This past week I earned my Mid-Certification from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. It basically means that I’ve been through the bulk of the nutrition education and I know enough to meet with Clients to help them take steps to positively change their life. And I couldn’t be more excited about that.
In turn, I wanted to share just a few high level learnings that really resonated with me in the complex world of diet considerations. And just to add, if you work with a health or wellness coach, the recommendations get far more specific and individualized – and nutrition is just one element of a broader list of levers that you can expect them to suggest you pull to help improve your overall quality of life. With that caveat, here’s some food for thought that may whet your healthy appetite:
- Consider Bio-Individuality. Diet is an incredibly individual thing – one person’s food is another one’s poison, so be cautious when people say, “This _____ is the diet for YOU!” That may not be accurate…unless a doctor is telling you that directly rooted in your specific and personalized testing and even that presents with certain limitations in the science available to date. Remember, just because everyone is doing it, doesn’t make it right.
- Be Your Own Detective. There are a host of things that affect what food works for you and what doesn’t at any given time and over time. As an example, I know that when I eat certain foods, I suddenly get a stuffy nose or notice puffy fingers in the middle of the night. Things that I’ve likely eaten my whole life without issue (or perhaps knowledge that it was always a silent issue). Hmmm… Let me touch on just a few possibilities in play. Certain viruses you’ve had in your life may affect how you react to certain foods long after you’ve recovered physically – a rash isn’t the only indication, some implications you may not see on the outside. Medications you may be taking could affect your nutritional absorption – I’m sure you’ve even seen some warnings on labels before. How you were even delivered into this world may have defined your microbiome right out the gate which has a direct connection to how you process food and how that affects the rest of your body’s operations potentially including your mental health (the mind-gut connection). Nutrition can affect your quality of life and durability, so stop and listen to what your body is telling you and think about how you might need to pivot in order to improve how you feel, sleep, think, and maybe even help you lose a few lbs. You may not even realize you feel bad until you discover how much better you COULD feel. If you have a host of ailments that doctors can’t crack, give what you’re eating a think since not all are deeply educated in nutrition.
- Eat Like Grandma Did Before Massive Food Industrialization – Minimize Processed* & (Unhealthy) Addictive Food. Eating garbage makes you feel like garbage and can present itself in a variety of ways beyond the waistline (as noted above). And food addiction – often a byproduct of certain processed food – is a real thing and sometimes out of our reasonable control. It can be chemically wired in our brains which goes beyond willpower to reverse, so stop judging yourself or others – the struggle is real. In fact, in a study where rats were given sugar, then given cocaine, then the choice between the two after that, the rats went for the sugar. That lesson really stuck with me – wow. Four particularly addicting foods are: sugar (especially when mixed with fat), chocolate, cheese (casein in cheese forms an opiate-like compound in order to make calves want to nurse from their mothers), and meat. So don’t beat yourself up if pulling back on these addictive foods is hard for you – it legitimately is. But, if you can experiment with even their reduction, you may find that over time you’ll loose that strong urge for them. Baby steps can lead to great strides. (*Processed food = a food item that has had a series of mechanical or chemical operations performed on it to change or preserve it.)
With those “AH-HAs!” now in your knowledge base, here are some other good rules of thumb for just about anyone:
- Veggies! Veggies! Veggies! And eat clean, whole foods – organic, where possible.
- When it comes to vegetables, fresh (and in season) is generally better than frozen (some exceptions) and frozen is better than canned. Choose in that order, where possible.
- Look at the label on your vegetable – did it come from across the world or somewhere relatively nearby? Choose the closer option, where possible.
- Reduce caffeine consumption to give your adrenals a break in this crazy world we live in and have plenty of fresh, filtered water each day. Front-loading the water in your day is a good idea but here are 8 other times when it’s a good idea to keep that water in-hand.
- On the water topic, sugar cravings sometimes arise from dehydration. Try a glass of water before that cookie.
- Not all carbs are created equal, but it’s likely a good idea to reduce consumption of refined (white) carbs. Here’s what else Harvard has to say about that.
- Blood sugar spikes can be prevented by consuming whole grains, fiber-rich fruits, vegetables and legumes.
- Avoid refined sugar and artificial sweetener in anything you consume. Why would anyone want chlorine in their tea anyway? [Insert green face here]
- You don’t have to deprive yourself to be eating well.
- It generally take 21 days to create a new habit – consider that when working to make small changes in what you eat.
If you are interested in a free initial chat about your current nutrition and/or overall wellness, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to see if we are a fit and can give you details about my 6 month Program which can be conducted virtually anywhere!
Let’s be Well-Intended.
Disclaimer: “The Well-Intended”, and its associated blog and social media pages are owned and operated by The Well-Intended LLC and does not provide medical advice. The Well-Intended’s author is not a physician or licensed medical expert. The content provided shares perspective on a personal wellness journey and healthy lifestyle approach practiced by its owner in order to achieve their own health and happiness. Please consult your physician for advice and/or guidance regarding specific concerns with your own health, vitamins, supplements, fitness plan and/or anything else health- or wellness-related.