My food philosophy is relatively simple: eat your way to optimal health [through whole foods]. Notice my philosophy involves eating. You must eat in order to be healthy. The important part is what you’re eating and how you’re eating. There are too many people depriving themselves of food or going on crash diets in a last ditch effort to lose weight, just to find out they are miserable, hungry and can’t lose the weight [or they gain it all back + more]. Life doesn’t have to be that way. Not at all.
I have fully embraced the words of famous author + whole food activist, Michael Pollan [and you should too]. He duly noted: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants.” and also “Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” These words are at the root of what Nutritiously Rooted is all about. But more specifically:
1. EAT WHOLE, REAL FOOD. EVERY DAY.
Whole foods are grown on trees, they are grown in the ground and they come from pastured and wild animals. At the grocery store, whole foods don’t come with food labels + nutrition facts and they don’t have crazy health claims. Many whole foods [i.e. fruits + veggies, raw nuts + seeds] can typically be eaten raw, but others need to be cooked. So by following a whole-food based lifestyle, that means dusting off the knives, the cutting board, the pots + pans, and getting dirty in the kitchen. Once you embrace a whole food lifestyle you will never want to go back.
2. EAT VEGETABLES AT MOST MEALS.
As a society we don’t eat enough vegetables. Period. Veggies are a powerhouse when it comes to nutrition. They’re packed with a variety of nutrients, antioxidants + fiber. The more colorful the better. Some people are not eating veggies even every day, but having to eat them at every meal, now that’s crazy. Or is it? There are really simple + tasty ways to incorporate vegetables at every meal, from adding kale or spinach to breakfast smoothies, to juicing, to loading up on veggies in soups and stir-frys.
3. CUT OUT THE PROCESSED JUNK.
That’s all processed food really is. Junk. Essentially it’s not even real food since most of the ingredients are additives, chemicals, artificial this and artificial that. Most junk food is actually manufactured in a way to keep you coming back for more. That’s right, it can be addicting. Junk food manufacturers know that just the right balance of salt, sugar + unhealthy fats keeps their products flying off the shelves. But at what cost to your health? I think you know the answer to that. Cutting out processed food is critical when you decide to get healthy once and for all.
4. THE WORD DIET SHOULD NOT EXIST IF YOU THINK DEPRIVATION.
Really the word diet just refers to the food you eat. That’s it. Whether your diet includes cookies, fast food + soda OR fresh veggies, lean protein + healthy fats. Both are essentially your diet, but the real question is which one is better. The obvious answer is that fresh veggies, lean proteins and healthy fats are better, but sometimes we don’t always make the decision to eat those things. I’ll tell you a little secret. No one is perfect and balance is key. My diet isn’t perfect and neither is the newest nutrition guru’s. But what I can tell you is that many of the healthiest people make an effort every day to eat plenty of the healthy stuff, and don’t leave a lot of room for the junk, because the junk is what makes us sick. We need to make sure we are eating enough of the foods that make us feel good and keep us healthy.
5. PRACTICE MINDFULNESS.
This is something most of us unfortunately lack, and is something most of us don’t even think about. We are no longer in tune with our body’s natural hunger + fullness cues. As a result we eat at lightning speed, over eat, and then never feel full. Practicing mindfulness is a skill that takes time to master, but once you do, your life will be changed. I promise that.
6. STRESS LESS.
Sounds simple, I know. But for a lot of us stress can be the main influence on our food choices, and usually stress leads to the wrong ones. Finding techniques that help you reduce stress can be so incredibly important, the hard part is investing time in yourself and finding a balance between life, work, kids, money, etc. It’s possible.
7. SLEEP MORE.
Remember pulling an “all-nighter” back in college? Fortunately, I don’t. At a young age I learned the importance of sleep. Don’t get me wrong, I stayed up into the wee hours of the night to meet deadlines or study for tests, but I always made time for sleep. You should too. Lack of sleep can lead to hormonal imbalances, increased inflammation and poor food choices that keep us from losing unwanted weight and/or getting healthy. Sleep is more important than most people realize.
8. DRINK WATER. PERIOD.
Water is essential for life. Without it we would not be here. Being properly hydrated can do wonders for your health, from keeping you energized to giving you vibrant, youthful looking skin. Most of us are not drinking nearly enough. The general rule of thumb is this: drink half of your body weight [in pounds] in ounces. And don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Have your water bottle with you at all times so you have no excuse.