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By: Alyssa Elbogen

Growing up on Entenmanns and Pepsi, I could never have foreseen my life taking a turn towards healthy eating. Surprising as it is, I have been health conscious for nearly a decade. I’d like to share some of my findings from these years of research, experimentation and discovery.

Nowadays, I remain unconvinced by all of the negative “Don’t have this”; “Don’t have this and this together”; “Beware of the dangers of X” directives. Though I know they’re an important part of our education, I feel it’s equally, if not significantly more important, to focus on the habits we should be practicing and the food we should be consuming.

If you want to go on a vegan diet, a raw food diet, a ketogenic diet or any other kind of diet, then you have to understand what that diet should ideally contain. If you are only cutting things out of your current diet, then you’ll be left with a tiny portion of your normal regimen and likely end up feeling weak, uncomfortable or downright malnourished. We don’t want that!

I first learned about and was inspired by healthy food in Israel. The vegetables tasted so good there. Why was that?! Was it the soil? Was it a different strain of food? Was it the air?

Eventually, I learned that the majority of the produce in America has been modified to look nice, big, shiny and full. These modifications come at the expense of less mineral and vitamin content in our fruits and vegetables. America’s use of herbicides and pesticides doesn’t help matters – they can really ruin the health value of a perfectly good product.

I acquainted myself with whole foods, balanced meals, greens, roots, herbs, spices and the like. My Ayurveda teachers taught that for inner and outer harmony we should make sure our diet encompasses all of the different tastes (sweet, salty, bitter, sour, astringent and pungent). They also taught that the various colors in food (natural colors!) represent different vitamins and minerals. For, optimal health, our food should be diverse with colors!

For me, food was no longer inexpensive and it certainly wasn’t something I took for granted. I went on a search for the healthiest, purest foods I could find. Now, I cherish the organic non-GMO options, the exotic mushrooms, the fresh fruit and veggie juices and the sweet world of sprouts. I have to say, it feels wonderful to take good care of myself. I know that I’m providing the best quality nourishment to my body and spirit.  I alsoknow that I’m supporting the businesses and people who share my interest – and that is improving our standard of living when it comes to the sources of the food we eat.

If I had to provide one tip, it would be this: Be kind to yourself. If we really madean effort to be kind to ourselves, we’d give a real chance to the foods we know are best for us. We deserve to enjoy the pleasures of this world!

People who practice this kind of conscious living serve as examples for others to take good care of themselves.
If enough people did, we’d have a really healthy and
wholesome community that could spread its influence to neighboring towns.

I encourage each of us to continue researching the sources of our families’ nourishment and to never give up the journey toward a healthier, better functioning community and world. Though it might seem like a lot, in time, a healthy lifestyle will seem natural.

It’s like the Hebrew saying goes:
“You’ve toiled and achieved? – Believe!”