We are inundated by fad diets and changing or conflicting information from media sources about what makes a diet healthy. It has become more and more difficult in our current landscape to know what information, or who, you can trust when it comes to advice about your diet.
My bottom line? Trust nature. Food should come from the most natural sources, free of pesticides or chemicals, and over processing. It should come in an abundance of colours and have no shelf life. Farm to table, full of nutrients. Our ancestors used traditional methods for preparing and eating foods and those methods worked and were used for centuries – so I always ask… why try to fix or change something that wasn’t broken?
January arrives with the resolve to do better, be better, or feel better. The following are a few tips (and a reminder) to keep things simple and make changes that will improve your health by increasing your energy, strength, and overall immunity.
Eat your fruits and vegetables:
Increase the number of servings to make sure you hit your 5-10 per day. Veggies are especially important. You want to be sure to choose dark green and other vibrant colours for the valuable nutrients that will boost your immunity. They also help rid the body of toxins and provide protective factors for the heart and eyes. Colourful fruits, including berries, are also packed with nutrients and antioxidants, but it’s important to not overdo the servings here. Aim for at least 5 servings of veggies and 2-3 servings of fruit in a day.
Go against the grain:
Aim to eat slow-release complex carbs. These are the ones you’ll find in whole grains including quinoa, oats, spelt, brown rice, and in beans and legumes. If you can’t live without your bread, reach for sourdough or Ezekiel. These will give you more fiber, more real nourishment, and won’t cause your blood sugar to spike.
Kick cravings to the curb by staying satisfied:
By incorporating protein at each meal, you can feel full longer and also keep your blood sugar stable. Add beans, nuts and seeds, fish, chicken, eggs, and beef. If you haven’t made the switch, try to choose organic to avoid any added antibiotics, pesticides or hormones. Organic farmers use richer soils and better animal feed to provide more wholesome and nourishing food.
On average, most people get about 10 grams of fiber from their diet. Did you know the recommended amount is at least 30 grams? We are all aware that fiber keeps our bowel functions regular, which in turn help to ward off constipation and prevent a build-up of toxins, lower cholesterol, feed our immune-boosting intestinal bacteria, and help reduce our incidence of colon cancer. Adding fruits and vegetables that are rich in fiber, whole grains, seeds and nuts, bean and legumes to your diet will help you to stay on track.
Get your fats straight:
Not all fats are created equal. You need essential fats, and a balance from a variety of sources. Green leafy vegetables, flax, hemp seeds, avocado, coconut oil, wild caught fish or organic beef and chicken, almonds, and organic eggs and dairy are all great sources of unprocessed, unrefined, healthy fats. Grab some natural ingredients and make your own dressings for salads or marinades by adding herbs with flax oil and lemon juice. And ditch the margarine in favour of all natural organic butter!
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate:
Water is vital to hydrate your organs, keep your skin moisturized, keep your bowels moving, and flush toxins from the body. Make sure you are drinking enough of it each day! Herbal teas are also a great option to increase your fluid intake and will add minerals and antioxidants too!
Reduce your chemical load:
Whenever you can, avoid artificial flavours, colours, and sweeteners, any preservatives, chemical emulsifiers, and other additives. By making whole food choices, this becomes a non-issue!
Ditch the sugar:
Seriously. Get rid of it – especially white refined sugar. It robs your body of vitamins and minerals, weakens your immune system, and wreaks havoc on your hormones. Try small amounts of raw honey or maple syrup if you need to make something sweeter – they have been used for centuries and contain many nutrients that aid in the digestion of sugar. Get your energy from real, whole foods, instead of a quick sugar fix and you’ll be feeling the difference in no time.
Making lifestyle and nutrition changes can seem daunting, especially when you start to buy in to all the hype. If you’re sick and tired of, well, being sick and tired, you don’t need a fad diet you need to get back to basics and nourish your body. Simple changes like the ones I mentioned above will allow you to function at your best, give you energy for all your day may hold, and set you up for continued health in the future.
If you have specific health questions, or current conditions that you feel need a more tailored health approach, please reach out and I am happy to help!
Let’s make 2018 your healthiest year yet!!
(c) 2018 Carlisle Integrative Wellness