On the contrary, there are several studies available that show the health risks of consuming animal products and dairy.

Researchers have estimated that a plant-based diet could eliminate about 98% of our dioxin intake. Dioxins are highly toxic pollutants that accumulate in fatty tissue. Almost all of them come from animal fat and are found in people who consume meat, fish and dairy.

Studies spanning more than 50 years showed that people who ate meat one or more days a week had significantly more diabetes. The more meat was eaten, the more often the disease occurred.

In a study of more than 400,000 people, replacing just 3% of animal protein calories with plant protein was associated with a 10% reduction in overall mortality risk.

5. Eliminate alcoholic beverages.
There is plenty of evidence that even light alcohol consumption can cause cancer and brain damage. Unfortunately, the public is still insufficiently aware of the link between alcohol consumption and serious health risks.


Since drinking alcohol has no benefits, I advise reducing alcoholic drinks to zero. If someone tries to convince you of the benefits of resveratrol in red wine, you can cite more than 20 years of research showing that it actually has no benefits for heart health. You can learn more in this short video:


6. Chew your food thoroughly.
Sitting down to eat in a relaxed environment and chewing your food properly is fundamental to good digestion. Chewing is the first step in digesting food. It helps the stomach process food by breaking it into smaller pieces and pre-digesting starch with the enzyme amylase that is part of saliva.


Chewing increases saliva production to aid in swallowing food, increases the production of digestive enzymes and activates the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. These substances are necessary for proper digestion and for regulating pH in the stomach, increasing acidity and helping to break down food. It's also easier for your body to absorb nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, from food if you chew each bite thoroughly.

If food is not chewed properly, larger pieces will end up in the digestive tract causing problems such as gas, bloating or constipation or even headaches and low energy because the digestive organs have to work extra hard to do their job.


7. Drink a lot and at the right times.
We all know that drinking plenty of fluids is essential to staying hydrated and healthy. The general recommendation is 1.5 – 2 liters per day, in addition to the fluid you get from the food you eat. You can officially count all non-alcoholic drinks, but my advice is to make it mostly water, including herbal teas, green teas, freshly squeezed juices, and clean plant-based milks.


It is important to know how and when to drink fluids. Avoid drinking liquids during and right after meals, as liquids dilute digestive enzymes and slow down your digestion. It is good to drink up to 20 minutes before meals, especially warm water with a squeeze of lemon juice or fresh ginger tea can prepare your stomach for food. Wait at least 1 hour after a meal before drinking anything. If you want to aid your digestion, make an herbal infusion of fennel, coriander and cumin seeds or an infusion of mint leaves and sip slowly. Do not forget to drink more in hot weather, during sports, when traveling by plane or when you are sick with a fever.


I hope that with these few simple yet profound changes you will feel more energized, lighter and better in your body.


You can go all out and do them all at once or you can start adding a change in your eating style every few weeks. Remember it's all about consistency and having fun. Don't make it too serious or rigid. If you fall back into your old habit, just pick it up again. Find someone to take this journey with you so you can support each other, or make it a lifestyle upgrade for the whole family.

I send you lots of love!

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Monika DeBoer


I offer holistic energetic therapy and nutritional coaching that appeals to you as a unique and whole person. I am also a teacher of Energetic Massage at Healing Space Institute in Bussum, the Netherlands. My mission is to help people live in a state of optimal health and wellness and reconnect them with their body's innate wisdom and healing power.


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