As I continue my health and wellness journey, I realize that food is fuel. The elements you put in your body either help or hinder your body’s natural processes and ultimate performance. When we hear “clean eating” and “good nutrition,” I think it scares us because we think it’s beyond our reach or that we have to subscribe to a rigorous diet (there’s that word) that restricts us from a happy, relationship with food (yes, I have a loving relationship with food; he treats me exceptionally well). But, simply, healthy eating is about changing the way you see food, and changing your mind about the role it plays in your life. Here’s how it’s happening for me:
- Food is good. It truly is! When you nourish your body with food that restores, energizes, and fuels you daily, you will truly believe that food is good! When we choose food that is unhealthy for us (and yes, many of us know exactly what those foods are), not only do we feel bad physically, but we feel bad emotionally – especially if we’ve made it a goal to live a healthier lifestyle. The food I stock in my house MUST fuel me, restore me, and help nourish my family. While I’m not perfect, I truly try my best nowadays to only bring in my house what is good for me and my family.
- Get educated. Food is good, but you have to know what’s good for you. This is not hard to do. From free seminars at local hospitals and health clinics, to local markets, to free websites that flash across your screen, knowing what’s good for you is not hard to find. If I had to impart the most basic, fundamental, important aspect of good, healthy food it would be this: if the Earth didn’t make it, don’t eat it. Okay, I know that sounds crazy-insane, but it is so helpful and blatantly easy to remember. If an animal didn’t produce it, or it didn’t come straight from God’s great Earth, it’s probably processed and contains “stuff” that is not good for you. Why would I say such a thing? The basic building blocks of great nutrition consists of protein (um, natural stuff from animals, veggies and nuts), carbohydrates (um, more natural stuff from veggies and animals), and healthy fats and oils (more natural stuff from plants and nuts). Of course this is not exhaustive, but simply shows that healthy, good food comes naturally, and requires another element that makes it that much better.
- Cook. Once you understand that good, healthy food isn’t always processed, you immediately realize that you have to cook. This is a great thing! I’m beginning to despise “fast food.” Sometimes the order is wrong. Sometimes the food isn’t hot. Sometimes the food isn’t cooked well. Sometimes, I don’t even know if it’s food. Put simply, cooking saves money, saves time (I live for leftovers), and tastes much better!
- Know what is good for you. This is important because everyone has different goals, different lifestyles, and different bodies that process foods in different ways. My current wellness goals encompass shedding fat and gaining lean muscle. I live a very active lifestyle, and…I’m a mom. So, I choose food that provides energy, restores muscle, and is delectable to my four-year old daughter’s palate. Simply put. Carbs and fats give me energy and shuttle nutrients through your body, and protein builds muscle and aids in muscle recovery and keeps me lean.
- It’s all about choices. This is the last, and probably most important aspect that has impacted my health and wellness journey. Every time I eat (most of the time…), I’m choosing how I want to feel and how I want to perform. This sounds extreme, but it is really the truth. Food that is not good for us can not only make us look bad, but makes us feel bad, physically. When I pack my lunch, I always think, “What am I trying to accomplish today? What do I have to do? What do I need to get me through the day?” You have to believe that food has that much of an impact on your life. If you don’t believe me, take a look at the high number of people that suffer with diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholosteral, obesity, anorexia…I could go on. And while exercise and physical activity is important, it will all mean absolutely nothing if you don’t eat good, healthy food.
Did this change in perspective happen overnight? Not at all. However, once I began to notice the immense change in my body, health and overall wellness, I quickly began to shift my perspective and make the change indefinitely.
For more healthy, conscious eating, see my post on Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s article and interview on eating with a spiritual consciousness.
Here’s to happy, healthy, good eatin’!