Health is mindful. Health is kind.
Health dose not obsess.
It does not possess.
It does not leave you ill.
It does not leave you weak.
It does not provoke bad habits, or self-destruct.
Health always protects.
Enduring all things.
Health Never Fails.
Proper nutrition is vital to our wellbeing. Nutrition is our body’s source of fuel; giving us power to function, our brains glucose to think, and providing us with vitamins and minerals to keep a healthy, happy immune system. Nutrition can be the cure or cause for both physical and mental illness. Overtime I have found that the general population has a skewed perception of healthy eating. Society is highly influenced by what I like to call “recipes for disaster”. These are the diets that cultivate poor eating habits, distorted views on nutrition, and create negative relationships with food.
Making the best nutritional choices can be challenging if you have established a negative relationship with food. Your relationship with food sets the tone for your nutritional choices and overall health. Just like in any other relationship there are needs to be met for it to be a functional, happy, and healthy relationship.
A common negative relationship with food is cycled eating. Cycled eating can be described as short intense restrictive periods followed by binge eating. This cycle can become destructive and habit forming. There is an old rubber band theory; the more you pull back, the further it shoots off. In simpler terms, the more you restrict the more you binge. When you deprive yourself from food you are physically depriving your body from its nutritional needs. Ultimately this creates a binge. Besides psychological factors of deprivation, your body is craving all the nutrients you’ve skipped out on.
Your relationship with food may not be as dramatic but could be just as negative if you’re eating with disregard for your health. We have all had a friend we refer to as “lucky”. They eat their bag of Doritos as you snack on carrots. The “lucky” ones are the ones with a fast metabolism and fast food habits. Although they might not gain a pound and seem to be getting away with murder, beneath the surface their health is still at risk. We often make the mistake to correlate bodyweight with health. As a good scientist would put it, correlation does not mean causation. Large consumptions of fast or processed food is not only a concern for obesity but high blood pressure and heart disease as well.
Negative associations with food can also cause nutritional deficits. An example; labeling food as good and bad. Many of us are quick to do this with little to no insight on nutritional value. For years carbohydrates have been given a poor name. We have been told they make you sluggish and cause weight gain around the hips and thighs. This has left women fearing white potato and grains such as rice. In contrary white potatoes are filled with vitamins and minerals that support hormonal function; a major role in weight loss. Trail mix on the other hand has had a good reputation and considered to be a healthier snack option. Reality; A handful of trail mix is equivalent to the calories in a medium white potato, without offering any vitamins and minerals.
To change your relationship with food, you need to change the way you look at your nutrition. This means putting your scientist goggles on to look past the exterior theories and at your foods nutritional values. As you start to look at food for its values ex: how many grams of protein does it have? is there a balance of carbs and fats? does it offer any vitamins? Shortly you will find yourself reaching for more whole foods. These are the foods with a rich nutritional value, helpings us meet our needs, satisfying both body and mind. Becoming Knowledgeable about nutrition and creating a positive relationship with food you can improve your life and overall health. If you have found yourself chasing fad diets cycled with restrictive patterns, it’s time to give your eating habits some extra TLC.
The best choice we can make when cultivating healthy eating habits is to look at nutrition from a scientific standpoint. This means considering food for its nutritional values oppose to projected theories. A great place to start is with calories. All food has calories, which are subdivided into our macronutrients. Macronutrients consist of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. A healthy distribution of each is needed to function optimally. Fats play a role in hormonal functions; carbs play a role in energy production and brain function; proteins are needed to build and repair tissue. Along with macronutrients there is also a group of micronutrients. These are our vitamins and minerals such as Iron, iodine, zinc, Vitamin A, Vitamin B; all which contribute to cognition and immunity.
Before I became knowledgeable on nutrition I spent so much time worrying about food. What was good or bad, what was healthy or unhealthy. I had been eliminating large groups of food from my diet. An outsider may have found me to be extremely health conscious, however with large gaps in my nutritional needs and exhaustion from worry, this was when I was my unhealthiest. In retrospect my times of struggle with food were times I found myself unworthy of health. When I found my self-worth, I was able to realize I had so much to offer both myself and others outside of my imprisonment. When poor eating habits and worry subside, we find an enormous amount of energy we can place into other areas of our life. My body has protected and loved me over the years, fighting off airborne viruses, healing the smallest of cuts, regulating my system with every pump of my heart. Why not love it back?
To begin a new journey with your nutrition you must start in a place of love. Self-love is foundation of the happiest and healthiest version of you. I encourage you to take this attitude of love towards your body. As you invest in your health it will invest in you. Much like love, with a little bit of nourishment; health never fails.
Below is a recommended list of whole foods that can help you reach your nutritional needs.
Proteins sources: All fish, bone-less chicken, turkey, whole eggs, lean beef
Fats sources: Coconut oil, EVOO, Almond and cashew butter, Avocado
Carbohydrate sources: Whole grains such as, barley, quinoa, sweet and white potatoes, rice, whole wheat or grain pasta
Vitamin and mineral sources: Asparagus, kale, broccoli, spinach, carrots, cauliflower, beets, brussels sprouts, bell pepper