NO TO DIET! YES TO REAL FOOD!

Quite often it seems to me, that advocating healthy food is taken as an equivalent of being into something weird, fad and … you get: good luck to you, we “normal people” are happy with our “normal food”. The misconceptions about healthy food are common. It is treated often with disregard and being confused with losing weight diets. In the world govern by marketing laws, it is difficult in deed for genuine messages to go through.

So I would like to share my view with you on what is the healthy food in hope of putting a bit more light on the subject and why it is worth giving it a bit more of attention?

To start with, I’d suggest re-defining the healthy food term and looking briefly at the basic nutritional body needs.

What I’d consider as a healthy food is all REAL food available directly from nature and ready to be eaten without or with minimum processing i.e. vegetables, fruits, eggs, milk, natural yoghurt, fresh fish, fresh meat cuts, whole grains, pulses, seeds, nuts, herbs, cold pressed oils etc. These are the ingredients that our bodies are designed to breakdown easily into micro & macro nutrients and then assimilate them and use… to keep us alive mainly 😉 but also healthy, energized, creative, fit, happy and ready for action. The trick is to eat these foods on a regular basis and in the right proportions i.e. right balance. Sounds easy right?

Arleta_plate

But what are the right proportions, this right balance? And why the processed food is not so good if it is made of those foods listed above?

Let’s take a look from body’s perspective. In a nut shell: we need macronutrients like water, without it we wouldn’t last more than few days; proteins for all the tissues to build and repair; fats (the right type) to help regulate brain and hormone functions; and carbohydrates to produce the energy that fuels all body’s functions including breathing, blood pumping, thinking, walking etc. We also need lots and lots of micronutrients like minerals and vitamins which make all the above processes possible plus they constitute our immune system.

If our food is minimally processed and delivered on a regular basis then our body can easier and quicker break it down and absorb. In case of highly processed food however, e.g. white bread & pasta (which are nowadays made mainly from highly processed and modified wheat), breakfast cereals, meats, instant and ready meals, soft drinks, sweets and cakes, it takes a lot more of hard work for the body to complete the digestive process at which end there is very little to absorb, i.e. use. Additionally if meals are irregular or nutritionally incomplete (like in most of loosing weight diets), you get hungry quicker and most likely will crave more calorie dense food, sooner or later. That is simply your cells’ message they didn’t get enough material to work with. If you fail to supply what’s needed on a daily basis for a long period of time, your body simply get sick and tired of you and it will start sending you warnings in form of indigestion, heartburn, constipation, headaches, joint pains, irritability, mood swings, tiredness, and weight problems and so on, the list is long.

Unfortunately these warnings often are being ignored too and tried to be shushed with various drugs and painkillers, without us trying to find out what is really going on. If you add on top of it all the water and air pollution, food contamination (antibiotics, hormones, pesticides) and additives, stress, cigarettes, alcohol, fumes and chemicals in household and personal products, we get a quite nasty mix of toxins our body has to deal with 24/7. And yet we expect our body to do its job swiftly and continuously for years without us giving it much attention and maintenance. Result? A mix of conditions like obesity (which usually is a starting point of other serious illnesses), or allergies, or hormonal problems, organ failures, heart problems, cancer, naming only few.

There’s good news though. The body is quite forgiving and willing to reverse and withdraw most of the warnings and bad health symptoms, once you’ll show a bit more of attention and care that is 😉

Feeding your body with healthy (real) and well balanced foods is one of the easiest maintenance methods. So how to get this balance right then?

There’s limited control you have over air pollution or use of chemicals or stress factors. But if you would minimize the toxic and bad food load by getting the ratio REAL vs PROCESSED food right, you would make a huge difference to your health.  Life is hard enough sometimes, so why making it, even harder…to ourselves? Try to think and care of yourself more, and I mean real yourself- inside, not selectively of your hair, bum, boobs, tummy or biceps. Well… they will benefit from it too actually.

1>   Let’s start with minerals and vitamins. They are essential to keep all the bodily mechanisms running smoothly, it seems natural then to make sure we supply them in first place and in generous amounts. The best sources are of course all foods of plant origin (they are easiest to digest and absorb). And if one is trying to keep the weight in check, vegetables should be the base of the main meals. They give little calorie but plenty of nutrients.

2>   Then we need some extra energy, so that’s where the starchy vegetables, grains and pulses come handy. We get extra minerals & vitamins from them, a bit of proteins plus lots of energy.

3>   Then let’s build & repair… with daily supply of complete proteins (fish, lean meat, eggs, tofu and also pulses).

4>   And then let’s add a bit of good fat to “smooth” things out, it will keep our physical and emotional health in order (cold pressed oils & butters, avocados, nuts & seeds).

And there we have it- all that Body aka Me need.
(use the above picture as quick reference)

What about sugar? Isn’t that pure energy?

Well yes, but…
As said earlier all the energy (sugar) the body needs to perform all tasks, plus get you running all day, is in your balanced food already. Almost every food can be converted into glucose, the simple sugar we operate on. So effectively any added sugar is above our nutritional needs, not good news ha? If you get more than you need on one or two occasions there’s no big deal, your body will store it in the liver for future use. But if you consume much more than can be stored that way and used on a regular basis, then things get tricky. There’s nothing else for your body left to do but convert it into fat. If your diet is high in fat already, your fat storage gets bigger and bigger. And… not so good news again, once stored, fat is quite difficult to extract to be used again 🙁

There’s nothing wrong I guess with a bit of indulgence every now and then; we are only humans after all. But, as we humans are smart creatures and have the knowledge and evidence easy available to us nowadays, it is not normal to not to use it. It now seems easier than ever to make those smart choices. So let’s not take our bodies for granted and let’s focus on the REAL food that is NORMAL to our guts! 🙂

Thank you for reading this far 🙂  please leave your comments or share this article using the icons below.

Should you wish to learn more about how to find the right balance or need assistance or guidance in regaining your health or right weight, please do contact me and I’ll be more than happy to assist you 🙂