When it comes to food, it is of the utmost importance to drop the dogma and discover what works for you and your body.
Believe it or not, kickstarting a new diet and cultivating a new mindset around food can be fun, especially when you approach it through an exploratory lens and decide to create health. Our culture, especially in the U.S., has a tendency to demonize real food, glorify diets, and deprive ourselves of the vital nutrients that we need to live optimal, energetic lives. These patterns simply do not work, yet many people continue with this approach because they just don’t know how to opt out or that there even is another way.
By choosing to change your mind and open up to the possibilities, you can discover a new and empowered path that allows you to form a healthy relationship with food, your body, and, as always, yourself. This kind of shift in perception allows for momentum, expansion, and lasting, sustainable change. Why? Because it is based on truth, and when it is based on truth, it adds up and it works not only for your body but throughout every aspect of your life.
With that, let’s dive into the tangible recommendations that align with this perspective, shall we?
When it comes to food, it is important to keep it simple and true to you. I have many patients that come in on all sorts of fad diets that deprive their body of key nutrients and their lives of enjoyable experiences. These diets may work for a short period of time, but they very rarely, if ever, work in the long term.
However, with a few tweaks, it is possible to eat what you want without depriving yourself of anything. In fact, I bet if you give this a chance you will come out feeling more alive and fulfilled than ever before.
The key here is to up the quality of how and what you eat so that you can provide your body with the key nutrients to help it function properly.
The diet philosophy and tips that follow are the same guidelines that I use myself and with my patients, tailored on an intuitive and individual basis. For the full picture, check out the Let Go & Grow Program or my private practice, for more personalized advice.
Before diving into what to eat, let’s first touch on how to eat. You can eat all of the healthy food that you want, but if you are not setting the stage to digest and assimilate your wonderful choices, you may still fall a bit short.
HOW TO EAT
- Get Present: Before meals, take a moment to relax and get present, whether this means taking a couple of deep breaths, saying a prayer or just closing your eyes in gratitude for a moment, do it. This small act may seem silly to some, but it allows your body to switch into a parasympathetic state where it can rest, digest and process to the best of its ability.
- Engage The Senses: Remember to be mindful, eat in good company, notice the vivid colors, the smell, the taste, and anything else that helps you to savor the flavors and soak in the experience. Mindful eating also allows your body to go into a parasympathetic state while improving salivary response, stomach acid production, and enzyme secretion.
- Chew Your Food: Chewing your food also initiates the breakdown process with the enzymes found in saliva, while also signaling the downstream production of stomach acid and digestive enzymes to assist in the breakdown, assimilation, and distribution of the nutrients.
- Check In With Your Body: In order to notice if you are 75-80% full, you have to remain present and connected to your body. This marker is a helpful signal to slow down so your brain can catch up with your body, and you can feel satisfied but not overly full.
- Focus On Health Creation: It is easy to get caught up in the details and sucked into self-deprivation. Whenever you notice this taking place, remind yourself of the big picture, the landscape, and your empowered intention. For example, let go of counting calories and instead, focus on nutrient density and on food that nourishes your body and life.
WHAT TO EAT
Let’s sum this section up in one sentence: eat high quality, whole foods that work for you and your body. Let go of foods that cause chaos, and prioritize organic, grass fed and wild caught!
- Health Foods: By focusing on health foods, we can widen the lens and include a wide variety of healthy proteins, fats, and carbs, for you to then tailor to your specifications. This includes pasture-raised meat and eggs, wild caught fish, healthy fats, vegetables, fruit, starchy plants, gluten-free grains, legumes, probiotic rich food, nuts & seeds, spices and healthy sweeteners.
- Drink: Make sure to drink enough pure, filtered water. Half of your body weight in fluid ounces is the general recommendation. Tea and nut milk are also great options.
- Quality: Consuming the highest quality foods available to you is the priority. High quality is not the same as expensive, in fact, most of my patients actually save money eating this way. High Quality, in general, means to eat organic, unprocessed, unrefined whole foods. It is also important to avoid GM crops and chemicals found in processed and artificials products, such as industrial seed oils and conventional sugar. See a more detailed description of what to look for below.
- Meats should at least be antibiotic and hormone free, and they are even better if they are organic, grass fed, and pasture raised.
- Seafood should be Wild Caught.
- Produce should be organic, and it is even better if it is grown locally and in-season. Frozen foods are also a great option, especially when it comes to produce, as they are picked during the peak of the season and flash frozen to keep nutrients intact.
- Experiment: Make sure to experiment with different colors and temperatures, and keep an eye out for “gray area foods” such as gluten-containing grains, dairy, alcohol, and coffee. If you have doubt, pull it out and look into an elimination diet.
The reason I place such an emphasis on high-quality food is because conventional and genetically modified (GM) crops are sprayed with toxic pesticides and contain experimental material that threatens our health in just about every way, shape, and form. Research confirms this over and over again.
Let me make this clear, I, along with many other scientists and practitioners, do not consider genetically modified crops or toxic pesticides fit for human consumption. I personally believe them to be poisonous, experimental and a reckless impersonation of what our bodies have been designed to consume since the beginning of time.
I have grave concerns about the detrimental effects of genetically modified crops and the use of these poisonous pesticides on our environment and on our population’s health and well-being.
With that said, you can look for the labels stated above, as well as “USDA Organic” and “NONGMO Project Verified” to guarantee the integrity of your food.
Another clear benefit to eating organic, apart from the decreased exposure to toxins, is that organic produce contains more intact nutrients. A relatively recent systematic review of 343 studies, published in September of 2014 in the British Journal of Nutrition, found organic produce to have higher concentrations of antioxidants and lower amounts of pesticides than nonorganic produce.
I personally look at high quality, organic food as just real food, what you see is what you get, without any weird, foreign, or strange material lurking. If I could emphasize anything, it would be this. Up the quality of the food you eat so that you can minimize your exposure to the toxins found in conventional and GMO crops.
The goal is to have your food work for you rather than against you, and if you choose to constantly consume toxic matter this will always be a struggle. However, if you choose to eat high-quality food, your body and life will surely thank you with improved health and well-being.
Finally, I encourage you to find your own balance, let go of the details and begin to change the landscape by creating your own food philosophy and doing what works for you.
As you let go of deprivation for health creation, you will begin to realize that food is more than just calories. It’s information, and it has the power to turn genes on and off, bring about vibrance, and fuel your being.
On a higher level, it is even used as an avenue to challenge your fear based beliefs, bring up issues to clear, such as guilt, shame, a need to be right, control and escape, just to name a few. What better way to get your attention than with a vital substance that drives life?
On this same higher level, food also provides a way for you to implement what you have learned, embrace the human experience, and communicate with your body so that you can build a strong and intuitive relationship with it.
In this way, food can be a portal, an indication for and an entryway into your own unique transformation. Let Go & Grow.