Food is meant to nourish, fuel and heal the body. Real, whole food is medicine to the body. That is why Excellent Nutrition is one of the pillars of health at Faithfully Guided Health Center (FGHC).
When we eat, we want to bring healing nutrients into the body. Vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, lean proteins and complex carbs in their most natural and unprocessed forms pack in the nutrients and boost overall physical and mental health. Processed, modified food brings more harm than good—not to mention excess weight gain—to the body.
It can be overwhelming when it comes to developing a lifestyle of healthy food choices. We thought it would be helpful to give you three simple things to consider for lasting change.
1. How does your food make you feel?
Nourishing foods should bring us energy and vitality. Do you ever have meals where afterward all you want to do is lay on the couch and take a nap? Or the pleasure you had while eating quickly turns to regret afterward (you probably have a fast-food restaurant coming to mind)?
We recommend our clients keep a journal where they record both physical and emotional symptoms related to their food. Things such as a stomachache, painful joints, or headache can be signs that your food is harming you – but also feelings of depression and brain fog can be indicators as well. These may be signs that you have become sensitive to certain foods or just that your body is craving real, nutrient-rich foods. Listen to your body – it’s trying to tell you something!
2. Are veggies a staple in your diet?
So many people are looking for the perfect diet plan where they don’t have to eat vegetables regularly. Whether you are eating Paleo, Ketogenic, or just a whole food diet, veggies have to be a staple. They’re where we get most of our vitamins and nutrients as well as the majority of the fiber that is so healthy for our gut.
A goal would be 5-7 servings of veggies per day. If you are up for a challenge, over the next week, try including a non-starchy vegetable (or fruit) serving with every meal. This can be done with an avocado or tomato with breakfast or greens at lunch. (A serving is a 1/2 cup of cooked or 1 cup of raw fruit/veggie.) If you are already doing this, you already know the benefits. Keep up the good work!
3. Do you watch your sugar intake?
Sugar – it has been the trigger for so much of the decline in American health. Sugar is added to 80-90% of processed foods. Thankfully, now the FDA has required all manufacturers to disclose the amount of added sugar on the nutrition label. Most of us lead busy lives and will consume processed foods from time to time so it’s important to know what you’re looking for on a food label. Sugar is “hidden” on the ingredient list as 100 different names, but always check your labels!
Tip: If you are trying to choose an on the go food like a granola bar, look for the item with less than five ingredients and less than 5 grams of added sugar. Remember 1 teaspoon of sugar = 4 grams of sugar. It helps to think of converting the sugar to teaspoons to imagine how much sugar is truly in the item and which products to put back on the shelf! Shoot for less than 30 grams of added sugar daily.
Want to learn more about making healthy, sustainable food choices? We would love the opportunity to take the time to sit down and talk about ways to help you in your personal journey to health.
If you would like additional reading on this subject, we highly recommend exploring the Daniel Plan and Whole 30 books.