I decided not to post a recipe this week as I wanted to dig deeper into food, in particular how food can actually heal our bodies. Much of my time these days is spent learning about food, studying nutrition, preparing food, cooking food, and of course, eating food. I LOVE FOOD! Who doesn’t, right?
Over the course of the past 25 years, many things have changed in the fitness industry. Most of all, food. It’s everywhere. Food is one of the most controversial topics not just in the health industry, but also in mainstream social media. Everywhere you look, there are pictures and videos on food. How to make it, the ingredients, and how many calories it contains. There is so much information out there that it’s hard for people to believe what is true and what isn’t. Most people are looking for the newest trends or the easiest ways to drop weight that they forget the basic reason why we consume food in the first place.
If you’re looking for me to tell you it’s because it tastes good, you’re wrong. Yes, our taste buds are important and we spend much of our time thinking about our next meal, but what is the real reason why we eat? Simply, to nourish our bodies. Without nourishment, our bodies wouldn’t survive. With malnourishment comes illness and disease. The amount of overweight and obese people is on the rise in North America and it’s not due to inactivity (this is a small part of it) but rather the food we are consuming. The discussion of food is at the center of my life. People want to get healthier but they’re just not sure what to believe when there is so much controversy. Some people say, eat meat for protein, but others say give it up because it will cause cancer. Drink milk for strong bones and to obtain calcium while others say stay away from it as it will lead to osteoporosis and it can cause some cancers due to the protein ‘casein’ contained in it.
Outside the meat and dairy industry there is the industry who provides us with unhealthy, processed food. Current packaging from some companies shows us that many products are ‘low in fat’ and are ‘calorie free’, when rightfully so nothing is calorie free. We get caught up in the unrealistic expectations that if we eat a particular food or consume a beverage that is high in calories, that we can just spend an extra hour at the gym to work it off. Do you have any idea how long it takes to burn 1,000 calories? Do you know what chemicals you are placing into your body when you eat a processed product?
Have we lost our reasoning for why food is in our lives?
I want to get people thinking differently about their food.
- How would it feel to add 10, 20+ years to your life simply by choosing different foods to eat?
- How would you feel if you could see your grandchildren or even great grandchildren get married?
- How would it feel if you could go all day long without consuming caffeine or feeling tired?
- How would it feel to finally shed 20, 30, 50+ pounds and keep it off for the rest of your life?
- How would it feel to never worry about portion control or count your calories?
- How would it feel to reverse certain diseases like diabetes, CHD (coronary heart disease) or common cancers?
- How would it feel if you were responsible for the survival of the planet for future generations?
- How would it feel to be happy 99% of the time?
If you thought about any of these questions, it’s time to start thinking differently about your food. I might lose some of you in the next few sentences but it’s important to know how our food choices directly affects our health and in turn, the health of others.
There are no drawbacks to a whole foods and plant-base lifestyle. The most challenging part is that you will have too many options for food choices. Science is always changing and it’s important that you owe it to yourself to keep updated. When you see children now in their early teens being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and having heart attacks as young as 17 years old it’s time to start paying attention to what we put into our mouths.
How Food Impacts Our Mood
While eating a big juicy burger or eating that piece of chocolate cake feels good as you eat it, that feeling doesn’t last for long. Foods that are high in fats, sugars, refined carbs, and animal products, are not only making you unhealthy but very unhealthy. Food carries energy and then that energy is passed throughout our bodies. Eating processed and animal foods does nothing for your body except contribute to toxicity and deficiency as there are very little nutrients in these foods. By consuming more whole and plant-based foods, you are providing your body with the energy it needs and filling it with essential vitamins and nutrients to fight disease and illness.
Most of all the nutrients that are absorbed through our food goes through our intestinal tract. Bacteria or gut flora helps extract energy from food to build the body’s immune system. By doing so, it helps protect against infection and harmful disease-causing bacteria. Your gut acts as the tank that holds all the food that’s coming from outside of the body and then interacts with our immune system. Our gut bacteria interact with our body’s cells to help a develop an immune system that is fully-functional. This is why you see people who eat whole and plant-based foods rarely get sick with sore throats, colds, and flus. Their immune system is so strong that they can fight off these common ailments. Can you imagine not having to worry about getting a cold or the flu? It all has to do with the food you put into your body. Fill it with whole foods and your body will love you back by not getting sick.
A lifestyle centered on eating plenty of fiber rich, nutrient rich, and minimal processed food is the key to taking weight off but more importantly keeping it off. Can you imagine never worrying about protein, carbs, fats, or the amount of calories you are consuming every again? All that is involved in whole foods and plant-based lifestyle is eating foods which are as close to their natural state as possible. Foods like this are free from added sugars, fats, and preservatives. Foods such as:
- Whole grains
- Raw fruits and vegetables or lightly cooked
- Nuts and seeds
Fruits contain mostly water and because of their high fiber content, they keep you feeling full without consuming a lot of calories. The same can be said about vegetables. They are high in nutrients, but low in fat and calories. As a result of this, you can eat a higher volume of food and still keep your calorie content low. The same goes for legumes. Eating healthy whole foods throughout the day can improve your metabolism and support your weight loss goals.
It’s not that hard to comprehend that the impact of our food choices has on our individual health. When we feed our bodies with high, dense, nutrient foods, we can live a longer, healthier life. Our food choices also impact those around us as we are sick less, we are happier, and we are contributing to the planet as a whole.
Eat Clean & Live Green!
Your Compassionate Coach,