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With the promise of more sunshine and warmer temperatures just around the corner, many of us pull out our shorts and sleeveless tops only to discover that they have shrunk! Okay. It might have been the pizza, or the cookies, or hours spent sitting, binge watching Stranger Things….
If you are ready to shed some winter weight, and trying to decide which of the seemingly endless number of diets to try, and what (often conflicting) advice to follow, I suggest a much simpler approach: Count chemicals, not calories.By providing your body with what it needs to function best, you will feel and look great.

Now, in the perfect world, this would mean only eating meals and snacks prepared from scratch using local, organic (or antibiotic free) ingredients. But few of us live in that place, so we are going to aim for progress, not perfection. Start where you are, and make small changes, over time, to get closer to where you want to be.

Check out the ingredient list when buying processed foods. Remember that ingredients are listed in the order of quantity. Try to avoid those that include complicated chemical names, or other ingredients you would prefer to avoid.

I love to cook, but look for recipes I can put together quickly at the end of a working day, so I buy chicken stock to help me whip up soups, sauces and stews.

The label on a popular brand lists the following ingredients: CHICKEN BROTH (WATER, CHICKEN STOCK); SALT; BARLEY YEAST EXTRACT; DEXTROSE; NATURAL FLAVOUR; DISODIUM INOSINATE AND DISODIUM GUANYLATE (NATURAL FLAVOUR ENHANCER); POTASSIUM CHLORIDE (SALTSUBSTITUTE); CANOLA OR SOYBEAN OIL. That’s too many chemicals for me!

After some searching, Imagine Chicken Stock has become the brand I choose. It lists the following ingredients: ORGANIC CHICKEN BROTH (FILTERED WATER, ORGANIC CHICKEN), ORGANIC ONIONS, ORGANIC CELERY, ORGANIC CARROTS, SEA SALT, NATURAL CHICKEN FLAVOR, ORGANIC SPICES. Yum!

This tip works for any food item, including potato chips, so when you are next out shopping, take a little extra time to read those labels. Make the best choice you can. That one, small step will make a difference.

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