Are your food choices aiding and abetting your health or are they handicapping, or perhaps even hijacking, it?
As the age-old expression goes, if I had a dollar for everyone that told me, “Teri, I eat really well,” I’d be oh-so-wealthy. So please tell me: do you think you eat well? What does really well mean to you? We all have our own take on what constitutes the ominous healthy eating paradigm.
Most of my family, friends, and clients—especially those who are attached to their dietary habits as most of us are—make this claim confident they really are making great choices for themselves. While some truly are doing wonderfully with their dietary approach, upon closer inspection many are unknowingly playing Russian roulette.
Much of society’s concept of “healthy eating” is influenced by the media, government, corporations, self-touted health gurus, skewed scientific studies (funded by the companies manufacturing the goods), and by marketing experts adept at “selling us,” along with well-intended yet often misinformed doctors, family, and friends.
Thomas Jefferson said:
"If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny."
A simple self-assessment to explore the effectiveness of your dietary approach is to reflect upon how you’re feeling. Ask yourself:
- Do I feel great after eating?
- Do I have great digestion and elimination?
- Am I energized, alert, free from disease or chronic pain?
- How is my strength and stamina for activities?
- Are my moods balanced and sleep quality good?
“There is only one major disease and that is malnutrition. All ailments and afflictions to which we may fall heir are directly traceable to this major disease.” D.W. Cavanaugh, M.D., Cornell University
A self-review enables us to assess whether what we are doing for ourselves truly is effective. Our bodies have amazing ability to heal given the proper building supplies. While this concept may be easy to grasp, we all need to understand our own unique body chemistry, our present state of health/digestion, our lifestyle demands, and the environmental impact upon us. There is no one-diet-fits-all approach to healthy eating. Sure there are basic foundations and essential needs, yet beyond this a personalized diet is needed.
“One man’s food is another man’s poison.” You’ve heard this before, right? Your dietary needs have little to do with anyone else’s needs. My dietary requirements are all about me, just as your needs are all about you. Each of us needs to effectively tune in to the constant conversation our body is having with us and respond accordingly. Symptoms such as a compromised immune system and chronic colds, allergies, aches, pains, inflammation, indigestion, constipation, IBS, impaired sleep quality, migraines, psoriasis, hypoglycemia, etc. are all your body in conversation with you.
Certain foods, even those we may all agree are healthful, may not be appropriate for our present digestive ability, therefore triggering our immune system. If we’re not effectively digesting, assimilating, utilizing, and then effectively eliminating, we are wreaking havoc upon our gut health.
“All disease begins in the gut” Hippocrates
Symptoms such as those mentioned above are akin to a 411 call when they are minor. However, ignore them and you may be enroute to a 911 scenario. The food you eat is intended to be your sustenance for creating a strong foundation (at a cellular level) and augmenting your immune system, enabling you to constantly rejuvenate and thrive in everyday life. Ideally meant as a joyful blessing that is embraced with gratitude and consciously consumed, food is intended to nourish us.
Consuming foods we are not effectively digesting puts our immune system into over-drive, causes chronic inflammation, and leaves us at risk of developing auto-immune disease.
Four suggestions to help you discern how healthful your present dietary approach is:
- Reflect upon your dietary choices and how you are feeling overall.
- Keep a food and mood journal to decipher how your body responds to the foods you’re ingesting.
- Go on an elimination diet removing the top food allergens (corn, soy, dairy, wheat, yeast, peanuts). This enables you to recognize potential allergens. Reintroduce one food at a time consuming it as you normally would after at least 10 days of elimination.
- Augment your healthy gut flora and digestive ability with probiotic-rich fermented foods (such miso, Kombucha, kimchi, probiotic supplements), digestive enzymes (think raw living foods as well as supplements), along with fresh ginger, mint, and chamomile.
Taking time to determine the best dietary approach for you is one of the best ways to optimize your health and improve your quality of life. Consult with your preferred health professional for the support you need and cultivate a marvelously enjoyable and health augmenting, personalized, everyday eating approach. Your health is your best commodity. Treat it according.
Stay tuned to Sunwarrior for ongoing education, inspiration, and practical how-to application to build the healthiest life for yourself you possibly can.