As I mentioned on my IG post, food and nutrition are the foundations of health. Specifically, our food is the building blocks for cell growth and development and gene expression. All of which goes on to impact mood, energy and overall well-being.
Eating a wide range of foods that include a variety of nutrients is how to have a healthy diet.
Which foods need to be included in your diet will come from:
- Proteins – gives your body amino acids — the building blocks that help your body’s cells do all of their everyday activities. Proteins help your body build new cells, repair old cells, create hormones and enzymes, and keep your immune system healthy. If you don’t have enough protein, your body takes longer to recover from illness and you’re more likely to get sick in the first place.
- Good Carbohydrates – gives you quick energy — they go into your blood as glucose (blood sugar), which your body uses for fuel first, before turning the leftovers into fat. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, potatoes and lentils are all good sources of carbohydrates. Many of them are also good sources of fiber, which your digestive system needs to stay healthy.
- Good Fats – (saturated fats are found mainly in meat and whole-milk products, or, in other words, foods that come from animals, coconut oil and palm oil. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are found mainly in plant foods such as vegetables, nuts, and grains, as well as oils made from these nuts and grains (canola, corn, soybean). Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are polyunsaturated. Besides vegetables, nuts, and grains, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are found in coldwater fish such as tuna, salmon, and mackerel. Mono and polyunsaturated fats may keep your triglyceride levels low. Triglycerides are a form of fat in your bloodstream.)
- Vitamins – keep your bones strong, your vision clear and sharp, and your skin, nails, and hair healthy and glowing. Vitamins also help your body use energy from the food you eat.
- Minerals – are chemical elements that help regulate your body’s processes. Potassium, for example, helps your nerves and muscles function. Calcium helps your teeth and bones stay strong. Iron carries oxygen to your cells.If you eat a balanced diet with enough calories and protein, you’re probably getting enough vitamins and minerals. It’s also important to remember that there is a big difference between getting your nutrients through food and taking supplements (vitamins, minerals, and herbals/ botanicals). Vitamins and minerals work together in your body in very complex ways, affecting each other’s absorption and processing and influencing how your body functions. When you get your vitamins and minerals through eating foods, it is often easier for your body to maintain a balance of these nutrients. When you take a supplement, such as a vitamin C or E tablet, you’re getting a highly concentrated dose that you would probably never get from food. While some supplements may be beneficial, others may reduce the effectiveness of certain breast cancer treatments.
- Water – this is necessary for life, which makes it vital for good health. Water makes up about 50% to 66% of your total body weight. It regulates your temperature, moves nutrients through your body, and gets rid of waste. Breast cancer treatment can sometimes cause diarrhea or vomiting. Losing a lot of fluids plus the chemicals and minerals they contain can lead to dehydration.In general, it’s a good idea to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day. If you’ve lost fluids because of diarrhea or vomiting, you need to replace both the fluids and the essential ingredients in them. Chicken or vegetable broth, tomato juice, fruit juices, and sports drinks such as Gatorade are examples of fluids that can help you replace the vitamins and minerals your body has lost.
If you don’t have a balanced diet, you can set yourself up to have deficiencies from a shortage of nutrients, which can impact your bodily functions and ultimately the way we look and feel. So it is important to try look at food as nourishment for the body, rather than calories that can be burned off. You can’t out train a bad diet, that’s for sure!
So what steps can we make in order to start making healthier choices for ourselves?
1. Start with small changes.
If you’re not used to eating a healthy with a variety of foods, that should then be your initial step – making small changes to your usual meals.
If your daily diet isn’t balanced with foods made up of the macro and micronutrients mentioned above then start making small gradual changes that include these foods. For example, for healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner, always include a serving of vegetables and protein. Also, make sure you drink enough water in general, and even more when exercising.
Change will happen over good time, not over night.
2. Focus on how you feel, not how you look.
Being healthy isn’t about having a body of a Victoria Secret model, or one with abs. While it is constantly shared online, on TV, on all marketing materials, this can subconsciously change your views on what you truly want for yourself. And that is to FEEL overall better and healthier. With that, will come body composition change for the long term (if done consistently, patiently and successfully). No quick fixes here! So when starting out, don’t instantly look for the physical changes, we want to notice the differences in how you feel. For example, having more energy, being stronger, feeling happier, sleeping better, rather than how you look in the mirror, which may not happen for a while (trust me I live and speak from experience!).
What is happening on the inside (body and mentality/mind) is most important. Then once that is achieved and rolling forward, can we focus on moving better, rather than more.
3. Look at food as nourishment.
Instead of seein
g food as ‘the thing that makes me fat’, see it as a way to help you function optimally and exercise. Food is simply fuel, and healthy food can be delicious.
Perspective – look at food as nourishment for the body, rather than calories that can be burned off.
Every thing that we put into our mouths has the ability to harm or heal our bodies. Treat your body with care and nourishment, rather than gruelling, punishing exercise regimes to burn calories. Your body will thank you for it in the long term. Believe me!