Foundation for Nutritional Health Before Disease Sets In
When you’re ready to adopt a lifestyle change where you’re using food to fuel and heal your body instead of to comfort you and fill emotional needs, it means you want to look at what’s going into your body, what needs to be eliminated from your diet, and what you can add going forward for better health. You’ll be focusing on nutritional health!
There are really two steps to this process. First, you want to get rid of the foods that are damaging your body at a cellular level. Second, begin feeding yourself foods that help boost your body’s ability to not only survive but to thrive.
Weeding Out Foods That Are Toxic
We live in a culture where ingredients are added to our meals and processed foods in a way we are rarely, if ever, aware of. For some of us, we’ve simply been raised to automatically turn to certain foods for comfort. Because of this, we don’t view a doughnut (for example) as a toxin, but rather as something that brings us pleasure.
Let’s begin by targeting MSG, known as monosodium glutamate, as a good first thing to eliminate. You regularly find it in Chinese food, but it’s also found in processed meats that you eat, as well as some canned foods like soups and vegetables. It’s not widely known, but the generic ingredient known as “natural flavors” can be code for MSG. That way they can slip it into your food without you being aware you are eating it.
MSG is a food additive that can create a toxic reaction in your body, such as headaches, nausea, fatigue, chest pain and more. Not everyone has a bad reaction, but it’s still in your long term interest to eliminate it from your diet.
Next on our list is salt. We routinely add extra salt to our food sources, and it really isn’t necessary. Almost all foods (even sweet ones) contain some salt.
The guidelines say that if you’re 50 or under, you should limit your salt intake to 2,300 milligrams per day. If you’re older than 50, you should slash it even further – to 1,500 milligrams per day.
You should never stop using salt completely as you may experience negative side effects just as you do when you’re consuming too much salt. You just need the right balance.
In addition, the kind of salt you use is important. Regular iodized table salt should be switched out for sea salt or pink Himalayan salt. We do not need the extra iodine in our diets in today’s world as people did decades ago to prevent medical conditions like goiters.
On to Sugar! I bet you’re wondering why I held off calling it out until we were this far into the article. Sugar isn’t just found in sweets. It’s hidden in many seemingly healthy foods, such as low-fat and light foods. Even some foods labeled whole grain, organic and even foods that say they are “sugar free” still contain grams of sugar! It’s in your best interest to learn to read labels because the food companies trick us. We all need to be vigilant and informed about what we consume. Read those ingredient labels!
It’s been reported that the average American typically eats 3 pounds of sugar per week. How does it affect your health? Not only does it damage your immune system, but it also feeds cancer cells (cancer cells LOVE sugar), contributes to obesity (and diabetes), and boosts your risk for heart disease.
Embrace a Basic Health-Driven Nutritional Plan
It’s in your best interest to embrace a healthy, Mediterranean-style diet. This type of diet feeds your body the foods it needs to protect your organs and support your overall health.
It’s based on a heart-healthy concept, but if you’re following this type of nutritional regimen, you’ll be helping other parts of your body stay healthy as well. A Mediterranean diet consists of:
- Whole Grains
- Olive Oil
- Herbs and Spices
Make it a goal to move your diet toward eating wild caught fish a couple of times a week, pasture raised poultry periodically, and grass fed red meat infrequently. While whole grains are a main part of this eating style, that doesn’t mean you want to eat gluten-heavy grains. You can focus instead on eating gluten-free grains like quinoa, wild rice, millet, and buckwheat.
Please let me know if you have questions. I am always happy to hear from you. You can email me at: Cheryl@thinstronghealthy.com.
How may I serve you in your quest for optimal mental and physical health?
Cheryl A Major
Cheryl A Major lives in Westford and is a Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant. Her TV show, Thin Strong Healthy, airs on WestfordCat and is an offshoot of her blog http://ThinStrongHealthy.com Cheryl offers ongoing information, live and online courses and personal health coaching to help you feel better and be healthier. Follow Cheryl on Twitter @CherylAMajor. She is also a full time residential Realtor with Coldwell Banker with more than 25 years experience.
Cheryl’s book, “Eat Your Blues Away” will be available in select Whole Foods Markets this fall.