NUTRITION AND HOW IT SHAPES YOUR LIFE
Food can either be your food or your poison. The saying you are what you eat..... well you are kind of more what you digest but all the same, the food one consumes can boost your energy, fill you with pleasure and transform your health. It can also have the opposite effect if one is consuming foods that do not nourish them. Many people I speak with have no idea what the basic macro and micro nutrients are and how they can be applied to creating health and healing. So here is the breakdown of nutrients essential to health and how to follow the whole food health principles to maintain ultimate health.
There are 6 essential nutrients needed by the body on a daily basis:
Water: Although it is not actually a nutrient, without it, there would be no life. More than 60% of the body is water. It is the essential nutrient that is involved with ever function within the body and without it we would not last 3 days. We need nearly 2L per day from water, fruits and vegetables. Water is needed in the body to transport nutrients, for digestion and elimination of wastes. It keeps you moving freely and it also regulates your temperature so you stay cool when hot (by sweating).
Carbohydrates: The main energy source for the body. Carbohydrates all carbohydrates break down into glucose in the body. glucose satisfy the energy needs of the body cells and give you energy to feel good, be happy and have lots of energy. Carbohydrates are divided into two categories:
Simple- Gives energy very quickly (rise in blood sugar) followed by a quick decline. Cane sugar, fruit, honey, milk, and malt
Complex (dietary fibre) helps get rid of body wastes, provide a steady rise in blood sugar (energy) and includes starch and dietary fibre which provides food for bacteria in the colon and eliminates wastes and regulates the intestines.
When it comes to consuming carbohydrates avoid refined carbohydrates (mostly simple carbohydrates those complex whole foods that have been refined (wheat into white flour, sugar cane into raw sugar). They do not provide a healthy sustained energy and are damaging to health long term and should be avoided and limited
The best sources of carbohydrates include: Whole grain breads, rice, legumes, raw vegetables and fruits with skin on, seeds and nuts.
Protein: The main structural material in your body (bones and muscle) are made of amino acids (the building blocks) joined by peptide bonds. Proteins are essential for most of the bodies vital functions including growth, maintenance and repair of cells. Every cell in your body needs protein, it helps create enzymes that enable us to digest food, produce antibodies when we are sick and help us recover from illness. Daily protein intake ensures we have a supply of amino acids to rebuild out bodies. For vegetarians and vegans it is important to a variety of plant based proteins over the day so the body can form a complete protein and supply all essential amino acids.
Best sources of animal protein include: meat, fish, poultry, cheese, eggs, milk and
Plant based proteins include: Nuts, seeds, grains and legumes, spirulina, chlorella and tofu.
Lipids: Fats are essential to the body as they supply us with energy (fat stored for later use), a happy feeling when we are full keep our skin healthy, regulate body functions, produce hormones as well as transporting the vitamins around the body and break down cholesterol it is important to eat the right type of fats, those that help us function normally. There is so much confusion around healthy fats and misleading bodies have damaged the reputation of saturated fats which in fact are great for the body as they are pure forms and easy to break down. The hydrogenation of fats (the adding of hydrogen to make something liquid solid) creates trans fat which is damaging to the body and should be avoided at all costs. Trans fats are found in margarines, processed foods (pastries, cakes etc.). There are only two oils that should be heated, those being coconut oil and olive oil (low temperatures only)
Best sources of fats include: nuts, seeds, cold pressed and unrefined oils, avocados hempseed and oil, flaxseed and chia, olive oil, coconut flesh, and oil. The saturated fat from meats should be eaten in moderation.
Vitamins: enable chemical reactions that are needed by the body. They help the other nutrients to give the body energy and are related directly to growth and well being. If you do not have the vitamins in your body, your body cannot function properly. All vitamins come directly from food vitamins are either fat soluble or water soluble meaning how they travel around the body. Due to poor soil quality vitamins and minerals are not as abundant in fresh food anymore and supplementation can be required in those who deplete their levels due to lifestyle factors. Hence why nutritionist recommend a daily vitamin and mineral supplement daily during times of stress.
Fat soluble vitamins: This means these vitamins require fat to be able to be used for production, transportation and utilisation and include vitamin A, E, D and K.
Water soluble vitamins: These vitamins need to dissolve in water before your body can absorb them. Further more, these vitamins are required daily as they are eliminated out of the body alongside water losses. This group include all the B vitamins and vitamin C.
Minerals: Critical for nerve functions, cellular processes, water balancing and structural system. 16 or more minerals are needed by the body are essential as they are vital to the functioning of something in the body that no other mineral can do and must come from food. They strengthen the bones and teeth, maintain a healthy immune system and help the vitamins to do their work.
Macro minerals: The vitamins required for growth, for strength (bones, teeth, hair), for efficient functioning of all organs and processes in the body and are required in large amounts daily. They include Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium and Phosphorous.
Micro minerals: Also called trace minerals. Required in smaller amounts daily or in larger amounts when the body is imbalanced, disease or illness is present. These minerals are required for healthy blood, immunity, digestion, metabolism and strength. They include, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Selenium, Silica and Zinc.
In addition to the macro and micro nutrients the following increase health and the functions of the nutrients to increase vitality and longevity.
Enzymes: Composed of amino acids and are secreted by the body to facilitate the functions within the body. There are over 3000 enzymes identified and they literally make magic happen within the body. Supplying your body with enzymes from food means you can save your body working so hard and can boost your absorption digestion and metabolism of nutrients.
The best sources of food based enzymes: Cultured dairy, kombucha, miso, apple cider vinegar, sauerkraut, kvass, kimchi.
Superfoods: Nutrient dense foods offering high levels of a single nutrient or a combination of multiple nutrient that provide compounds that react or interact with other nutrients to function better or on their own providing a valuable and high dose of a nutrient. The phytochemicals/compounds found in these foods includes antioxidants, bioflavanoids, saponins, carotenoids and more.
The 10 most common known super foods include: The berry family, bee pollen, cacao, spirulina, Acai berries, Chlorophyll, goji berries, chia seed and quinoa.
Living a life based on whole foods nutrients
Familiarise yourself with the golden rules of a whole food diet for health and longevity:
Eat only whole foods and minimise all processed foods
Get in the rhythm and habit of making things from scratch
Eat organic and spray free where possible
Eat in season and local
Do not eat heavy foods on rising or retiring to support digestion
Ensure diet follows the 80:20 rule:
Chew your foods well. At least 20 x each mouthful.
Have enzymes with meals to assist digestion
Do not eat more than you need. eat until 80% full
Try to avoid eating between meals unless it is a snack
Do not drink with meals. 15 mins either side
Do not eat if feeling unwell, emotionally upset not hungry
How to create a balanced meal
The simplest way to create main meals is to combine a protein of choice with either a salad, fruit or vegetables, a healthy fat to ensure satiety. For optimum digestion add enzymes to assist digestion. See below for some ideas on what nutrient dense nutrition look like.
Chia seed pudding with berry compote and coconut
Egg/spinach/avocado on sourdough bread
Smoothie (banana and cacao with chia and almond milk)
Muesli of choice with yoghurt/fruit/nuts/seeds
Spinach and feta quiche with garden salad
Stir fry vegetables with 2 boiled eggs and sauerkraut
Burger of choice with salad and enzyme rich dressing
Curry, brown rice, salad or steamed vegetables
Quinoa tabouli with lentils
Sourdough bread with avocado/pesto and protein
Fish/chicken/tofu with roasted vegetable and seeds
Brown rice risotto with salad and dressing
Home made Laksa with vegetables and noodles
Grilled protein of choice with salad and dressings
Soup of choice with sourdough bread and butter
Have you been diagnosed with a condition or you need to change your diet and exclude specific foods or you just like following a recipe? Are you one of the people (and there are many) who needs a recipe to follow when cooking and preparing whole foods. Or have you just found out you are dairy intolerant and want to make a vegetarian lasagna, or you have chosen to be a vegan and want to make one of those famous vegan cheesecakes. My advice is work out what you want to eat/prepare/make and then google the "*&%$" out of it until you find a recipe that works for you. For example, you want to eat gluten free, dairy free pancakes for breakfast and you have brown rice flour in your cupboard? Then type it into google and it will come up with many results. Find one you like and you have your recipe.
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