“Without nutrition, medicine is of no use. With nutrition, medicine is of no need.” -Ayurvedic Proverb
Nature has provided us all with the best medicine in the world, and it doesn’t even come with side effects. Not only does this incredible medicine help us rid our bodies of disease, but it also helps to prevent disease before it even starts, increase our energy levels and productivity, improve our mood and disposition, achieve and maintain a healthy body weight… Shall I go on?
If I told you that you could have all of these benefits as a tradeoff for less than 30 minutes of your day, would you make the trade? If not, you can stop reading here. Otherwise, choosing to spend a little bit of time to eat the right foods rather than just the easiest foods can completely change your life. Most people sacrifice many hours of fulfillment every day in exchange for a few minutes of time saving and pleasure eating, but I want to help you in your journey to quit being a victim to this cycle. I have provided 4 easy tips below that will help you on your way:
1. Eat WHOLE Foods! If I could only tell you to do one single thing that would sum up how to eat healthy, this would be it. Stop searching for food in a box that is just as healthy as “the real thing”. I’ll save you the trouble, it isn’t! Once a fruit or vegetable is no longer whole and living, it loses most of its nutritional value. There are very few exceptions to the following rule- If you cannot find food in nature that looks exactly like what you bought, then you should probably rethink your purchase.
2. Read The Ingredients! First off, if you are following #1 above, this should not be necessary for the majority of your food (ex: If you buy a whole sweet potato, I would hope that there is only 1 ingredient). One of the most prevalent mistakes people make when trying to make healthier choices is to fall for trick advertising that is on just about everything these days. Food products are labeled in a way that make them sound healthier than they really are, but if you know what to look for then you don’t have to fall for this! Instead of focusing on the macronutrient profile (carbs, fat, protein, etc.), focus on reading the ingredient lists. There are more things to look for than I can detail out in this blog, but here is your rule of thumb: if it sounds like it is made in a lab, it probably is. If your food ingredients don’t sound like food, then don’t eat them. This also applies to “natural” health products of other kinds- if you don’t want to be exposed to unnecessary chemicals, read the ingredients in EVERYTHING!
3. Eat Foods That You LIKE! Many people believe that eating healthy food means forcing yourself to eat food that doesn’t taste good. On the contrary, digestion begins in the mouth and food that does not cause you to salivate will not even be properly absorbed. There are LOTS of fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods out there, so just focus on the ones you LIKE! Your body often prefers one vegetable over another because it is in more need of the nutrients in that vegetable or will more efficiently process it. By listening to your body and not simply following a list of foods “everyone should be eating”, you will have far greater success in sticking to your diet, enjoying it, and even benefiting more from it!
4. Make it Colorful! The colors of different foods are indicative of the antioxidants in those foods. You don’t have to memorize exactly what is in everything that you eat. Just eat as many different foods of as many different colors as you can and you are bound to get a wide array of nutrients. And don’t forget to add some GREEN!