The 5th and final step of this series is Diet. This is a topic that can (and will likely) have many more detailed posts in the future. Diet is such a broad topic that really deserves a great deal of attention and personal specificity as every body is different. Diet can also span food, beverages and supplements. It can be for health, for weight loss, for performance, function and more. Regardless of our level of consciousness around our diet – we are always on a diet… our diet is really just what and how we consume.
For this particular post, I will share a simple guideline toward a food guide that most all can follow with some level of success.
Eating fresh vegetables first with every meal is a crucial part of our health. Many restaurants serve the salad first, before the main course which is typically your proteins and starches. There is good reason behind this. Eating our fibrous carbs before proteins and starches provides the enzymes necessary to assist with efficient digestion. Having a large portion of veggies with every meal is beneficial for creating an alkaline rich inner terrain which helps to keep the overall digestive system in a health promoting state that can help to prevent many illnesses.
Some Examples: Green leafy vegetables, broccoli, asparagus, green beans, zucchini
Adding a variety of nuts and seeds as well as nut and seed butters and oils. A good variety of healthy fats is important for balancing hormones, maintaining energy and supporting the nervous system. We require fat to burn fat but not all fats are created equal. It is also important not to overdo it.
Some Examples: raw or roasted almonds, walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, sunflower or sesame seeds, 1 Tbs almond (or other nut butter), olive oil, coconut oil and olives.
Small portions of lean proteins from good sources. It has been said that for woman, 2 – 3 ounces and for men, 3 – 5 ounces per serving is all that our bodies can really utilize effectively. Anything additional is either stored or excreted. (as with all things in nutrition, there are some circumstances that differ).
Lean cuts of grass fed beef, free range chicken or turkey, fresh fish (not farmed)…
Vegetable sources of protein will be a separate blog entry as there are differences and much to discuss around this.
Eating a good balance of fresh fruits. Berries and higher fiber fruits such as granny smith apples and pink grapefruits are better as staples but the sweeter fruits are okay too in moderation – depending on your goals.
Best sources, as mentioned – (organic/local when possible) blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, pink grapefruit, granny smith apples
Highest sugar content – bananas, figs, lychee, mango, peaches, pears (this doesn't mean that these fruits are bad, it is just to acknowledge that they will have a different impact than a fibrous berry)
Little starch is best. Eating starchy carbs is not all bad – sweet potatoes, acorn squash, brown rice for example are healthy additions in moderation. Processed food, breads, pastas, cereals and daily overload of starchy carbs can be very damaging to our health. High carb intake is said to be linked to pretty much every lifestyle illness of today. Diabetes, cancers, heart disease, auto-immune conditions, etc.
Little to no processed sugar. Sugar, aside from natural sources like fruit and honey, is hard on the brain, the body, the digestive system and the immune system.
Other things to look for – GMO’s, additives, food colorings, farmed fish, industry raised cattle, foul and pig, smoked foods and sugar substitutes. All of these show signs of direct effect on the nervous system, the digestive system and or our immune systems.
Now perfection is not the goal. Consciousness is. Choosing health the majority of the time moves you in the right direction. Use the 80/20 rule and if that is a far stretch, try 50/50 for now… work your way toward 80/20. If you need support or assistance, please ask. We have a wealth of knowledge and an abundance of resources. Pamela, one of our Nutritionists, will be offering a Baseline Assessment in the Month of March for $99 (normally $129). This 1 hour session will dig into to what you are doing currently, what you would like to do different or what results you are looking to achieve…
Pay attention to your portions. Smaller portions throughout the day is easier on our digestion and overall energy. Eating a meal or snack every 2 - 3 hours is great for managing blood sugar (assumming you are choosing a healthy meal or snack). Intermittent fasting can also be helpful in certain circumstances - so understanding your own bodies needs and desires is important. Variety is the spice of life, so they say... this is so very true with our diet. Spice it up with trying new things and not eating habitually as that can lead to food intollerances.
We didn't even touch on beverages in this one - we will save that for another post - maybe a few more... water intake, juice and juicing, coffee, tea - there is so much to discuss!
The main goal in this entire series is toward creating awareness in regard to what you are actually consuming, how often you are moving your body, how you are choosing to spend your time, how you think and feel about it, how you deal with stress and what you are doing regularly for self-care. Then from there, adding little bits at a time, over time to create a more sufficient lifestyle can truly allow you to be armed for health.