I grew up eating a pretty normal diet when I was young and then in the 90s along came the discovery that fat was bad for us, and we were told to stay away for it! All sorts of new foods were made and labeled low fat! We were told by the media not to eat fat, and instead were encouraged to eat all the new packaged foods that were low in fat, and they were supposed to be ‘healthier’ for us.
- My breakfasts included low-calorie cereals with non-fat milk or flavored instant oatmeal.
- Lunches were made of low-fat turkey sandwiches, low-fat mayonnaise, low-fat cheese slices, flavored non-fat yogurt, and a piece of fruit.
- Snacks were wheat thins crackers with low-fat cheese, low-fat granola bars or 100-calorie “No Fat” snack packs.
- Dinners were pasta, potatoes, and meat, or Lean Cuisines.
My goal was to eat LESS as that is what was told to us by the media and TV. Fewer calories, less fat, less food in general. But I could never really do it; I was always hungry and unsatisfied –I love food ☺
I didn’t know it at the time, but I was doing it all wrong. Based on what I now know as a Licensed Holistic Nutrition Practitioner, it’s no wonder I wasn’t able to lose weight: I was always hungry, anxious, stressed, and having unexplainable health and skin issues.
My body was depleted. Not for lack of calories, but for lack of nourishment.
I was filling my body with sugar and refined carbohydrates that were spiking my blood sugar – making it impossible to lose weight and EASY to gain weight. My body needed healthy fats!
The way I was eating was:
- causing inflammation
- starving my brain
- triggering cravings
- sabotaging my energy levels
- wreaking havoc on my hormones
And all along, I was being told by the diet industry that I was doing the right thing; I was eating “healthy” foods, I was watching my fat intake, I was trying to eat less…
But I wasn’t a picture of health. My skin was showing signs of nutrient depletion and my digestion was telling me something was not working!! I felt discouraged and frustrated by how I felt and I was unsure why.
Today I want to talk to you about what the foundations of a good diet are.
Many people are still confused about what is a “good diet,” and are constantly asking themselves, “What should I eat? Which is the healthiest?” There are so many kinds out there, low carb, high carb, low fat, Paleo, Keto, Vegetarian, Vegan, etc. This list goes on…
Well, here my opinion… No one diet is the healthiest. First of all, anything that you call a “DIET” is unhealthy, because you are restricted from certain food groups.
You want to eat the food that makes YOU feel your best, not what works for your best friend, your co-worker or the latest celebrity. Eat the foods that are going to make you happy, make your digestion healthy, and allow your skin to glow and your hair and nails to be strong. Your dietary choices are up to you, you need to find what works for you and makes you thrive in your life.
The key to good health and longevity is simple: eat a wholesome diet.
What is a wholesome diet?
It is comprised of plenty of water, fresh vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, fatty fish, raw nuts, seeds, beans and whole grains. You can’t go wrong when you are eating as close to nature as possible while avoiding processed foods, additives, and hydrogenated fats. Whole foods contain just one ingredient.
“If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.” ― Michael Pollan
The idea is to eat the most nutrient-dense foods.
Nutrient density is a measure of the number of nutrients a food contains in comparison to the number of calories. A food is more nutrient dense when the level of nutrients is high in relationship to the number of calories the food contains.
You want to ensure that you are getting the highest levels of essential nutrients needed for excellent health, including vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, essential fatty acids and fibre; for the least amount of calories possible.
Simply put, a nutrient is a substance that provides nourishment essential for growth and the maintenance of health.
There are SIX classes of nutrients:
The energy-yielding nutrients are considered macronutrients because they are required in relatively large amounts in the body. Water is included as a macronutrient, but it does not provide energy. Vitamins and minerals also do not provide energy and are considered micronutrients because they are only needed in small amounts by the body.
Together macro and micronutrients provide energy, structure, and regulation which are needed for growth, maintenance, repair, and reproduction. A balance of all nutrients is needed to maintain good health.
The number of essential nutrients needed each day varies based on many different things such as your age, sex, body size, genetic traits, illness, pregnancy, breastfeeding, medication use, and exposure to environmental contaminants. In general, your diet should consist of 45-65% carbs, 10-35% protein, and 20-35% fat.
I recommend eating a nutrient-dense, clean, whole food diet, but what does that actually mean? Our food choices have changed so much from the diet of our ancestors which sustained us throughout history and we seem to have lost the traditional wisdom of properly preparing our foods for optimal nutrition. Instead many people have turned to processed foods of convenience. Eating a diet from a variety of whole foods properly prepared is recommended, keeping in mind that the quality of food is of utmost importance.
When talking about obtaining macronutrients in the diet we must be able to recognize the difference in the quality of the food as processed versus natural whole foods will impact the body differently and provide different nutrition. Try to avoid processed and refined foods including refined sugar, white flour products, excessive canned foods, toxic additives, and refined table salt. Try to include organic foods to eliminate foods that are heavily sprayed with herbicides and pesticides. Hydrogenated fats, refined vegetable oils, and commercial animal products that have been fed hormones and antibiotics should be avoided as well.
Instead, we want to be sourcing free-range, organic eggs, organic or locally grown fruits and vegetables, grass-fed beef, free-range poultry, deep seawater fish, cold-pressed unrefined oils, butter, unrefined sea salt and whole grains, beans, legumes, raw nuts, and seeds. Eating a wide variety of foods that are local and seasonal will help to ensure that the body is receiving all the nutrients it needs.
Achieving optimal health through nutrition begins with eating a properly prepared nutrient dense whole food diet and is the true foundation that leads to optimal health. It is the food choices that we make that impact our well-being and taking steps to replace processed and refined foods in the diet with whole natural foods found in nature is the key to obtaining more nutrition through the diet. It is not a coincidence that health issues such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer are rising with the consumption of processed and refined foods of convenience which are nutrient deficient and taking the place of high-quality, nutrient-dense whole foods that should be in our diets.
By choosing less nutrient dense foods less often and in smaller amounts, and increasing more nutrient rich foods, can start you on the road to eating healthier for you.
If you have any questions that you would like answered, send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is a simple and easy nutritious snack you can make in mere seconds for you and your kids:
- 1 Banana
- 1 tbsp Almond or Peanut Butter
- 1 tsp Hemp Seeds, or other options: Sunflower Seeds, Chopped Nuts, Flaked Coconut, or Cacao Nibs
Peel banana, spread nut butter on it, and sprinkle with the seeds or nuts.
Slice into bite-size pieces and enjoy!
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