What does healthy mean to you? To me, it means living a balanced life without ailments, chronic conditions, stress, and pain. Being healthy is about body-mind and soul – meaning being balanced, well, fit, with vitality and energy to pursue activities in life which bring you joy, peace, and happiness. Isn’t that what we all want?
Nutrition is a big part of this. What we feed our bodies also feeds are minds, and if we’re constantly feeding ourselves poisons, dead processed non-nutritional food, this will take its toll not only on our body, but also on our mental state (mind) and our sense of well-being (soul). An inefficient diet will cause dis-ease, stress, physical manifestations of illness, and sometimes even depression. So nutrition is about being healthful, eating wholesome, beneficial foods, which also taste good!
What we feed our minds, also feeds our bodies. So when we’re feeling blue, or depressed, or having constant negative thoughts, or being self-critical we get into a spiral of negativity and this manifests in physical symptoms such as a sluggish digestive system, headaches, pain, forgetfulness, irritability, and fatigue (to name a few). This is body-mind break-down. So doing something for yourself which makes you laugh, brings you joy, gratitude, and happiness will help you to change your thought patterns, and will help alleviate those symptoms. Wouldn’t that be nice? To be pain-free and worry-free and instead feel energized, motivated, and confident!
Wholesome food does taste good! When you change for the better, your cravings for stimulants, sugars, and fats will decrease and then cease, and the nutritional foods you are consuming daily will enable you to feel revitalized, refreshed, clean and clear, motivated and so much more!
We often eat-on-the-run, grabbing the quickest available food, nuke it in the microwave in its plastic tray, and eat in front of the telly, or between rushing here and there. It’s time to start paying attention to the way you eat and what foods you consume. Food is nourishment. It is the fuel you need to make your body function correctly. The fresher the products you eat, the better nutritional value for your vital organs, cells, tissues, bones, muscles, brain, skin, vision, hearing …– yep every part of you! The more processed, packaged goods, fast foods and junk food you eat, the less actual nutritional value is going into your body. You need daily intakes of vitamins, minerals, proteins/amino acids, fatty acids, and complex carbohydrates. Most processed foods have a lot of sugars, preservatives, and not much else, or they ‘add’ synthetic vitamins and minerals. – However all plants, vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts/seeds, and meat products have the nutrients you need to not only survive, but to thrive. Doesn’t that sound fabulous?!
Rule of thumb:
Every day you should eat about 1/3 complex carbohydrates, 1/3 fruits and vegetables, and the remaining 1/3 is made up of proteins, fats, and dairy products.
You also need to eat according to your specific calorie intake for your height, current weight, and level of daily activity. Eat too many calories and you gain weight, eat too little and you lose weight.
Drink 6-8 small glasses of filtered water (Here’s a little self-check you can do: If your urine color is completely clear then you’re drinking too much, if it is dark yellow you’re dehydrated. It should be a light/pale yellow).
It’s better to have 5 smaller meals through the day than 3 big ones.
Quality is better than Quantity.
It’s better to have your high energy foods earlier in the day so that your body can use that energy and sustain you throughout the day. Your evening meal can just be light (unless you’re going to do a lot of physical activity in the evening).
Chew slowly and take your time over your meals. Focus your attention on the meal (rather than the work on your desk, or the television) and be grateful for the sustenance you are receiving from the good quality food you are now consuming.
Chew your food into small morsels as the saliva that is produced with this action is the first step in the digestive process. Swallowing large amounts of un-chewed food makes it that much harder for your digestive system to work.
Remember that you are in control, and you have the power to heal yourself. Allopathic medicine often takes the power away from the patient and focuses on treating or inhibiting symptoms rather than looking at root causes. Functional Medicine (allopathic) however looks at root causes including stress, diet, and lifestyle. Alternative Medicine also takes the holistic approach of Functional Medicine, addressing root causes and effectively demonstrates that your choices affect your health. Alternative Medicine uses medicinal herbs, nutritional foods, relaxation therapies and stress relief techniques (to name a few) to encompass body-mind, and soul. The right Natural Therapist will ‘teach’ you how to apply these techniques to your own life, so that you can heal yourself. Giving you, your power back. You no longer have to be a victim to your illness, or your ‘aches and pains’. It no longer has to be something ‘happening to you’ but rather viewed as a temporary state of dis-ease that can be rectified with the right steps and approach to stress, nutrition/diet, and lifestyle.
Food and Herbs are medicinal – so when considering trying a new food, herbal supplement, herbal tea, or supplements please ensure that there is no contra-indication with your medication, allergies, or medical conditions.
Food and Herbs are medicinal – yes I’m repeating it but this time to make the point that you can heal your body through the fresh food and herbs you consume. Fresh foods are the nutrients your body needs to function properly.
Sometimes our bodies are so full of toxins that they react to any food we consume. So it is helpful to do a cleanse or detox first, then build up the probiotics in your body, add some digestive enzymes, and then start your healthy eating cycle by substituting and introducing.
A simple cleanse is having Milk Thistle Tea or Dandelion & Burdock Root tea. The more toxins you have in your system from continual consumption of processed foods, stimulants, alcohol, sugars and fats, the more you will experience symptoms of detox. These are a sign that your body is purging wastes and toxins from your body and will only last a day or two. They can include: headaches, nausea, sweating, increased bladder or bowel motions, acne. You will feel lighter, invigorated and refreshed afterwards. It is advisable to consult a Medical Professional before undertaking a cleanse.
Having digestive enzymes with each meal can help aid digestion. These can be bought at health food stores.
When you do make changes, try firstly with substitution, and a slow introduction.
When trying out a new food for the first time only try 1 new item per month. That one new food can be introduced into your diet over a couple of meals over a few days in small quantities (especially if you’re concerned about allergies or intolerances) and then not at all for 2 weeks, and then try it again. This way your body gets used to the new food and you can monitor for signs of allergens by using this slow introduction method. It also enables you to gradually change your diet, wean you away from your old habits whilst introducing life-affirming new positive, healthy habits.
Each day try substituting 1 coffee/black tea with chicory or dandelion root coffee or chamomile tea and sweeten with molasses, stevia or organic raw honey. You can still use your usual milk, or try almond milk for a richer (non-dairy) taste.
After a cleanse it’s important to rebuild your intestinal flora (probiotics). Probiotics in tablet form can be purchased at a health food store or pharmacy. You can also find probiotics in yoghurt.
Understanding Cravings: two types
1 – instinctual need 2 – addiction/allergy Instinctual need is a quiet need, an inner knowing that a certain food is right for you, and after you’ve consumed it you feel increased energy, or clearer of mind, cleaner of body and healthier in general. The second type of craving is that feeling you get of ‘needing’ and ‘desire’ for a certain food (or substance). When you consume it you experience pleasure a ‘feel good’ notion but afterwards your body feels a bit sluggish and your stomach may grumble and gurgle. Yet the desire for more of it grows, and you experience withdrawal feelings. This is an addiction, and it is also indicative of an allergy to that food. You see, your body responds to an allergen by sending inflammatory responses to the affected area, and this releases endorphins (natural painkillers) which gives you that ‘high’. So take note the next time you start to feel desire for a certain food, note down what it is and the subsequent bodily reactions. You may find that you are actually allergic to it, and your body is trying to fight it and eliminate it from itself.
Stress is the capacity to cope with and respond to pressure. Some stress is motivating, and other stress is counter-productive. Short-term positive stress gives you the boost you need to achieve goals and take action. Short-term negative stress can result in fatigue, headaches, insomnia , digestive upsets, irritability etc (notice these are the same symptoms as an inefficient diet – the body-mind break-down). Medium-term negative stress can result in digestive disorders, migraines, hypertension, adrenal fatigue, exhaustion, and long-term stress is related to angina, heart attacks, strokes, and some cancers! It all sounds awful doesn’t it? You don’t want that right? Do you know that you can do something to change your course for the better? And it is stuff you’ve probably already heard about but maybe not given enough credit to. Things like: regular exercise, a good night’s sleep, healthy diet, plenty of hydration, time-out, connecting with nature, limiting stimulants, avoiding substances/drugs, having a relaxing bath or massage, meditation and so many more!
Move your body
Exercise comes in all shapes and forms – it doesn’t mean going to the gym. Anything that increases your heart rate (cardiovascular), strengthens or tones muscles, breaks you into a sweat – is a work out. This can include swiss ball, walking, swimming, yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, Martial Arts, gardening, cycling, running, hiking, rock climbing, burst training, trampolining, mountain biking, team sports. There are so many ways to be active and healthy – and enjoy it too! The trick is to enjoy the activity and then it won’t feel like a work out. If your mind is focused on your breathing and technique with yoga, or scoring that goal with soccor, or doing a back flip on a trampoline with the kids, then you’ll be having fun, getting more oxygen into your body, strengthening and toning without even realising it!
Remember to always have antioxidants and electrolytes after a decent workout. We need oxygen for everything, right down to a cellular level – but it does increase free radicals, and this process should be counteracted with fresh organic blueberry or blackberry juice, or leafy greens – anything high in antioxidants. If you’ve perspired a lot during workout or sports you may need to replenish some nutrients like salt, so add a pinch or two of Celtic sea salt or Himalayan Salt to your fresh berry juice.
The key to a healthy body-mind and soul is variation, moderation, and a wide range of foods. So variation in that you have some foods one day, and other foods another day, moderation – nothing in excess. And a wide range – a big variety of fresh foodstuffs ensuring you have complex carbs, fruits and veges, proteins, fatty acids, and milk products/milk alternatives.
Disclaimer: Food and Herbs are medicinal – so when considering trying a new food, herbal supplement, herbal tea, or pharmacy supplements please ensure that there is no contra-indication with your medication, allergies, or medical conditions. Always consult your GP or Specialists before making changes. Work with a qualified Nutritionist, Naturopath, or Alternative Health Medical Professional who will complement your allopathic medicine and understands your current medical situation. It always helps to have a GP in the allopathic world who also understands the benefits of natural therapies so that you can all co-operate together to make your body-mind and soul strong, healthy, and vibrant. Remember you are always in control of what you choose to consume, how you behave, think, and act – it’s your body-mind, and soul – use it wisely.
Want more info? Check out some useful articles: here