I thought discussing a few of the basics would be a good place to start. Although I've never thought of myself as a writer, since my life is dominated by nutrition I felt it would be fitting to share some of my knowledge in this area. In my opinion education around nutrition for the general public is extremely limited. The only thing I remember from school in terms of nutritional knowledge was 5 + a day and how to bake scones and muffins. There are so many opinions out there around nutrition and health its hard to navigate the correct information. Not to mention that many sources of information such as magazines and the internet can be full of theories and a lack of scientific backing. My goal for this platform is to be a reliable source of nutritional information, evidence based and enlightening. It is in fact true that we are what we eat, we rebuild each part of our body on a molecular level from the energy and nutrients we gain from our food. So, if your diet consists mainly of highly processed foods that are high in sugar and nutrient poor then unfortunately that is all your body will have to work with. It really does come down to balance. As a car needs to be serviced regularly and filled with good quality petrol to function and avoid burning out so too do our bodies. Therefore, from my perspective, nutrition should be a priority. I will endeavor to make these posts concise so to get started I want to focus on three easy ways to improve your health.
1. Eat "Real" Food
Eating "real" food basically describes getting back to the basics. It is a relatively new concept because processed food hasn't actually been around that long. Before that, all our grandparents knew was real food. Real food nourishes our bodies. It is unprocessed, unrefined and you can track it back to where it came from. For example, If we were to discuss the origin of spinach we could quite easily follow the process all the way back to the planting and harvesting of that vegetable on a farm of some description. However, if we were to do that with a tim tam it would be much more difficult with multiple ingredients from all over the place.
Generally "real" food sits around the outside of the supermarket, the aisles are no use to you for food shopping. These aisles contain stacks of processed food that offer you little to no nutritional benefit regardless of their marketing buzzwords. As a general rule, the more money thrown into the marketing of a product by a food corporation the more unhealthy that item is for you. Farmers markets and growing your own real food is also encouraged as this supports local growing and often provides the freshest options available.
2. Eat mindfully
I would have to say that 90% of the clients that walk into my office are "busy". I can relate to that, often there is not enough time in the day to achieve everything we aim for, and what normally gets the cut when we are busy or stressed? Healthy food choices. Mindful eating is the concept of being present while eating, paying attention to the food that is in front of you and the nutritional benefit that it offers you.
Time is a huge factor in making healthy lifestyle choices, which I will talk about in more detail in future posts. Food is often eaten on the run, in front of a screen, in a meeting, in the car. This is not mindful eating and would be better described as mindless eating. By simply sitting down to eat without a screen, focusing on the food in front of you and enjoying the taste, smell and sensations of your food is a great way to start being more mindful. If you have difficulty with over eating, mindful eating is incredibly advantageous as it highlights your hunger and fullness cues, allowing you to better manage your portion sizes.
3. Eat more vegetables
Everybody would benefit from increasing their vegetable intake. According to 'the plate model' a visual tool for meal planning used worldwide, non starchy vegetables and salad should take up half of your plate when choosing a balanced meal for lunch and dinner. Vegetables are incredibly nutrient dense, they are packed with vitamins and minerals.There are millions of billions of chemical reactions going on in our body every day and to ensure these can happen we need nutrients. They are great snacks and are delicious and I think they make you feel really good. Eat them by yourself and with your friends. We only get one body in this life so it is worth looking after it.
So there you go. Give these things a try, let me know how you go. Thanks for reading.