When I was a kid nutrition was about eating veggies, drinking my milk, and making sure the largest thing on my plate was a giant slab of meat. Liver night was always the most unfortunate dining experience for me.
Thank goodness my parents weren’t right about everything. Although, who is right? There are thoughts on being vegan, vegetarian, paleo, low-carb, not to mention the whole GMO fiasco. It’s so overwhelming!!!! How do I possibly make good choices? I’m not alone on this. Am I right?
So what’s the answer you might ask? Well, frankly, it’s beginning to appear that the answer is different for everyone. What I do know is that the human body responds very well to fruits, veggies, and usually legumes. Does that mean you need to be a vegetarian? Absolutely not, however, to me it means that those probably are really good things to be eating. I believe my vision of nutrition is middle of the road. We need to eat in moderation, we need to eat mindfully, and we need to eat the foods that our body can get the most nutrition out of with the least amount of harm to us. I see things from a western nutritional standpoint mixed with a lot of good sense from Traditional Chinese Medical standpoint.
My opinion is this:
- Limit dairy as it causes dampness. Dampness is when your body cannot utilize the fluids in it to its utmost ability. This may result in a feeling of heaviness, bloating, or even edema. Not to mention that dairy is getting a bad wrap due to the hormones and antibiotics given to the animals, as well as genetically modified foods (GMO’S)animals are eating. This leads to a tsunami of hormonal fluctuations in someone who consumes a lot of it that isn’t humanely raised and grass fed.
- Eat a ton of veggies. Raw is the rage, however I would recommend eating no more than 50% raw foods at each meal. Our bodies have a system we call the triple warmer system. When you put cold foods in your stomach all the time it inhibits the bodies ability to extract the nutrients efficiently to create more qi or energy for yourself. Did you also know that cooking certain vegetables enhances some nutritional activity in them? Prime examples are cooked carrots, spinach, mushrooms, asparagus, cabbage, and peppers.
- Balance your blood sugar if it is whacked out! If you are you light headed at times, irritable, or always hungry this may be for you. If so, you may need to eat several small meals throughout the day with balanced nutrients to include proteins, fats, and carbs (making sure most of the carbs are of a vegetable variety). It’s important to give your body 3-4hours between meals so that it has time to properly digest and fortify your body for all the processes it goes through.
- Avoid processed foods, sugar, and anything with aspartame. Perhaps you’ve heard the idea of shopping the perimeter of the grocery store? Try it, that’s where you will find the whole foods that nature intended you to put in your body. Not the processed foods that your body doesn’t recognize and for the most part creates inflammation (which is the precursor to disease).
- Be mindful when you eat. Eating on the run or when you have a minute here or there is terrible for your digestion. Instead, try sitting down, actually chewing each bite of food, and maybe even tasting it?! Digestion starts in the mouth with your saliva. There are enzymes that begin to break down the food even before it reaches your stomach. If you are too preoccupied to eat you are not getting all the nutritional benefits from your food. Think about that!
- Antioxidants are a great idea. They fight free radicals, which are the things that create inflammation. You can get this by eating a wide variety of colored fruits and veggies daily or by supplementing (hopefully with a whole foods based supplement).
- Balancing your Omega 3’s and 6’s are vital. Again, it keeps inflammation at bay. Limit your meats, eat grass fed and organic whenever possible and supplement with fish oil or flax if you need it. This will keep your immune system as well as every other organ and system in your body functioning at a higher level.
- Eat organic Yep I said it, organic organic organic. Why you ask? Well would you sit down and eat a tablespoon of pesticides or herbicides? If you answered no to that question I don’t need to say another word. Organic foods are NOT genetically modified and have not been grown with chemicals. They enrich the soil of the Earth and they provide more nutrient dense food for consumption.
I don’t feel it should be hard to be healthy and it shouldn’t feel like you deprave yourself. When you eat healthy your body becomes accustomed to feeling good and will begin to want the things that nourish it instead of the things that just fill you up and craving more.