I’ve written in another article about the physical and emotional needs that all humans share. In order to not just survive but to thrive in this world we need all of our physical and emotional needs to be met.
Food is one of the few physical needs we have (along with water, air, sleep, shelter and movement) and I find it sad that so many people feed themselves with poor quality food, that isn’t nourishing their bodies or providing the nutrients needed for health.
Food is not just fuel. Food delivers messages to your brain, gut and other areas of the body. Food influences hormones and regulates gene expression and your immune system. I believe that food is medicine, and that what you eat is the single most important thing you do every single day to determine the health of your body and your mind.
Eating the right food is the key to having more energy, a clear mind and to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.
There’s a lot of conflicting advice out there about what we should and shouldn’t eat, but one thing I promise you is this: if you eat a diet based on whole foods – that is, natural and unprocessed foods – you will be on the path to a better, healthier and longer life.
My Core Nutritional Principles
- Eat anti-inflammatory, nutrient-dense whole foods
- Choose local, organic and seasonal foods and support British food producers
- Prepare most of your meals from scratch
- Take care of your gut health
- Avoid nutrient-poor, processed and ultra-processed foods – these foods have harmful and detrimental effects on the body
I firmly believe there is no one-size-fits-all diet. Your genetics, your gut microbiome and your current health status all impact the types of food you will feel best eating at this stage in your life. Experiment to see what works for you. But don’t forget that what works best for you now may change in the future – be open to change and don’t get stuck in your ways.
What there can be no argument about is that we will all do better on an evolutionary appropriate diet and that is one that consists of real, whole foods. For the majority of human history we ate some combination of whole plant and animal foods, and it has only been in the last 150 years that we have begun to rely so much on processed and more recently ultra-processed foods.
With the rise in consumption of nutrient-poor, ultra-processed foods, we now find ourselves in the midst of the worst chronic disease epidemic humans have ever faced.
“Feeding yourself well is a form of self-care, whilst feeding yourself badly is a form of self-harm.”
Focus on Health, Not on Weight
Stop counting calories! Calorie counting is an out-dated myth because different foods affect the body very differently. 500 calories coming from a fizzy drink will absolutely not have the same effect on the body as 500 calories of a high-fibre vegetable. And please don’t be afraid of fat. Fat is not the enemy it’s been made out to be. I feel so frustrated whenever I see people ordering “skinny” lattes in coffee shops. Fat is a very important part of a healthy diet and I’ll be writing more about this soon.
How I Eat
I eat three substantial meals per day, try to avoid snacking, eat dessert only at weekends, reduce carbohydrates if I ever need to lose a little weight and occasionally incorporate intermittent fasting or time-restricted feeding.
I aim to eat foods that are:
- Unprocessed (90% of the time)
- Rich with beneficial bacteria – I eat fermented foods daily
- High in fibre containing prebiotics to feed my gut bacteria
- Easily digestible and highly nutritious
- Healing and medicinal – I include foods such as bone broth and gelatin, elderberries, mushrooms, ginger and turmeric
Enjoy Your Food!
With all this talk of what we should and shouldn’t eat it’s easy to forget that food is a huge source of pleasure for most of us. I absolutely love cooking and I’d love to show you through this blog that eating a whole foods diet is a delicious and satisfying way to eat. There is no need to feel deprived. Once you understand how food affects your health it becomes easier and easier to make good decisions, whilst still enjoying wonderful and nourishing food.
Need Some Help?
If you’d like some help, advice or guidance in implementing a whole foods diet, or you are struggling with health challenges that you suspect are impacted by the food you are eating then visit my Work With Me page or email me firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you.