Looking to improve how you feel, increase your energy, reduce brain fog, or rid yourself of bloat or excess weight? Eat Real Food.
Take a real good look at what you eat and drink. Enhance your nutrition and eat real food to do wonders for your overall health and wellness, improving how you look and feel.
Where should you begin? With so many myths, fad diets, unhealthy weight loss plans, and just plain false information out there I know firsthand it can be overwhelming, stressful, and uninspiring. Read on for some help.
Some of the first steps recommended for people who are not feeling optimal are to hone in on their nutrition and eating habits.
If you’re experiencing low or unstable energy levels, restless sleep, headaches, joint pain, digestive issues, skin breakouts, sinus issues, increased hunger, unexplained weight gain or loss and/or feeling just plain blah – eating better may do wonders for you.
“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” ~ Jim Rohn
Below are a few tried-and-true methods for improving nutrition. Before I jump into them all, I’m going to mention the last one first. Slow down and be consistent, patient, and persistent, but let go of perfection.
There is no perfect diet, meal, day, or person.
You will eat more on some days, less on others. You may occasionally encounter and want to indulge in treats at the office, at holidays, or other celebrations. That’s okay; just continue to strive towards health and wellness with the following approaches.
Persevering, with steady determination will get you there.
- Eat real food, prepared at home, avoiding industrially or chemically processed foods.
- Eliminate foods that create negative reactions in your body. Common triggers include gluten, dairy, soy, grains, eggs, nightshades, nuts, seeds, beans, caffeine, and sugar.
- Eat for nutrient density, with plenty of leafy greens, vegetables, and lean proteins, organic and grass-fed when possible.
- Balance your blood sugar and keep it stabilized. Ensure your proteins, fats, and carbs are equalized at every meal or snack.
- Rotate your foods seasonally to alleviate boredom, and to make sure you are getting a wide variety of nutrients. This may also help you avoid becoming sensitive to a food you are eating too often.
- Plan your meals and snacks and create a food prep ritual. Preparation is a major key to success.
- Slow down and be consistent, patient, and persistent.
Let’s Get Real
The science community does not agree entirely on why processed foods are unhealthy. But, we do know that as the Standard American Diet (SAD), full of processed foods, spreads into other populations the world is getting fatter and sicker.
Processed foods are mainly foods containing more than one ingredient. Typical additives include additional sugars, preservatives, dyes, flavors, saturated and trans fats, emulsifiers and even texturants – ex. Granola bars, cereals, instant mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese, and frozen treats.
Additional processed foods include those stripped of fiber and/or nutrients – ex. Refined complex carbohydrates like white flour or white rice.
“If you eat food direct from nature, you don’t even need to think about this. You don’t have to worry about trans fat or saturated fat or salt—most of our salt comes from processed food, not the salt shaker. If you focus on real food, nutrients tend to take care of themselves.” ~ Dr. David Katz
These, often high sugar or high fructose corn syrup and low nutrient foods, tend to play havoc with our bodies. They may affect your metabolism, blood sugar level, cholesterol, digestive system, energy level, and weight. While these foods are created to look and taste good,
They may affect your metabolism, blood sugar level, cholesterol, digestive system, energy level, and weight. While these foods are created to look and taste good, processed foods are nutritionally unrewarding, addicting, and devastating to our bodies. When we eat processed junk foods over real whole foods, we become ill, overweight, and sluggish feeling.
When we eat processed junk foods over real whole foods, we become ill, overweight, and sluggish feeling.
A whole or real food is ideally a food with only one ingredient – a fruit or vegetable, chicken or turkey, a pecan, walnut, or natural almond butter for example. While all food provides your body with calories for fuel,
While all food provides your body with calories for fuel, whole foods also supply vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals to support all the body’s functions.
A diet high in whole foods may protect against heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. Further, results show fueling your body with quality calories provides better energy and overall good health.
Find Your Triggers
Not everyone can eat everything. While all our bodies mostly function the same, we do not all react the same way to foods. This is due to our genes, environments, physical conditions, or any illnesses or diseases we may have or have had.
Learn to listen to your body. You’ll discover what foods may be contributing to headaches, digestive issues, skin irritations, energy, tinnitus, arthritis, gout, etc.
Eliminating processed foods may rid you of many symptoms, but to reduce adverse reactions in your body, even more, you may need to look at other known potential irritants. Gluten, dairy, soy, grains, eggs, nightshades, nuts, seeds, beans, caffeine, and sugar are common triggers.
You may find that what irritates you now may not aggravate you later once your overall nutrition is improved. You may also discover that foods, which do not adversely affect you now may then as you age and your body changes.
Pay attention to your body and learn to question yourself about what you eat and how you feel.
“The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.” ~ Ann Wigmore
Zeroing in on my diet helped me get rid of daily migraine symptoms, lightheaded and dizziness episodes, sinusitis, brain fog, digestive irregularities, joint pain, excessive weight (without cutting calories), and excessive belly fat. It also improved my skin tone, energy, sleep, and mood.
Sure, it didn’t happen overnight, but as I eliminated certain foods, and began to eat real food more, I began to feel better, usually in less than a week often in 3-4 days. As I experimented and dialed-in even more, I felt even better.
It takes time to build simple, healthy habits, but steady, continuing resolve earns accomplishments.
Most Bang for Your Buck
Nutrient dense foods provide greater nutritional value per calorie than less nutrient-dense foods. A whole apple is more nutrient dense than a glass of apple juice. Apple juice contains no fiber, which an Apple does.
Further, you would need to consume almost 4 glasses of apple juice to get the same amount of Vitamin C found in an apple, which means four times the amount of calories!
Often high-calorie foods do not have the proper nutrients to fill you up, keep you satisfied, and maintain proper human functions without overly increasing your weight or causing other detrimental problems.
“Thou shouldst eat to live; not live to eat.” ~ Socrates
The most nutrient dense foods will be organic, real whole foods because there are no ingredients in them that do not need to be there (almost always anyway).
Nutrient-dense foods include fruits, vegetables, seafood, nuts and seeds, beans and legumes, grass-fed and pasture-raised meats, poultry and eggs, dairy, grains, and spices. I’ve personally seen that by eating real food with lots of nutrient density, we eat less in overall volume and calories. This results in you feeling and looking healthier.
Eat Real Food for Balance
To keep your energy level steady through the day attempt to include a lean protein at every eating event, along with healthy fat and carbs. This will alleviate blood sugar spikes and crashes that contribute to mid-morning or afternoon energy slumps.
Ideas include; a healthy salad with salmon and mango salsa at lunch, a greens smoothies or a veggie omelet with avocado and a grapefruit for breakfast, grass-fed beef with acorn squash, broccoli, and a side salad with olive or coconut oil. Snack ideas include a banana with a nut butter, a clementine with some cashews, or an apple with organic cheese.
Here’s a handy infographic that may help with portion sizing and proper meal balance.
Spice It Up
Variety is said to be the spice of life, and for some things I might agree, food being one of them. Eat real food that is in season, thereby increasing your chances of obtaining better nutrition and improving or maintaining greater health. Non-seasonal foods may contain additional pesticides, waxes, preservatives and other chemicals to make them look fresher than they are, due to the distances they must travel to your local grocery store.
Seasonal foods are often cheaper, more sustainable, and better for the environment. Eating seasonally and locally from farmers and markets supports those farmers and reduces the number of miles food must travel to you. It has also been found that seasonal foods are higher in antioxidants than non-seasonal foods.
Lastly, some say that rotating your foods may help to alleviate sensitivities to certain foods. While the jury is still out on the validity of that, I do think experimenting with new foods or rotating favorites helps to reduce boredom in your menu.
Time spent planning and preparing your meals and snacks will reap you many benefits. You will know what you are eating and when thereby alleviating stress and saving time.
Know what to shop for and how you will use your grocery items. You’ll waste less food and save money. Lastly, you will eat better by designing in variety and avoiding last-minute unhealthy choices.
When you bring home, your groceries take the time to do some initial prep. Wash, chop, separate, and organize your items. This makes meal preparation easier and less time-consuming during a busy morning or end of a long day.
Finally, slow down a little in all that you do but especially when you eat. I’ve found that taking time to do things I used to rush through actually saves time in the end. Also, keeps me less stressed.
Slowing down my eating by chewing more or setting down food or utensil between bites has me eating less and digesting what I eat better.
- Eat real food
- Eliminate foods that create negative reactions in your body
- Eat for nutrient density
- Balance proteins, fats, and carbs at every meal or snack
- Rotate foods seasonally
- Plan meals and snacks
- Let go of perfection
- Slow down and be consistent, patient, and persistent
Start with anyone of these ideas and add more as you go. I believe each can affect you positively and collectively they can do wonders. I’ve seen improved nutrition enrich the lives of many clients, family, and friends. They’ve recovered their health and increased their overall well-being by choosing to eat real food. You can do the same.
How is your eating plan? Do you eat real food or mostly processed items? Please reach out to me with any questions or share in the comments below.
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