There is NO SIZE FITS ALL when it comes to eating. We all have different genetic makeup, lifestyle factors, tastes, and specific needs that need to be factored in. So, if you have struggled with starting and maintaining a way of eating and cooking (YES, the key to health is in the kitchen!) that works for YOU, maybe it is time to rethink your approach.
Start by building a sustainable foundation and build up from there!
Below are four basic principles that ALL healthy eating plans should include. Use these as a starting point and once you can implement them into your lifestyle, you can move into a more specific, targeted approach that is RIGHT FOR YOU!
1. Stay hydrated
One of the most important steps toward health is keep the body well-hydrated.
We are over 75% water, so it only makes sense that we need a large quantity of high-quality clean water to maintain good health.
The problem is we have switched from plain water to “fortified”, sweetened or manipulated beverages, that in many cases, dehydrate the body. Although the old “drink your weight in ounces” advice may not be necessary, most of us need to drink more than we do.
The brain cannot distinguish thirst from hunger, so many times when we think we are hungry, we just need a glass of water!
There is a saying “the solution to pollution is dilution”, meaning the more toxins we ingest the more we need to flush them out. Unfortunately, the opposite is usually true. The worse a person’s diet, the less plain water they consume.
Try increasing your water intake to at least 64 ounces over the next week and see how you feel.
2. Reduce, or better yet, eliminate processed foods
Processed foods have been broken down and stripped of their nutrients. So, when you eat them the cells in your body do not get what they need leaving you chronically hangry.
If you did nothing more than stop consuming all processed food, you would be shocked at the improvement in your health!
3. Eat more plants
The biggest problem in the Standard American Diet is the lack of fiber. Fiber comes from plants in their whole, natural state! We need at least 25-30 grams a day and the average adult consumption is only 15!! The fiber is needed to help us feel full, to provide food for healthy bacteria, and to help with waste removal.
In addition, plants are full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients necessary for proper body function. Taking them out (by processing) and then putting them back in (fortified products) is NOT THE SAME.
Nature has created each plant to contain not only the nutrients but also everything that is needed to break them down and absorb them! How many times do you hear of people taking too much of a specific nutrient and having problems? Taken in natural form, it is nearly impossible to over consume. Nature is the best regulator!
4. Focus on WHAT you eat rather than HOW MUCH
Why are we so obsessed over calories, net carbs and grams of fat? Because we do not know better.
Humans love numbers and being able to quantify things. When faced with how much should I eat, we understand 2000 calories, but we have trouble grasping what it FEELS like to eat enough to satisfy and energize.
I have found that the more quality, real food I put into my body, the faster and easier I am satisfied.
The important thing to worry about is the nutrient-density, and not the caloric value of your food.
Once you get rid of the junk in your diet and re-set your internal sensors, you can eat whatever you want and feel great! Let how you feel in terms of energy, alertness, and lack of pain be your guide!
These four principles may seem too simple, but they WORK. Stop making things so difficult and trying to micromanage everything you put in your mouth, and commit to make these four principles a part of your everyday life. You will be surprised how fast things can change.
Until next time,