Holistic Nutrition 101
Take into consideration the average American diet: all of the refined sugar in sweets, fast food options, genetically modified "food" imposters (GMOs), and other toxic preservatives, flavor enhancers, and food colorings. Now combine that with other environmental toxins such as fluoride and heavy metals in our water supply, air pollutants, allergens, and beauty products laden with countless chemicals and carcinogenic ingredients. Is it any wonder that so many Americans are incredibly unhealthy?
So how can you protect yourself and reverse the damage caused by these lifestyle choices? Most importantly READ LABELS. If you don't recognize an ingredient, your body won't either. Eliminate an extraordinary amount of toxins from your daily diet just by filtering your water, removing processed foods and refined sugars from your plate, and switching to REAL food. So what is real food? Whole, nutrient dense foods consist of fresh fruits and vegetables (frozen constitutes as fresh, where as canned is tainted with BPA and other toxins from the aluminum), organic grains that weren't poisoned by GMOs, and humane meat and dairy. Humane is defined by how the animals lived; a healthy life not compromised by torturous living environments, injected with chemicals to keep them from dying from those environments, and shot up with growth hormones to get them to market faster. Do your research, it could save your life.
Preferably supporting local also benefits you! Knowing where your food comes from prevents a lot of confusion and you can trust the source versus deceiving labels that advertise a "Natural" product when in fact the very word is misrepresented. Unfortunately the FDA allows a vast majority of hazardous and often lethal products to be distributed to an unsuspecting public. Some of my favorite leaders in the real food movement are:
- Food Babe www.foodbabe.com
- Eat Local Grown www.eatlocalgrown.com
- Dr. Mercola www.mercola.com
Common Diet Myths
There are so many diets and diet fads out there, how do you choose the right one?!
First of all, let me start out by saying that we are all different in one major way: everyone's inherent constitution (that is your biological terrain inherited through your ancestors) and your body's over-all composition is unlike that of anyone else's. That is why we have such a melting pot of culture's, ethnicities, body types, blood types, etc. Joe Schmoe who lives off of meat, taters, and beer and never gets sick has a completely different constitution then Jane Doe who is a vegetarian and always ill. It could be that in Jane's effort to live a healthier lifestyle, she has neglected to consume enough protein, carbohydrates, and supplement with the necessary minerals and other nutrients her diet may lack since her constitution is inherently weaker. It also goes to show that Joe who chooses not live a healthier lifestyle but seems perfectly well, proves that his constitution is evidently strong, but when his lifestyle choices do catch up with him there are usually dire consequences.
Advocates for popular diet fads such as Vegan, Paleo, Eden, Blood Type, etc. will often argue until they are blue in the face why their choice is better then all of the rest, but I guarantee the individuals constitution and current state of health, and lifestyle practices are rarely considered. For instance, someone with a weaker constitution and current health concerns that range from moderate to severe should not make any drastic or immediate diet changes. It may be obvious that a diet rich in fruits and veggies would benefit them, but insisting that they go on a vegan, macro (raw food), or try juicing can actually do more harm then good. Until a person is healthier and their body's immune system is built up enough through other means, these types of diets can cause a healing crisis and send the body into state of shock.
That is why you are so highly encouraged to take your diet into your own hands. Educate yourself, research the pros and cons of each option, and determine if it's even necessary to adhere to any one diet fad. Clean eating doesn't have to be difficult or confusing. Simply choosing whole, organic foods is enough. If you need guidance, there are plenty of amazing, qualified professionals out there to help you on your healing journey.
Expert Nutrition Tips and Tricks:
- Eliminate the junk! Donate your processed, aluminum canned, and shelf stable foods to food pantries, shelters/charities, and homeless in need. Remove all of the refined sugars and toxic junk food that is tempting to eat. Replace them all with healthier alternatives. There are always, always, always healthier options to make or buy your favorite foods.
- Only stock wholesome, real food in your home. If it doesn't go bad, it's bad for you! When you restrict your food options to those that are only healthy and nutritious, you avoid falling back into unhealthy habits. You inevitably learn to make more nutritious choices.
- Eat breakfast like a King, lunch like a Duke, and dinner like a Pauper. In translation, your first meal of the day is the most important so make it count. Make it colorful, bountiful, and hearty. Lunch should be less extravagant, but still wholesome and combining the 5 five major food groups. As the last meal of the day, your supper should be light and easily digestible so as not to interfere with healthy sleeping patterns.
- Graze healthy snacks throughout the day. Choose small portions of nuts, dried fruit, kale chips, etc. between meals if you get hungry, especially of you are burning a lot of energy regularly. Note: guidance from a qualified Nutritionist may be necessary to reset your metabolism, depending on your ultimate wellness goal.
- Eat Mindfully. In other words, slow down, sit to eat, chew slowly. Be mindful of where your food came from, what's in it, who handled it, how it got to your plate. And most importantly, enjoy it!
- Everything in moderation! You can't expect to eat perfectly all of the time, so indulge from time to time but keep in mind that excess is never wise or healthy.
- Don't eat anything after 9:00 PM or two hours before bed. There is some debate with this rule of thumb, but use your discretion here. What you eat and when you eat plays a major role in how your body operates. Therefore, if you eat before sleeping your body will struggle to digest, absorb, and assimilate that food. The position of your body combined with the relaxed state of your entire body puts additional strain on your digestive organs to do their job.
- On that note, we all know how much exercise is important to a healthy lifestyle so plan your activity around your meals. For instance, rigorous exercise after eating can result in cramping or worse but light to moderate activity can assist in digestion. I don't recommend doing Yoga after a large meal, but a nice meditative walk can be most beneficial.
- Supplement your diet with high quality nutritional supplements, the most crucial are: probiotics on an empty stomach to improve digestion and strengthen the immune system, enzymes right before a meal to assist in the breaking down and assimilation of the nutrients in your food, and a food based multivitamin (food based because some vitamins and minerals are derived from non digestible sources).
- "I don't cook...." is that because you don't want to or because you don't know how? If it's the latter, here are some easy peasy suggestions!
- Start with eggs. Learn to master how to prepare eggs in every way possible, and then move on to more complicated dishes. If you can cook an egg in each of the various forms, you can cook anything!
- Introduce yourself to new spices, get acquainted with the flavors of each and how they would enhance certain foods. Don't be afraid to experiment! Culinary skill is an art, and it takes creativity to produce delectable dishes.
- Thank heavens for the interweb! Pin recipes on Pinterest, watch videos on YouTube, Google how to prepare things.
- Keep it simple, no need to overcomplicate things with elaborate steps or expensive ingredients. And above all, be patient! Make sure you have an abundance of time to practice and the right attitude to try. Cooking and baking is very basic chemistry, view it as a hobby rather then a chore and you will be an authentic Foodie in no time!
- And last but not least: Take a class! Have fun with it!