Happy National Nutrition Month! In honor of this special month, lets get healthier! (I’m singing that line in my head to the tune of ‘let’s get physical’!)
Healthy eating is a subjective term which means something different to everyone. Some people swear by a raw food diet and won’t go near cooked foods, others will be Paleo until the day they die, while some thrive on only plants or a vegan lifestyle. The list goes on and on.
While I was in school, I learned over 100 different dietary theories and guess what? They all work! It’s no wonder there are so many diet books hitting the shelves each year. I consider myself a qualitarian. I love all foods and enjoy the highest quality and when the highest quality isn’t available, I flex and enjoy.
Typically, I stick to a hybrid of a modified Paleo diet and a vegan diet, which is why I loved Dr. Mark Hyman’s article explaining why we should all be Pegan – or Paleo-Vegan. He was one of my favorite teachers I had the pleasure of studying with at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Check out the full article here. I encourage you to read it all the way through. There’s some great info and tips you won’t want to miss!
Both of these diets are backed with scientific research (which I love!) and loaded with plant based, whole food nutrition low in chemicals and pesticides. From all the different dietary theories I learned, there are some key principles that were universal.
1. *Crowd out* with fruits and vegetables. Especially dark, leafy greens (cough cough, start drinking green smoothies each morning for breakfast). Aim to consume 7-13 servings of fresh produce each day. Need help getting there? Add Juice Plus+ to your diet to help you bridge the gap between what you’re eating and what you should be eating.
2. Cut the carbs. Reduce the amount of sugar, flour, and refined, processed carbohydrates. Choose whole grains like quinoa and brown rice which are naturally free of gluten, the protein in wheat, which many are intolerant to and is very inflammatory to our systems.
3. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Most people are chronically dehydrated, so it’s important to drink half of your body weight in fluid ounces each day. For example, if you weigh 200 lbs. you would need 100 fluid ounces of water each day. (Tip: We’re most dehydrated in the morning, so consume most of the water during your morning and early afternoon.)
4. Buy local, organic and fresh food. Say NO to chemicals. Consume foods low in pesticides, hormones and antibiotics. Stay away from GMOs, MSG, preservatives, artificial colorings and sweeteners.
5. Choose healthy fats. Steer clear of vegetable oils such as canola, sunflower, corn, and especially soybean oil which is mostly genetically modified. Focus on incorporating more omega 3 (anti-inflammatory) fats such as nuts, coconut, avocados and even saturated fat from grass fed or sustainably raised animals.
It is my passion and my mission to clean up the Standard American Diets (no coincidence the acronym is SAD?). By crowding out the chemicals, toxins and processed food with more organic, local, sustainably grown, whole food, I believe we will have less chronic disease and feel more connected to where our food comes from, thus connecting more with the earth and our environment. My intention is to inspire healthy living around the world by making growing, cooking and food shopping fun and simple. By growing and cooking our food, we take control back of the quality of our ingredients making our meals more nutritious and delicious! Cooking for your family becomes a healthy and wholesome routine which can cultivate positive relationships with food and family members as they gather around the dinner table each night. Loving presence and good health are the greatest gifts we can give our loved ones.
What are some simple changes you’d like to make in your diet this month? I’d love to hear from you in the comment section on my Facebook page. Don’t delay. Nutrition Month is here and it’s the perfect time to start a healthier routine for you and your family.