With 2017 approaching, new year‘s resolutions are inevitable. What was your biggest health triumph of 2016? Your smartest health decision? Chances are you’re thinking in terms of the food choices you made.
We all know the adage that “food can be medicine” so that falls in line with being healthy. Which means it can be as simple as healing with food. Add to that you’ve already got everything you need to go to the next step and beyond because your body is designed to heal itself.
STOP PUTTING DIRT IN IF YOU WANT TO HEAL
If you cut your hand – it will heal itself, unless you deliberately put dirt in, right up to the point of serious disease: your body will heal itself unless you keep putting dirt in it. Get my point? All we have to do is stop putting (metaphorical) dirt in ourselves and we’ll be on our way.
There is no shortage of dramatic stories of people recovering from their health woes thanks to food, and if you read my bio, you’d probably put me in with them: give the body the right food and environment (oh and the wonders of life saving brain surgery to allow me to even contemplate any of this!) and it will heal itself.
While it certainly gives motivation, you don’t need an illness to see how changing what you eat can give you more energy, help you maintain a healthy body weight, and sharpen your mental focus. Here’s three simple strategies for committing to healing with food.
3 EASY WAYS TO COMMIT TO AN ELIMINATION DIET
1. CUT PROCESSED AND PACKAGED FOOD
You read this everywhere in health blogs now. Eating processed you’re confusing your body by giving it things it wasn’t design to eat: weird numbers, colors, fats that are changed (trans) and of course, dreaded amounts of sugar. Read further and you’ll see that convenience doesn’t have to mean processed or unhealthy. PS. There’s even an easy ‘cheat’ on top of that too.
There’s nothing much else to say here. Just cut them out of your life. For good.
2. EAT THE BASICS
The toughest of us can go three weeks without food. However, not the majority. Most of us probably three hours and we start getting hangry. Whatever time records you can pass, it really boils down to what you eat, and what you should eat if you no longer want to be a slave to food.
Knowing what to eat has become a pretty hard business, especially with so much conflicting information out there telling us what’s right. No wonder we’d sooner turn to ‘superfoods‘ to lift us out of energy slumps and sugar highs. But what if instead we focused on getting more of what our bodies need, when we need it? You probably know the three macronutrients: carbs, fats, and proteins. What we need to relearn and teach ourselves is that their importance lies in the order listed and that we include them in each meal. Not only does one help the other digest and assimilate nutrients your body needs but each has a role to play in rebuilding your body.
Fats have been the (erroneous) devils of our diet for the last 30 years and we need to bring them back and improve our ability to digest them. They’re what every membrane in our body is made of, which goes on to make every cell (and chemicals like hormones and neurotransmitters), tissue, organ and system. You’re brain is 70% fat and your heart’s major fuel is fat. We need fat! Just remember we’re talking healthy fats here.
Proteins are our building blocks for muscle and other tissues, and they work alongside fats. In fact, you’ll notice they occur together in nature. Protein is one of the key macronutrients to look for when sourcing whole foods. The goal is to get them as close to how they occur in nature and this is how we our bodies were originally intended to eat them (farm to table). I’m talking eggs for instance, and not only on Sundays, and heaven forbid, never just the whites. Also the quality of your meats and serving them with the fats found naturally attached. Consider getting produce from a good source as well. Your food should be pastured and organic without antibiotics.
Lastly are carbs, perhaps the biggest swear word in nutrition at the moment. But we need lots of these, in the form of green leafy veggies, and as many different kinds as we can. A good rule of thumb is to limit the more sugary versions, like starches, and fruits to one a day a week.
Now that we know that information the next big question to answer is how much is enough? Instead of reaching for a sugary snack to lift you then a calming glass of vino to calm you, there’s actually a magic ratio to start you off.
3. SERVE THE MAGIC RATIO
The magic ratio is a principle of eating 40:30:30 (carbs: fats: proteins), basically thirds on your plate. How do you know how much to eat? Do you just keep going until you’re full? Do you limit yourself to just one plate? What about smaller plates? The best thing about eliminating convenience packaged and processed foods, is filling up first on what we need then later on what we want if there’s room. Using the 40:30:30 (carbs: fats: proteins) principle as a start, you can work out what feels best for your body and what is enough for you.
4. START WITH VEGETABLES
How do you plan each meal? Most of us start with a protein, like chicken or a steak, maybe with some veggies on the side. Is it working? How’s your energy, weight, satiation?
What If instead you started planning around the veggies you’re going to have, then the fats you’ll use to cook and serve them, like butter or coconut oil, and perhaps how you’ll dress them, like olive, avocado or macadamia oil, and finally that side of chicken or steak you’ll add at the end. You’ll be amazed at the new cooking inspiration and energy (that’s health!) your food can give you. My family call them sneaky veggies and we plan this way to make sure we get them into every meal, even breakfast.
CONVENIENTLY EATING THE RIGHT WAY
Ok, so you just don’t have time to cook from scratch, or even every meal? Luckily you’re reading this blog on the website of a paleo meal delivery service which is a great way to help you commit. Paleo itself gets you eating the basics, removing the most processed of our foods (grains and dairy). Paleo ensures most of us automatically digest a lot better if we just commit to the lifestyle. Paleo allows us to become more aware of what we’re eating which is the key. You’ll notice how what you eat effects your body. This helps your body to start doing what it’s made to do – heal itself.
There’s overwhelming evidence of the healing power of food (and the disease provoking of poor food). You can’t overstate the role of food in good health, so there, I just said it again. Diet is the single best way to get and stay well. Even in the short term, dietary changes can shrink the plaque on artery walls, laying off soy can relieve premenstrual issues, as can going without gluten end the need for heartburn medications. Your grocery list is indeed the foundation of where feeling good starts.
So now for 2017, what health advice would you like to give yourself? What would most like to change about your health? Inspiration is the greatest place to start in committing to anything, and maybe this coming year you can start in the kitchen: a healthy kitchen as a healthy you!