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Are You Adding to Your Health or Are You Subtracting From It?

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First, I apologize if the title of this post brought back any traumatic memories of math class in school! I well remember those days of trying to figure out math problems and doing homework and feeling very, very confused!

Addition wasn’t too bad, but subtraction was always the tricky one. Once our class got past the easy problems like 2-2=0, my brain would start swimming.

17 -8= what?

29-16= huh?

38-19= are you crazy?! How am I supposed to know that?! 

I think I’ve been permanently scarred by math. My brain just doesn’t work that way. Even now it would take me a minute to figure out what 38-19 equals without a calculator, as I’m sure any of you who are as mathmatically-challenged as I am will understand!

Anyways, the point is that subtraction tends to seem more complicated than addition. And I don’t just mean in math, either.

Where Are You Putting Your Focus?

When people are trying really hard to have a healthier lifestyle, usually the first thing they do is to focus on the things they have to subtract from their lives. They think of all of the things they have to take away and all of the things that they can’t have any more.

All the junk food has to go. No more french fries. No more pizza. No more potato chips. All those unhealthy habits have to go too. No more staying inside all evening and watching TV or sitting in front of the computer all day. And then, if you go even deeper into the world of health (especially into the “real food” world of unconventional health), there are even more little things to take away.

There are the obvious things to avoid, like the hydrogenated vegetable oils and high fructose corn syrup, but then there are all of the other “normal” foods that you might not have even realized could possibly have a problem.

Foods like pasteurized milk, and cereal, and granola bars. Foods that you had thought were super healthy until you started reading about all of the hormones and antibiotics and denatured proteins lurking in your milk, the extruded grains and artificial flavors in your breakfast cereal, and the high content of phytic acid and sugar in those granola bars.

While it can be important to be aware of these kinds of things, sometimes it seems like putting so much focus on the negative can do more harm than good.

It’s really easy for people to get overwhelmed by the amount of information that there is about health and nutrition, especially if they are just starting to transition away from an unhealthy lifestyle. And thinking of all of the foods you can’t eat anymore can be just downright discouraging too.

Focus on the Positive Rather than the Negative

Rather than focusing on taking away everything that’s bad for your body, it’s so much more productive to focus on adding to your health with all of the good foods and lifestyle changes that will nourish your body and lead to better health and wellness, especially for those who are just beginning a real food journey.

Instead of worrying about removing every little unhealthy food from your diet, it’s better to focus on adding in all of the delicious, healthy foods that you can. If you’re filling your plate with wholesome, nutrient-dense foods, chances are you’ll be too full to even miss the empty processed foods. And rather than focusing on restricting your TV or computer time or forcing yourself to follow a strict exercise regimen, simply find some activities that you truly enjoy and you’ll find yourself effortlessly spending less time indoors front of the TV and more time spent outdoors getting exercise.

Thinking all the time about what you can’t eat or shouldn’t do isn’t much fun. And it isn’t very beneficial for your health, either, to be always stressing about not getting enough exercise or feeling guilty for eating something you feel like you shouldn’t have eaten.

When you think positively about adding in good foods and activities, all of the positives will fill up your diet and lifestyle until there isn’t much room left anymore for the bad stuff anyways. And, as a bonus, focusing on the positive will allow you to have less stress, making it far more likely that you will make changes that are actually sustainable long-term, and making your life much more enjoyable, too.

Has Your Focus Been on Addition or on Subtraction?

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Woman sitting on the banks of a river facing away from the camera with trees and hills in the distance.

This post is linked to: Sunday School at Butter Believer, Natural Living Monday Natural Living Mamma, Clever Chicks Blog Hop at The Chicken Chick, and Family Table Tuesday at the Polivka Family, Party Wave Wednesday at Holistic Squid, Frugal Days Sustainable Ways Wednesday at Frugaly Sustainable, Natural Living Link-Up at Jill’s Home Remedies, Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade.

(We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.)

The information in this post is not to be taken as medical advice and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease.

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Monday 9th of June 2014

Greetings! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I genuinely enjoy reading through your articles. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that go over the same topics? Thanks for your time!


Thursday 7th of February 2013

Loved this post Lori! Sharing it around today ... We focus far too much on eliminating and far to little on adding in the nutrient dense foods our bodies need. I focused too much on eliminating toxins for years and I think it was really detrimental.


Friday 8th of February 2013

Thanks so much for sharing, Kathy! :)

Terri Thompson

Monday 4th of February 2013

Hi Lori, I'm nominating your blog for a Liebster Award. Check it out


Tuesday 5th of February 2013

Hi Terri, thanks so much for the nomination! :)


Saturday 2nd of February 2013

Totally agree! I haven't eaten fast food in years and absolutely don't miss it. Why? Because I wake up every day thankful that I get to eat as much butter as I want, lol! When you factor in the addition of bacon, cheese, cholesterol rich whole eggs, pastured meats (especially that "terrible" red meat!), well, it's just hard to feel deprived.


Monday 4th of February 2013

I don't miss fast food the least bit either. It pales in comparison to the satisfaction of eating real butter, bacon, cheese, etc!

Desiree Fleck

Friday 1st of February 2013

Fabulous post!! I tell people this all the time, especially during this time of year. So many folks around me are thinking "no more sugar" "no processed foods" "no this, no that" and they lose focus of what is GOOD! I've gone through this myself. Now instead of saying "bad girl, you ate sweets today" I say "geez I ate kale, sauerkraut, AND local meat all in the same day! That's AWESOME!" and that positive thinking makes me want to do it again!


Tuesday 5th of February 2013

That's so true - this time of year is even worse than usual with all of the focus on restrictions! Positive thinking is SO much more of an enjoyable way to live! :)

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