As a child you were often told to “eat your vegetables or you won’t grow up to be big and strong.” As you get older, it becomes even more important that your body gets the maximum amount of vitamins and minerals. Without the proper intake of fruits, vegetables, healthy grains, and nutrients your body cannot perform efficiently. Dr. Gray and her team are focusing on the importance of nourishment this month as a part of her series for getting back to basics in 2022.
The Significance of Nourishment
Do you think about what the food you choose to eat is doing to the inside of your body? Do you question if what you’re eating is benefiting or hindering your immune system, future pregnancies, or overall well-being?
People with healthy eating patterns live longer and are at lower risk for serious health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. Specifically, for people diagnosed with chronic illnesses, proper nourishment is a must! Being mindful of the nutrients you consume can help manage conditions of a chronic illness and prevent future complications.
The healthy aisle of the grocery store can be overwhelming, which makes it easy to assume that something labeled “low sugar”, “whole grain”, or “all natural” is healthy. But is it actually? When you take a closer look at the nutrition facts and ingredients, some of these “healthy” labeled foods are full of sugars, fats, and artificial flavors. Another common misconception is believing you are choosing a healthier option because it’s labeled as “diet” or “sugar free”. The truth is that the majority of these products contain the most widely used artificial sweetener, Aspartame. Aspartame has been linked to serious health problems, including:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Stroke and dementia
- Weight gain
- Metabolic disorders
- Mood disorders
- Headaches and migraines
With the basics of nourishment overlooked and the misleading labels on packaging, it becomes very important to make sure you’re ingesting foods that will give you the proper nutrients and vitamins.
Green juices are the perfect example of nutrients straight from the source, plus they taste delicious! But drinking a green juice once a month isn’t going to benefit your body and well-being. Consistency is the key to seeing long-lasting results and the benefits of proper nutrition. A consistent intake of a healthy balanced diet can help in a multitude of ways including:
- Reduces the risk of some diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, some cancers, and osteoporosis
- Reduces high blood pressure
- Lowers high cholesterol
- Improves your well-being
- Improves your ability to fight off illnesses
- Improves your ability to recover from illnesses or injuries
Moderation is Key!
Moderation is the most important thing while trying to remain healthy, sticking to a nourishment filled diet, and keeping a healthy relationship with food. As humans, we’re bound to make mistakes. But don’t punish yourself and create a poor relationship with the food you choose to eat because of a slip up. Life is meant to be enjoyed and a lot of exciting moments in life revolve around food; so if you want to have that donut or extra serving of macaroni and cheese, do it! But don’t turn one meal into a full day of poor eating. Get yourself right back on track with your next meal!
Keep in mind how you feel after eating certain foods. Small changes in your body – like more energy throughout the day, less headaches, better sleep – are all benefits you will start to notice when you eat more nutritious foods. Eating the rainbow (and I don’t mean Skittles) or fruits and vegetables with more color is substantially better for your body than eating a diet filled with too many carbs. Nourishing your body can go as far as making a difference in living a long and healthy life.
Things to consider when planning your next meal:
- Variety is key
- Keep things close to the original source – shoot for 5 ingredients or less
- Plan ahead
- Avoid inflammatory foods
The 90/10 Mindset
There are various different strategies to staying on top of your health, but it’s important to choose something that is sustainable long-term. Something I find easy to stick to is the daily 90/10 rule. Rather than focusing on the term diet or “rules”, which could create a poor relationship with food, focus on changing your mindset. Basically, this mindset means you maintain your health and focus on whole, nutritious foods 90% of the time, and use the remaining 10% to treat yourself.
A big part of this mindset is about adding foods in, and not taking foods away. Focus on eating nutritious, healthy foods first and if time, or if your body even wants it, then allow yourself to eat the foods that are less nutritious. As this mindset, and your relationship with food, grows stronger and healthier, you will begin to find that your body may not crave those less nutritious foods all the time because of how good, and full, you feel.
This mindset is proven sustainable because it is not about restricting, but rather provides you with food freedom and flexibility. Adding in foods that you know are going to be good for you, without depriving yourself of foods you enjoy, changes your psychology around food and the way you eat.
Life is short and meant to be enjoyed. If you enjoy eating foods, find a way that is sustainable for your lifestyle to eat nutritious foods, while also being able to enjoy what you like without feeling guilty.
Did you miss last month’s blog that focused on the importance of movement? Check it out here!