A Fresh Perspective: Nutrition in the New Year
A few years ago, I met with a patient who came to The UltraWellness Center to get a better understanding of nutrition so that he could optimize his health, lower blood pressure, and lose some weight. He had already done a good deal of research and made diet changes on his own, but there was still so much conflicting information, and he wanted a more individualized approach. So, after a few months, he created his guiding principles for sustainable, healthy eating based on our work together. As we move into the New Year, I thought now would be the perfect time to share his insights:
- Be a food detective. Stick with food that came from the earth, not from a factory. Cut out food with additives. Even better, skip foods in a box altogether and stick with unprocessed food without a label!
- Follow the 90/10 principle. It is what you do 80-90% of the time that will have the greatest impact on your health. Instead of following a strict “diet,” adopt healthy eating and lifestyle habits while allowing for some flexibility so that you enjoy occasional treats with a relaxed, non-judgmental attitude.
- Quality, not quantity, to avoid interference. A lot of illness is caused by processed food-like products that interfere with the body’s metabolism and ability to function properly. There is so much focus on “calories in vs. calories out,” but the human body doesn’t work like that. Pay less attention to calories and more attention to the quality of your food.
- True hunger: become acquainted. People are so used to having non-stop access to food, they rarely feel true hunger! It’s important to know what true hunger feels like, the growling of your stomach, as a sign that your body is physically ready for food rather than a false trigger such as emotions. Take a moment to recognize this feeling when it happens and let yourself feel it! Then, consciously decide what to eat.
- Other pleasures. If you have no other pleasures in life, food can easily take over and you can get too entangled in self-image. Obsessively thinking about food may actually not be about the food at all! Instead, it may be about how you see yourself. Take time to identify the things you enjoy outside of food and carve out the time and space for these regularly! Think of them as another way to “feed” your body and feel nourished.