Food is foundational for your existence, and it’s likely you’ve forgotten why you eat. Even Western trained medical doctors haven’t been taught the basic essentials about nutrition, so don’t feel bad. But it’s the basis for your health and life so I’ll make it easy for you – keep reading to get 5 simple Food Fixes that can change your health forever!
After 20 plus years in the field of health and nutrition I’ve observed that most people have forgotten why they eat. You may find yourself reaching for sugar or carbohydrates to soothe uncomfortable emotions, stuff feelings, avoid confrontation, or seemingly celebrate a promotion. But is this what food was intended for? I’m not here to shame or guilt trip you, rather raise your awareness around your habits of thinking and behaving. I believe that the more informed you are, the better choices you will make and the happier and healthier you and your family will be. This translates into a long and enjoyable life, rather than one filled with pill-popping and pain-filled suffering.
I’m shocked at how few Western medical schools teach nutrition and lifestyle courses. Physicians are educated in biochemistry, the many systems of the body, neurochemistry, pharmacology (use of medications to treat symptoms), but they are never taught the basic foundation of all life – food, water, and oxygen (breathing/Prana). How can this be? We can likely count on Western medicine to save our lives in the Emergency room, but certainly not to sustain vibrant health for a lifetime. I’m committed to empowering you with knowledge so you don’t slip between the cracks of the Western medical model.
Food is foundational to health and happiness. Food is medicine and has been taught as such in many many cultures around the world. I recently spoke to two tango dancers from Taiwan who were studying in the United States. They were mostly homesick for their Taiwanese food. They missed the herbs that were cooked in almost every meal, chosen based on the season, mood, time of day, and temperament. It’s simply part of their culture. They use food as medicine, just as the Chinese and Japanese do. During Asian medical school I was taught that foods have various flavors that impact certain organs, and energetic temperatures that support your current health situation
Without food, your body and mind would fail to thrive. Food fuels your cells to function, your heart to beat, your kidneys and bladder to flush toxins, your metabolism to function so you have energy plus a healthy weight and body temperature. You’d survive for a short time but then you’d notice organ systems breaking down, your ability to think and make decisions would become impaired and your energy would plummet until you died. There are a few exceptions in history where people survived lengthy fasting, but these are rare.
What you eat actually matters, it determines how your body is going to operate or not operate and become sick. You can increase your energy levels, decrease the amount of times you get the sniffles or flu, and clear up your foggy thinking with the following “Food Fixes”.
The following 5 Food Fixes can help you and your family improve your health and longevity starting today.
1. Eat more fresh vegetables and moderate fruits. You might eat a favorite vegetable once in a while, carrots or green beans are common in the US. Green beans are technically a legume, not a vegetable. Begin by increasing your veggies to 2 to 3 different ones per day. If you don’t even eat one a day then start with increasing to one a day. Ideally, science has found we need at least 7 servings of veggies a day, that is 7 cups of veggies. Don’t become overwhelmed, just do your best and commit to adding a few new ones to your diet daily. It can increase your nutrient levels and help your body repair, increase immune function, avoid diseases like cancer, and stay younger longer. Fruit sugars are better than high fructose corn syrup or soda, so chose wisely. Fruit also contains a lot of sugar so be mindful of the quantity and quality of fruit you eat. Berries are a great option as well as fruit higher in fiber and pectin, like apples. Get organic whenever possible, and at the very least rinse or scrub them well.
2. Diversify your diet! Eat a wider variety of fresh foods. Many people have their 3 or 4 favorite foods and they eat them all the time. The more colors the better, and I don’t mean in the packaging. When it comes to fresh produce you simply can’t get enough. Different colors of vegetables means a broader spectrum of nutrients. Mix things up with red, orange, yellow, green, and purple veggies. Stir-fry, bake, or lightly steam them with a drizzle of olive oil, butter, ghee, and even a twist of lemon. Another tip is to eat with the seasons as you diversify. If it isn’t in season, then it’s likely been bombed with a chemical to help it stay fresh or ripen early.
3. Shop the perimeter of your grocery store and avoid the middle aisles as much as possible. The perimeter of your local grocery store is likely where the produce is located. The fresher the better. The center isles contain the processed and packaged foods that are high in calories and preservatives and empty of real nutrients that your body knows how to absorb. Shop local whenever possible – this means farmer’s markets, or local food chains that support local farmers. The more fresh food in your grocery cart, the better your health is going to be. Remember to eat that good stuff, don’t just let it go back bad in your fridge!
4. Avoid processed foods. This is anything in a package or bag. Look at your grocery cart or pantry and if everything is in a box, bag or some other kind of packaging then it’s time to make a small change in order to avoid a health disaster in your future. Do you know that foods that are “fortified” with stuff, like calcium, vitamin C, or folate are extremely processed. The procedure requires the removal of anything healthy so the manufacturers try to compensate by adding synthetic nutrients to make the labels look more compelling. Avoid foods with bad oils in them such as trans-fats and hydrogenated oils. These are also in many processed foods and cause inflammation and other organ and brain issues. Most Americans stock up on chips, breads, cakes, candy, soda and ice cream. Kids are sent to school with mostly processed food in their lunch boxes. How do we expect them to do well in school without proper fuel for their bodies and brains? I’m always shocked at the grocery store when I see moms loading their carts with bags and boxes of food and hardly a vegetable or fruit in sight. We are seemingly a fast food nation and the rates of illnesses among younger and younger people prove it.
5. Become a label reader. If you purchase something in a package, can or box, at least read the ingredient list and be informed. If there are hydrogenated fats, high fructose corn syrup, soy products, corn products (which are mostly GMO), or a list of chemical preservatives you have trouble pronouncing then it’s not a healthy choice for you or your family. You may be shocked to find many processed foods full of junk that is more harmful than healthful. The good news is you can then begin to look for healthy alternatives. Even conventional grocery stores have an organic section, a gluten-free or health section, so start here when looking for alternatives. I will help you in future blogs so stay tuned.
Improving your health and conversely, decreasing your chance of disease and suffering isn’t about perfection, it’s about improvement. Even just one baby step toward better health is worth it and impacts your well-being. Do your best to implement these 5 Food Fixes and increase your health immediately!
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Blessings of Vibrant Health,
Kristin Grayce McGary