Nutrition is the primary foundation for optimal physical health, however it is often the last place people will turn. As an integrative nutritionist, it is the first place I look.
Food is my tool in fostering physical health, supporting resilience and reversing chronic illness.
Each day, multiple times a day, we make the decision whether or not to serve our health with what we eat. In any given grocery store, processed, refined, hydrogenated, packaged foods make up probably 80% of the store. Meanwhile, obesity and chronic disease are at epidemic levels. As of 2014, 36.5% of adult Americans are obese. In response, fad diets continue to swirl in and out of popularity – Atkins, South Beach, Weight Watchers, whatever it may be. These diets will cause weight loss – but anyone who has been on a diet can tell you that they aren’t sustainable in the long run.
It’s not a coincidence – they’re missing the point.
Then we look to chronic disease. Currently, the top killers in America include: heart disease, cancer, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and kidney disease. All of these are largely preventable and even reversible through diet and lifestyle changes.
So where does this optimal physical health come from?
Foods, from the earth, as close to their whole and unaltered state as possible.
What connects the astounding rates of obesity and chronic disease seen today are the processed, sugary, hydrogenated fat laden foods that come in shiny packages. They come from the factory-farmed, hormone and antibiotic injected animal products that most people claim they could never give up. (The reason you think you could never give them up is because they are engineered to be addicting.) When we return to consistent diets that are based in whole foods, weight and chronic disease melt away over time.
The beauty of this is that nature makes health so simple – everything that we need for health is already made on this earth; we just make it hard. When you return to whole foods, you don’t need to worry about counting calories, fat, carbs and protein… whole foods are a world of synergy, resilience and nourishment in their own.
Eating a whole food diet reaches far beyond weight and disease. It means a relief from fatigue, sluggishness and “brain fog”. It means more energy and greater immunity. It means faster recovery for athletes. It means a relief from anxiety and depression for many people. It means becoming more connected to the earth, more aware of how your diet affects yourself, the people around you and the environment.
Making the adjustment to a healthy lifestyle based on whole foods can seem intimidating – but the good news is it can start as simply as have a fruit and raw nuts for a snack, or choosing to eat a plant based meal one day a week.
Notice how it makes you feel, and let the momentum carry you.