Food 101

Our body is our greatest gift and keeping it working in optimal condition is the greatest gift we can give back to ourselves. With that being said, food is necessary to sustain life and the quality of food will determine to what degree our life is sustainable. It truly is amazing how many of our ailments are influenced by our food choices. I continue to read miraculous stories of how simple diet alterations have cured cancer's and disease. The simplest tip I can give you right out the gate is that our body is alive which would mean that we should feed it living food. The good news is that eating real, living food isn't equivocal to tasteless, unpleasant and un-enjoyable - it's quite the opposite actually!

Here is a little Food 101 to help you understand first the role that processed food plays in your body's daily duties. In some way or another it aids your body in fat storage, creates toxic build-up and dupes you brain into thinking it needs more. Ever noticed how you don't sit down to eat four bananas but you could eat an entire bag of chips? Food manufacturers create their food with that goal in mind - the more you eat the more you buy and it's ENGINEERED. Processed food is all about fast and addictive and chemical reactions. (A fascinating read on this is Salt, Sugar Fat). Feeding our engines fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and earth's superfoods (which quite honestly I find easiest to do through daily shakes and smoothies) is what will contribute to your vitality, energy and overall health. On my Zen Kitchen page, I will give you simple tips menu-planning tips and help you learn how to swap out the bad for the good to makeover your kitchen and your body. Just remember to keep it real and that our bodies are made for moderation - too much or too little of anything is bad.


You don't have to love the fat on your body and the good news is that the right fats are necessary and wonderful for your body. No, I'm not crazy - I embrace fat! Fat is fuel for our brains (our brain actually burns the most calories from fat) and protects the cells in our body! I look for grocery store items that are full fat or low-fat depending on the ingredients. I'm not afraid! And you shouldn't be either! In fact, I have seen numerous studies that have shown the healthiest people do not shy away from fats. Extra calories do come from fat so this 'indulgence' calls for moderation and of course, knowledge concerning the right types of fat. 

So, the low-fat/no-fat craze needs to be busted. Have you noticed how with this being the norm for the last twenty years nobody is getting thin this way? I even have to wonder if a rise in mental disorders (including ADHD and Alzheimer's) may be in part due to starving ourselves of good fats. Fat also equals flavor so by taking fat out, companies have to replace the flavor with something else and it usually includes fake, chemical obesogens.

Sources of healthy fats: olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil, nuts, seeds, avocados, real butter, (even real cream - a great way to even out the carbs in pasta). Coconut oil is absolutely amazing and if your metabolism needs a little kick start this is it. It is immediately processed in the liver as energy. As with everything, moderation.


So, now you know that fat doesn't make us fat; it's the sugar! Now before we go any further - I'm not saying you have to give it up! What we eat is essentially all broken down in our bodies as sugar (energy) with the exception of proteins. When we have an excess of sugar, our blood-sugar level spikes which then burdens the pancreas (which sends out the insulin to balance things off). When our body has more sugar than it can handle at any given time, rather than use it, it is forced to store it. Did you ever see the I Love Lucy episode where she works at the chocolate factory on the conveyor belt? The foreman ups the speed of the belt and she and Ethel start shoving the chocolates down their shirts, in their mouths - wherever they can stash it. This is what happens in the body - it can't handle the sugar fast enough so it just starts stashing it wherever it can.

THIS is fat storage and THIS is what our problem is; THIS is what makes us fat - spiking our blood sugar. Ironically, having a fat with a carbohydrate helps keep our blood sugar levels more even because it slows the absorption process which then doesn't overwhelm the body and lead to the storage of excess sugar (almonds with a cookie, real butter on popcorn). We actually need to balance our generally carbohydrate-rich meals with healthy fats and plenty of protein. Protein helps our muscles which are responsible for also helping get our blood through our body. Our heart is a muscle! As you can see, a well-rounded diet with complex carbohydrates, protein and fats are vital to our overall health. This is why you are hearing the term "glycemic index" more often now as food that have a low glycemic index do not spike your blood sugar.

Sugar is also an 'anti-nutrient' which means it robs your body vital minerals, vitamins and nutrients in order compensate for and process the sugar; another reason why so people are vitamin deficient. It lowers your immune system leaving you open to illness. Naughty stuff.

DITCH HYDROGENATED OILS - this is one of many ingredients that is so incredibly naughty. The thing that kills me is that like so many other naughty ingredients, it is in EVERYTHING! In Dr. Bob's Guide to Stop ADHD in 18 Days, he discusses how improper fat metabolism is a root cause of this disorder. He states:

Having treated thousands of patients, I believe there must be one significant link between current diet trends and the health challenges facing us today. These dietary habits are also linked to hyperactivity, ADD, ADHD, and ODD. The role of partially hydrogenated fats and the breakdown of proper fat metabolism is a very significant factor in behavioral challenges. Partially hydrogenated fats - which have permeated every component of our food chain - stop your body from processing the material needed to send vital messages along never fibers and in the brain.(33)

Eeek. Why do we want to eat foods that mess with messages being sent to the brain? In "Master Your Metabolism" Jillian dives into a lot of the chemicals that go into our foods and cosmetics that mess with your body because it changes the way the body processes everything. Incorrect messages get sent to the brain, toxins are stored in our fat cells and we are the ones wreaking havoc on our bodies by eating junk. I love watching Jillian go through people's kitchens and throw everything out that has nasty stuff in it. I wish she could convince my husband (although it doesn't really matter because I do the grocery shopping and I don't buy anything with naughty ingredients in it anymore).

The really gross part is how long some of these ingredients linger in our bodies for.

The half-life of trans fatty acids or partially hydrogenated fats is 51 days. After 51 days, one-half of the negative effects of this man-made fat have been processed, but the body needs an additional 51 days to complete the process. After these 51 days, there is still a 25% residual.(37)

Good oils include grapeseed, teaseed, coconut oil, palm oil, and olive oil. Canola oil is most often genetically modified.

Bleached sodium chloride, which is the salt that we all buy from the grocery store, is actually toxic. Doctors are right to be telling heart disease patients to lay off the salt - but they are referring to common table salt. REAL salt or Celtic Sea Salt has not been bleached and still contains the numerous minerals that help the body function as it is supposed to. The body requires salt to function and is actually critical for electrolyte balance. It is okay to salt your food with the good stuff (in moderation as always!).

Real foods contain all the components that support the body's functions, help fight illness and disease. Consider that garlic stimulates the immune system, blueberries help prevent cancer and oats lower levels of bad cholesterol. Fruits and vegetables have all the vital enzymes that help our bodies break-down our food are should comprise almost 70% of each of our meals. The richer the color, the greater the nutrients. Fruits and vegetables have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties and are rich in vitamins, minerals, enzymes, fiber, pure water, essential oils and carbohydrate components necessary for good health. You really don't have to limit yourself when eating from nature's garden - no need to worry about calories here. Your body will know when it has had enough. Fruits and veggies are also living foods - they grow and they die. We ourselves are living organisms and it only makes sense to give our bodies living nutrients as well.

Processed, dead foods require our bodies to find enzymes, minerals and vitamins from other parts of our body to adequately break-down the meal - this is where a great deal of our deficiencies come from. When we cook our veggies at high heats (from what I am hearing lately - anything over 114 degrees) those precious enzymes and minerals are destroyed. I admit, raw veggies aren't my favorite so I've found various ways to enjoy them; go with frozen, lightly steamed, pureed in a strong blender or throw everything into a giant salad with a homemade salad dressing (the latter are my favorite. Homemade dressings are SO easy and flavorful!).
With all of that being said, the number one food principle is portion-size. Portions affect the digestion and absorption of your foods and of course, your waist-line. Really, you can't over-do it when it comes to your veggies but watch your portions in all other realms.

Make sure you have three full meals a day and listen to what your body needs when it comes to snacking. Everybody has a different say on what is best for your body but do give your digestive system at least two hours in between meals and snacks. Jillian Michaels suggests up to four hours to allow your body to tap into its glycogen stores. Some more mornings I can skip the mid-morning snack but others day I can't do it. Eat within an hour of rising and stop your noshing three hours prior to bed-time.

Half your body weight in ounces in water a day. I carry my water bottle with me everywhere I go to the point where even my toddler notices and comments on the offhand chance that I left it behind. Drink twenty minutes prior to and twenty minutes after you meals to allow proper digestion and to avoid the diluting of your nutrients.

After eight it's too late. Or avoid eating three hours prior to bed time.

Make concious eating decisions. This means that if you choose to eat a cookie, be okay with that and enjoy it! On the other hand, do consider what you are putting in your body - do you really want to eat it? Is it a '10?' Do you love it? Is it worth the ingredients and calories (especially if you are looking to lose weight). I LOVE to eat. I LOVE food. And what a blessing to live in a day and age wherefood is in such wonderful abundance. Be grateful for and love your food. Take in the aroma, savor each bite chewing slowly allowing your body's digestive process to work for you. It's an experience!

As with everything, everybody has a different take on the good, the bad and the ugly. I personally find the real food pyramid base should consist of fruits and vegetables, followed by whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds; lean organic meats and fats and oils. Nature really has provided us with everything we need - the key is moderation. Too much or too little of anything is detrimental. I still struggle with eating carbohydrates because of their bad rap but our body needs complex carbohydrates - those sugars fuel our systems and I can feel how skipping that important building block affects my energy-levels and basic functioning.

No comments:

Post a Comment