What does Healthy Eating mean? I bet you if you ask this question of 10 different people, you are likely to get 10 different answers 🙂
I recently attended an online summit where about a dozen different doctors talked about healthy eating. Every speaker had their own opinion on the subject, which often contradicted that of the previous presenter.
I thought ‘Jeez! I have been practicing nutrition for over 10 years, and I’m so confused. Imagine how someone without a background in nutritional science can make sense out of it?’
There are so many different nutritional approaches nowadays.
Paleo. Keto. High Protein. Low carb. Vegetarian. Vegan. Fruitarian. Flexitarian. Which one should you follow?
My friend, I want you to take a deep breath, exhale and relax. Listen to your body. Experiment.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What am I trying to achieve with this eating style?
- Do I enjoy this way of eating?
- Does it align with my values and beliefs?
- Do I feel strong, energized, and satisfied?
- Does it support my activity level?
- Is it easy to fit into my daily schedule and that of my family?
- Is it non-restrictive and socially appropriate?
- Do I have enough flexibility for special occasions and traveling?
- Will I be able to keep this eating style long-term?
If the answer is ‘Yes’ to all of the above – go for it!
Whatever nutritional approach you decide to take on, keep in mind the following fundamental principles:
It should be in tune with your metabolism. Your body digests the food you eat and uses the nutrients in a different way than your friend, neighbor, or even your family member. We often think of metabolism when it comes to weight. But it’s much more than that. It is a set of chemical processes that gives life to living organisms. Without it, there’s none.
Your metabolism does these important functions in your body:
- Converting food to energy to fuel your body
- Breaking down proteins, carbs, fats into building blocks:
- Amino acids, glucose, essential fats, vitamins, minerals
- To support your body structure and functions
- Eliminating toxic wastes and cellular debris from your body
It should meet your daily needs of macros like carbs, protein, fiber, omega-3 fats, and micros, such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants.
Lots of dietary approaches today focus on the quantity – low carb, low or high fat, high protein, and the list goes on. Instead, focus on the quality: eat wholesome foods, mostly plant-based, like whole grains, veggies, fruit, pulses, seeds, nuts. Add some lean animal protein sources, such as chicken, eggs, fish, if you like.
The micros play a super important role in digesting and absorbing the goodness of the foods you eat.
Several B vitamins and minerals like magnesium, zinc, iron, selenium, copper, iodine are essential parts of many enzymes your body uses to break down and build up the macromolecules, new muscle, and bone. So, take high quality micronutrients in optimal amounts and easily absorbable forms every day in addition to your healthy diet.
Be aware and cautious if you have any medical conditions. Some nutritional approaches might not be right for you or even harm your health. Make sure you talk to your doctor or a registered nutritional practitioner before changing the way you eat.
Getting the groceries and preparing the meals shouldn’t feel like Hunger Games.
Ideally, get your family or partner on board with your healthy eating style. Involve them in grocery shopping and meal prep. Find and try new recipes. Feel free to experiment with flavors and textures. Add spices, herbs, plant roots to your cooking. Be adventurous and have fun!
Remember: – Healthy Eating shouldn’t be restrictive.
We are constantly bombarded by messages like ‘Eat This But Not That’, ‘10 Foods to Never Eat’, ‘These Foods Will Make You Fat’. In reality, these restrictive beliefs have an opposite effect as we see with the soaring obesity rates. There is an essential difference between eating well and eating restrictively. If you are eating when you are truly hungry, and mindfully savouring your food without worrying if it’s good or bad for you – you are eating instinctively. You will feel more satisfied and will be less likely to overeat.
Here are some strategies you can follow to raise your awareness and enjoyment of the food you eat:
- Filter what you read, hear and say by asking yourself, ‘Does this sound restrictive?’
- Keep a journal to keep track of your beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and choices.
- Banish the words ‘good’ and ‘bad’ from your food vocabulary. Repeat this thought frequently: “It’s just food.”
- Let go of the belief that you must eat perfectly. Instead, make the healthiest choices you can without feeling deprived or guilty.
- Accept that sometimes you might regret some food choices you made, and that’s part of healthy eating and a learning experience.
- Use nutrition information as a tool, not a weapon. Don’t use it to deprive yourself of certain foods, or to restrict some ingredients unless you are allergic or intolerant to them.
- Listen to your body’s signals about what it wants and needs.
You don’t consume isolated nutrients – you eat food. If you are looking for rigid rules of what you should and shouldn’t eat, you won’t find them here.
I truly believe that when it comes to healthy eating – there’s no ‘One-Size- Fits-All’ deal.
What is good for you is not the same for everyone. It depends on your culture, food traditions, personal preferences, as well as your health conditions and nutritional needs.
If you need help figuring out your unique needs, I’d be happy to help you!
In my 7 Days Program to Kickstart Your Healthy Eating Program you will
- Discover your personalized nutritional needs and set the right goals
- Learn essential skills and healthy habits you can start practicing daily
- Take the stress and guesswork out of healthy eating
- Make delicious homemade meals in minutes
- Start feeling lighter, more energized, and mentally focused
Join my health-loving community of people like you to get:
- the latest news,
- healthy eating tips,
- new recipes,
- invitations to special events,
- and other extras exclusive to members.