“You are what you eat.” How many times have you heard that old adage? It probably has never been more true than now. Many health experts will agree that our Standard American Diet (SAD), has caused an overall deterioration in health. Add in exposure to toxins, lack of exercise and insufficient nutrients, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for chronic disease.
Most diseases that plague us–including cancer, diabetes, arthritis and more–have been linked to inflammation. There are many causes of inflammation and actions you can take to mitigate the damage it causes.
People suffering from chronic disease often find little relief from prescription medication, or experience terrible side effects. Many experience pain and fatigue, making exercise difficult, and causing weight gain. It is a vicious cycle if not interrupted.
Many people living the SAD lifestyle simply don’t know any better; they are “nutritionally challenged”. Most of us are disconnected from our food, not thinking too much about where it comes from or taking much time to prepare it. Finally, each one of us is different. What bothers you might not bother the next person.
If you want to eat with the intention of healing and/or gaining vitality, there is good news: when given a chance, the body heals. What we first must overcome is the “fix it quick” mentality. While results may not come “quick”, simple changes in your diet and lifestyle often present real improvements within weeks. As Hippocrates said so long ago, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
There are three basic areas related to naturally restoring your health and vitality through your diet: 1) Toxicity, 2) Nutrition, 3) Lifestyle
Area 1: Toxicity
Toxins are found all around us, and when they accumulate in the body, they create inflammation, which causes and exacerbates disease. When you “detox”, you cleanse internally, which eliminates excess fat, toxic accumulation, mucus and parasites. After a detox, you’ll absorb nutrients much better. Your body uses vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to reduce inflammation. This creates a vitality cycle instead of a vicious cycle!
Before you detox, make sure you evaluate your toxic load and nutrient needs with a health professional who can guide you with surveys and lab tests.
Once you begin eliminating toxins, don’t put them back in! Follow these steps to help keep toxins out of your system:
- Buy organic produce, especially those on the Dirty Dozen list.
Link to: http://www.mfihealth.com/organic-produce/
- Choose less packaged foods. If it’s not processed, there’s less of a chance of food additives and other toxins being present.
- Install a water filter for bathing and drinking/cooking.
- Pay attention to personal care products and home cleaning products. Your lungs breathe in and your skin absorbs chemicals!
Area 2: Nutrition
Make no mistake, WHERE you get your calories from is just as important as HOW MANY calories you consume. When your food is NUTRIENT DENSE and BALANCED, it nourishes and satisfies. Nutrient dense food contains more antioxidants, which combats free radicals and inflammation in the body. Balanced food choices fuel your body with a good proportion of fats, complex carbohydrates and protein.
There is always a choice. Consider kale chips (for which there are many tasty recipes) versus potato chips. Kale has less calories, but is a “super food”, meaning it is extremely nutrient dense. It is packed with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber. Potato chips usually contribute fat and carbohydrates, and some Vitamin C and potassium, but very little nutritional value overall compared to the number of calories you consume (and subsequently need to burn off for weight loss or maintenance).
Area 3: Lifestyle
Tossing toxins and straightening out your diet doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Life happens, and can be a distraction at best–a deterrent at worst. You’ll reach your goals with the least resistance if you:
- get buy-in from your family and friends
- prepare meal menus, snacks and shopping lists ahead of time
- cook more than you go out to eat
- get enough sleep
- deal with stress
Little habits, practiced over time, become second nature. Everyone is different physically and was also raised with different attitudes and beliefs about food and life in general. Everyone has different challenges–from chronic disease to obesity to out-of-control stress. However, when you give your body the “medicine” it needs, it begins to heal.
To get your individual questions answered, join us for our in-house event with Food Coach Expert, Gisele Sood. Read more about this event here.