Sick of being told there is something wrong with every food, only to find out the next day it’s fine to eat?
That’s why I'm here to take out as much confusion as I can about what's good and what isn’t!
Have you ever felt like you had more energy after you snacked on an apple, but wanted to go to sleep after that bowl of pasta? I discovered that some foods give you energy during a juice fast last year - they nourish your body and help you to sustain life. Others foods on the other hand can rob you of your energy.
This is where The Nourish Guidelines concept was born.
Everyone is different. Some people may have a genetic predisposition towards certain foods, while others may have intolerances or allergies. This means not everyone can eat the same thing and be nourished by it in the same way. A guideline is a method you can adopt to make better food choices for you.
I believe that food should nourish you; it should make your mind feel great and alert as well as give your body energy and help it work optimally. And of course there are those foods we love to eat that are great for your soul. They make you reminisce upon a time that brought you pleasure and enjoyment and as a result, bring you these things again.
Ideally, you want to have more mind and body nourishing foods and not only for the obvious reasons such as they’re usually better for you! Let’s be honest, Nana’s secret recipe lasagna would only be amazing so many day’s in a row! But at your occasional family gathering, it brings the table alive and enhances the moment perfectly.
Now let's count nutrients, not calories!
Every single process that happens in your body from the top of your head to the tip of your toes is reliant on nutrients. Without nutrients to nourish these processes, things might not happen smoothly and you may experience side effects (also known as deficiencies).
There are 2 forms of nutrients; macronutrients such as fat, carbohydrate, protein and micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals.
Unfortunately a calorie is not a nutrient so counting them more often than not doesn’t help you lose weight and stay healthy. When we focus on low calorie diets we may not be eating foods rich in nutrients to nourish ourselves. Ironically for successful weight loss you need lots of both types of nutrients to help make this process easier. My suggestion is if you're looking to loose weight, see a naturopath first and find out exactly which nutrients you can include that may aid you in your journey.
What are superfoods and are they good for me?
So here’s the low down; the word "superfood" is a marketing term for foods that supposedly contain a high nutrient content. And this may be very true! Blueberries for example are high in Anthocyanins and are often considered a superfood. However blueberries are not high in the phytochemical, indole, which is found in broccoli so eating a handful of blueberries a day may help to nourish your brain but may not be so great at helping to decrease estrogen, which is what broccoli does. Now you see why eating a variety of vegetables and fruit is very important.
And the best bit about this is? Every unprocessed, unsprayed, uncontaminated food is actually a super food! Makes it a lot easier, right?
So to nourish your mind and body I suggest eating any and all fruit and vegetables as well as any grains that do not need processing ie. chia seeds. If it once had legs or fins, then it's probably good for you! We can also include traditional oils such as cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and nuts and seeds.
Ideally, these foods will be at least 80% of everything you eat.
Foods that are great for the soul but not so great for the body are anything you really enjoy eating that has been processed. Ideally, these foods will be less than 20% of everything you eat.
Is this food healthy for me?
A question I am commonly asked is “Is this food healthy for me?” and quite often this is where the confusion lies.
This is also a marketer's dream. When a multi- national company is marketing to you their aim is to sell it to you, regardless of how healthy it is. It's unfortunate that the Australian system relies on corporate food companies to “educate” us; often what they say and the truth are two separate things.
So here’s my answer when I get asked “Is this food healthy for me?”. Imagine a horizontal line. Right down one end you have “junk” food such as fast food. Up the other end is raw fruit and vegetable, 100% “clean”, unprocessed food. Every food, drink, spice, herb, flavoring, condiment and meat has its place on this dietary line. The foods closer to the clean end are more favourable than the foods closer to the junk end.
So next time you feel this question popping up in your head, ask instead “Where does this item sit on the dietary line?”
To eat healthy doesn’t mean to be perfect – that’s not sustainable. It means to continuously make choices that are going to nourish your mind, body and even your soul.
This post is from Andrea Strand, a practicing Naturopath at Empowered Healthand has been a practicing naturopath for the last 10 years. She uses nutritional and herbal medicine to help bring the body back into balance and specializes in period pain and hormonal imbalances, adrenal fatigue and digestive issues. For more information, call us on 1300 21 44 25!