Your diet matters more than you think it does. It’s not just your waist line that becomes affected by the foods you consume, but your overall wellbeing. The foods that we put in our bodies can either accelerate or slow down the aging process. They can either contribute to or help to reduce inflammation. They can create weight issues or keep our body lean and healthy. And most importantly, putting it all together, the choices we make nutritionally have a huge impact on our moods, emotions, and long term mental well-being.
There was a time in history where our options were not as plentiful as they are these days. We have more convenience foods nowadays, and more food in general, than ever before. Many of these convenience foods are marked as being healthy, fitness friendly, and fat melting, but really they are nothing more than a shiny wrapper with overly processed dehydrated powders and potions. We’ve gotten so far away from our innate style of eating, and it’s showing up for us in our health. The rise in digestive health issues, thyroid dysfunction, and autoimmune disorders is directly related to our diet, lifestyle, and environment.
You’ve heard it over and over before—what you eat really does matter. What you put in your body affects your immune and digestive systems and your future health. Over time the compound effect of eating overly processed food reduces your chances of maintaining an optimal level of health.
So what do you do with all the conflicting information and options out there? How do you know what to choose? When in doubt, go old school and keep it simple. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. Stay away from the aisles with boxes, cans, and bottles. Stick with the produce, meat, and seafood departments. Load up on the foods that Mother Nature intended for you to eat. Foods that your body has the enzymes to break down, digest, assimilate, and eliminate. Go for your green, orange, and red veggies, tubers, and fruits. Consume moderate amounts of grass fed meats, poultry, and wild fish. Be sure there are no hormones, antibiotics, or chemicals injected. Consume copious amounts of healthy fats. Add coconut, red palm oil, ghee, grass fed butter, extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, avocados, and a small amount of raw nuts. These healthy fats are full of medium chain fatty acids that your body and your brain will use for energy vs storing them as fat. Avoid at all cost anything with hydrogenated vegetable oil, soy, canola, or corn oil. These oils are have a very low smoke point and already, before using them, are oxidized during the processing of the product creating inflammation. Limit your grain consumption, especially flours and processed grains, as they too can contribute to inflammation in the body. Processed sugars should be an occasional treat, not a daily indulgence. Remember, it’s what you do in the big picture that matters. So an all-out dessert won’t hurt you as long as you are cushioning it on all ends with natural healing foods.
Of course we need to take our life off the plate into consideration as well. Stress plays a huge role in our health. As adults, we too need daily time outs. Daily meditation and prayer is a great way to get centered, connected, and in your body. Daily exercise not only burns fat and calories, it helps you stay focused and on track. Early morning workouts are the best way to start your day, but just get it in regardless of the time of day.
Try spending more time outside. Go for a walk, run, hike, or just sit and read outside. The sun increases your Vitamin D levels reducing your risk of osteoporosis and depression. And most importantly, as important as quiet time is for ourselves, make sure to invest some time the your loved ones.
Try as we may to be healthy, sometimes it just gets away from us. We are overwhelmed from work, kids, marriage, and keeping up with daily obligations. Eventually our bookends can come loose and we need to reset and reestablish ourselves. Finding a coach, restructuring your dietary plan, taking a vacation, or doing a cleanse are wonderful ways to wipe the slate clean with a fresh start. Sometimes it’s just a matter of tweaking what you’ve already got; but occasionally you really need to dig deep to see what’s going on beneath the surface to figure it all out.
Let today be the day that you let go of all that’s holding you back and take back your health. Step outside yourself and see your life from another perspective. Ask a friend or family member to, nicely, point out some imbalances in your life in a constructive way. And most importantly, be patient with yourself. Health is multifaceted and we must approach it from many angles…..physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Balance is the key for which you are the master.