Eating is a natural necessity for us and thanks to the opportunities we have today it can be so beautiful and fun. Being here in India has forced us to eat very cautious and really pay attention to where and which food we are eating. This has led to very mindful eating, which left me feeling so good and inspired me to write this post.
With all the discussions about weight and which diet is the best many people sadly lose their joy for eating. Most diets suggest one way of eating for all and in many the main focus is on weight loss. As we all know we are all different, so there can’t be one exact way of eating that works for all of us. The second problem I see in these suggestions is the goal: weight loss. Is weight loss really the goal? Weight loss might be one of the results along the way, but shouldn’t the goal be well-being and developing a healthy relationship with food and your body? I answer this question with yes and this post is based on this answer. It focuses on finding a diet, which helps you to feel good.
Bookshelves are full of all kinds of books recommending the ultimate diet and the Internet almost seems even more confusing. Every year there is a new trend. In one year it is the best thing to completely cut out carbs and in the next year carbs are all of a sudden the most important component of our diet. While there might be some truth to all of them, no one can suggest the perfect diet for you without you having a word, especially if they don’t even know you. The person who knows you best is yourself and that is also why you are your best nutritionist. Some of you might not like to hear this, but it is the truth. We often try to rely on other people, because that seems so much easier. Getting help from a professional can definitely be a great way of approaching your nutritional challenges. Real changes, however, require your input and effort. Others can assist and support, but no one can make the changes for you. If you realize how well you will feel once you find your optimum diet it won’t be so difficult to stick to it. If however, you don’t really want to commit or you have some issues, which keep you away from wanting yourself to truly feel good the changes will only be short lived. For some of us the root of the nutritional challenges is not to be found in the diet but in your psychology. So if you only try to change your diet it won’t help on a deeper level, because your eating behavior is only the symptom, not the root. Our eating behavior is very much connected to our inner world. If you are interested in this topic I invite you to have a look at one of my previous articles about what your eating behavior can teach you about your self (http://beingmebysarah.com/2015/12/20/what-motivates-you-to-eat/).
This post is a general post, which of course doesn’t give me the opportunity to make suggestions for individuals, but some general guidelines are possible. Here are my healthy 10, which can be applied by anyone:
- Eat mindfully and listen to your body
Mindful eating and listening to your body really is number one. It could probably even be the heading of this list. It is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Become aware of which foods give you energy and make you feel good. Make sure that you’ll be listening to your body and not to your mind. Your mind might be influenced by expectations or body image aspirations, which aren’t serving you. Be present when you eat and drink. Really be aware of how the food or drink tastes and enjoy the process of eating.
- Eat fresh and natural food
If you have a car or motorcycle I’m sure you are paying attention to what kind of gasoline you are putting into the machine. You should do the same with your body. If we follow this rule of thumb we can be almost certain that we provide our body with the fuel it needs. If you see all kinds of numbers and letters in the ingredients you know that the food is not so fresh and natural anymore.
- Drink a glass of warm water every morning right after waking up with the juice of half a lemon
This is an amazing way of cleaning your system after the fast during the night. It also gets the metabolism going and provides our body with a vitamin c kick first thing when getting up.
- Make steaming your #1 way of preparing food
Steaming is a great way of cooking food, as it is very gentle and preserves most of the food’s nutrients.
- Do not fast, starve, or restrict yourself
When you don’t eat or drink for an extended period of time your body goes into fasting mode, which means that the metabolism slows down, making us tired and moody. The food, which we eat after fasting is immediately being deposited by the body as a response to the fast. So eat regularly, until you feel pleasantly satisfied. Giving yourself too many rules and restrictions are not good as well. The idea is to learn to listen to your body and et according to that. That might also mean to indulge in fast food at times and to do so with full enjoyment and presence.
- Consume enough liquids
We consists of around 60% water and it is extremely important to consume enough liquids regularly throughout the day to keep our system going properly.
- Mix it up: try to include all kinds of different foods in your diet.
Different foods have different properties and we need a variety of nutrients to stay healthy physically and also to maintain a positive mental state. Mixing up your diet and including different kinds of food keeps it interesting and makes sure that you get all your nutrients.
- Each meal should include a good amount of protein and vegetables
Some people when trying to eat more natural food tend to lower the amount of protein they eat. Protein is a very important part of our diet and we should not give up on it.
- Consume nutritious and whole forms of grain (whole meal, brown rice, quinoa, burgul etc.)
Carbohydrates are very important energy providers. They are specifically important for people who work hard (mentally or physically) or exercise. If we chose the ones, which weren’t processed they deliver a high amount of important nutrients.
- Try not to eat up to two hours before going to bed
During the night our body rests and recovers. Eating well supports our amazing system and leaving some space between eating our last food food of the day and going to sleep allows it to focus on digesting the food before going to sleep. That way it can rest and focus on recovering what needs to be recovered, instead of using all of its energy for digesting food. This will then leave us with more energy the next day.
Here is a tip if you have any dietary issues that couldn’t be identified by a doctor, but you still feel that something is not quite right: try out elimination diets. Eat simple and leave out the food that you think is causing your problems. Do so for a few days and see how you feel. Sometimes we aren’t allergic, but sensitive to certain kinds of food or food combinations. This exercise is a great way of finding out what kind of food feels good and is a great way in general to get in touch with your body and understand what feels good and what doesn’t feel so good.
Always remember that you are your best nutritionist. Trust yourself and if you find it too difficult to find your right nutrition by yourself look for a professional. Eating is an everyday practice and nutritious food essential to stay healthy and happy.
Happy eating everyone.