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Abandoning the Standard American Diet: How to Start

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Abandoning the Standard American Diet: How to Start

As viral and bacterial superbugs become pervasive and endemic around the world, more and more people are looking for ways to boost their health.

The Standard American Diet – full of fried foods, high-fat dishes, and processed ingredients – is becoming something that more and more Americans are rethinking.

Many people worldwide are looking at their eating routines and asking themselves, “Is this the best I can give my body? What’s truly healthy?”

It seems that the mainstream finally agrees that what we put into our bodies has a massive impact on our health. Most of us agree that what we eat is possibly the most important health decision we make every day.

Most doctors continue to ignore the data that shows us that improved nutrition can prevent and even reverse diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, and conditions like high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol.

But the secret is out. What we eat matters now more than ever.

Muneeza Ahmed

LEAVING THE STANDARD AMERICAN DIET BEHIND: WHERE TO BEGIN?

More people in countries everywhere are experiencing neurological symptoms like brain fog, nerve pain, chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression, and more. And with the continuous onslaught of new viruses and bacteria in our environment, it’s the perfect time to turn over a new leaf with our health.

A family friend recently contacted us asking for guidance about how to overcome debilitating trigeminal neuralgia. Although she is thoughtful about what she eats, she still consumes many of the foods that we would consider to be part of the Standard American Diet.

I’ll lay out the multi-step guidance I offered to our friend below to inspire you, your family members, or anyone you know to begin to transition from the Standard American Diet (there’s a reason the acronym for it is “SAD”), which weakens health, to a healing, nutritious lifestyle, which strengthens health.

STEP ONE: START SLOWLY

It’s important to have patience with yourself when making significant changes to any aspect of your life, especially with something so personal as what we eat. A common mistake that many make when changing their dietary habits is to go too fast too soon.

Start small by eliminating foods you know don’t make you feel your best. For some of you, that might be fried foods. For others, it will be candy bars and coffee. Try to prioritize one category of unhealthy food at a time so that you are making regular shifts toward a healthier diet.

There is a natural grieving process that can happen when we leave certain habits and routines behind. Many of us have deep emotional connections to foods that we grew up with or turn to when we need comfort. In some cases, we have to give up some of our favorite dishes.

Are you concerned about what you’ll have to give up in order to enjoy greater health? Read my blog, Giving Up Your Favorite Foods: Is It Forever?, for support and ideas about how to ease your transition from the Standard American Diet to a more nutritious routine.

STEP TWO: PRIORITIZE THE MOST PROBLEMATIC FOODS TO TAKE AWAY

You don’t have to totally transform your diet overnight, but you will notice the most benefits if you start with the foods that are most problematic for your health.

While the mainstream belief these days is a theory of “bio-individuality” that says each of us is different, there are absolutely certain foods that are more detrimental to health than others regardless of our biological or genetic differences.

The most important foods to remove in order to quickly improve your health are foods that feed viral and bacterial pathogens and foods that bog down your liver, which reduces your overall life force.

Foods that feed viral and bacterial pathogens include eggs, dairy, corn, soy, canola oil, MSG, both artificial and natural flavors, gluten, citric acid, beet sugar, and farmed fish.

Foods that bog down the liver include processed foods, foods full of preservatives, pork, and meals extremely high in dietary fats (yes, even healthier fats). In other words, many of the common meals we think of when we hear standard American diet!

It’s not about removing this entire list from your daily meals immediately unless you’re in a dire health situation, in which case it will be helpful to move a little faster toward nutrient-dense eating habits if you’re still consuming a standard American diet.

For most people, even those with some symptoms, it will be easier to start by focusing on a few of these at a time and gradually removing as many as possible from their daily diet over time.

STEP THREE: FIND NEW RECIPES

One of the most common mistakes people make when transitioning to healthier diets is to skip from their old way of eating to a new menu full of strange tastes, textures, and ingredients that feel foreign to them.

There is no need to strip away everything that’s familiar in order to eat a healthier diet! And you don’t have to jump from fried foods and coffee to raw salads and herbal teas right away. It takes many people months and even years to move to a sustainable way of eating healthier.

If you’ll miss pizza and french fries, you don’t have to skip ahead to fat-free zucchini lasagna and fat-free steamed potatoes. Start by finding some recipes that excite you and that are a step in the right direction.

Instead of dairy-covered pizza on wheat crust, you could make a homemade crust with gluten-free dough (or order one from a local spot – gluten-free crust options are becoming far more common lately).

Homemade pizza is such a delicious treat, and often both affordable and not very time-consuming. Instead of mozzarella, pick up a high quality nut cheese (Miyoko’s Creamery is one of the best) to use instead. Make a homemade tomato sauce with tomato paste, a little honey or maple syrup, a small amount of Atlantic sea salt, and your favorite herbs. Pile the veggies high, and enjoy!

Instead of french fries, you could make home-cut fries or sweet potato fries in an air fryer. The taste and texture are still there without all the oil or frying, which harms the liver. You can find ways to substitute recipes from the standard American diet with similar recipes that are much healthier!

With an open mind, a little extra effort, and some creativity, you can find recipes to match all of your favorite flavors and textures without the harmful ingredients common in the standard American diet that erode your health. And, with time, you’ll discover new flavors and textures that begin to excite you.

Virtually everyone who eats a healing diet has gone through this transition—reach out to others in your life who may have good recipe ideas or tips and tricks to help you move from where you are to where you want to be with tasty options at every step.

Check out my blog post, Top 16 Healing Recipes, to get you started on your way from the standard American diet to new but satisfying recipes that nourish your body, mind, and soul.

STEP FOUR: DON’T DO IT ALONE

As I mentioned, it’s crucial to reach out to others who have gone through their own process to increase the healthfulness of their diet – don’t do anything alone! If you don’t have anyone in your life who has taken this journey, find communities online to connect with.

It’s also extremely helpful to invite your spouse, family, and/or close friends to go on the journey with you. They don’t have to make all of the same decisions as you, but if you’re committed to reducing your fat intake and removing harmful foods that contribute to illness of all kinds, it’s much easier to make that change without the temptation of familiar unhealthy food options around.

Plenty of people have transitioned from the standard American diet to a healthier way of eating without anyone around them joining in, so you may have to go it alone somewhat. It won’t always be easy, but you will be amazed at your own courage and strength after those first initial months of awkwardness. It gets much easier after you’re used to being the odd one out.

Ideally, you’ll find a strong support system from friends, family, or members of a community that you have access to. It’s always better to have inspiration and encouragement from people who are going down the same path as you or who have done it already!

To your health and peace,

Muneeza

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Muneeza Ahmed

Hi, I'm Muneeza

I’m humbled to have supported over 11,000 people in 86 countries (and counting) to heal with the perfect blend of education, support and community. If you’re ready for your journey from hope to deep healing, you’re in the right place.

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Muneeza Ahmed - Medicine Woman
Healing is my living, my purpose and my path. I’m humbled to have supported over 9,000 people in 72 countries (and counting) to heal with the perfect blend of education, support and community. If you’re ready for your journey from hope to deep healing, you’re in the right place. LEARN MORE
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Muneeza Ahmed - Medicine Woman
Healing is my living, my purpose and my path. I’m humbled to have supported over 9,000 people in 72 countries (and counting) to heal with the perfect blend of education, support and community. If you’re ready for your journey from hope to deep healing, you’re in the right place. LEARN MORE
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MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: Muneeza Ahmed (“She,” “her,” or “Ahmed”), is not a licensed medical doctor, chiropractor, osteopathic physician, naturopathic doctor, nutritionist, pharmacist, psychologist, psychotherapist, or other formally licensed healthcare professional. Ahmed, does not render medical, psychological, or other professional advice or treatment, nor does she provide or prescribe any medical diagnosis, treatment, medication, or remedy. The information provided by Ahmed and Healthy Moon, LLC will not treat or diagnose any disease, illness, or ailment and if they should experience any such issues they should see their registered physician or other practitioner as determined by their own judgment.

You understand the information provided on this website is not a substitute for health care, medical or nutritional advice of any kind. You understand and agree that you are fully responsible for your own mental and physical well being, including your dietary choices and decisions. You agree to seek medical advice as determined by your own judgment before starting any program, any form of treatment or discontinuing use of any medications as prescribed by your medical practitioner.

Nothing in this website and/or programs should be construed as healthcare advice, medical diagnosis, treatment or prescription. Information or guidance provided by Ahmed, should not be construed as a promise of benefits, a claim of cures, or a guarantee of results to be achieved. Ahmed, makes no guarantees or warranties related to her products or services.

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