What does “you are what you eat’, “good food – good mood” mean to you? Is it an ethical choice, or do you feel it’s the next diet fad?
Post Paleo movement; there is any wonder to be so confused.
Contradictory evidence to support claims of optimal human nutrition.
“Eat this, avoid that.. “
With so many mixed messages as to what we should be eating, it’s hard to see the forest through the trees.
Sadly, it’s the business potential behind a large portion of these nutritional claims that is controversial. People want clear cut simple answers or cures, where there aren’t any.
The study of Nutrition is evolving in that modern science is allowing us to understand the mechanisms of nutrients and their role in maintaining health. Nutritional claims are continually made which have little physical basis and primarily based on bias beliefs.
Undoubtedly, if you delve deeper to understand who is funding this new research, big business with means to profit sit front and centre.
Paleo diet? Keto? Notice with these diets, industry backing the claims. This is why you may seem backlash against the new vegan movement. Who stands to gain from you eating vegetables in their natural state? The poor farmers surely don’t have the copious funds to support your ‘broccoli movement’.
Nutrition can best be described as the provision of necessary compounds to the body to maintain life, body function and health. This includes our mental and emotional well-being.
Diet refers to the sum of food and a drink consumed and includes dietary habits, not just what the latest celebrity is spruiking.
There are 4 basic principles of” Good Diet”.
VARIETY WHOLEFOODS UNPROCESSED INDIVIDUALISM
These principles ensure that a diet is nutritionally all-encompassing- holistic.
Variety- Including a diverse range of foods from the different food groups ensures you are getting each of the essential nutrients for good health, keeping in mind the recommended amount.
Diversity is key as foods within the same food group contain different nutrients.
For example strawberries are high in vitamin c, essential for immunity, collagen formation and enhance absorption of iron. Whereas banana’s b group vitamins are involved in energy production, metabolism and production of blood cells.
Therefore ensuring a diverse range of food ensures the largest possible range of nutrients in your diet that serve a range of processes within our bodies.
The old saying “eat the rainbow’, stands to be a fantastic approach when looking for variety.
Diets that limit certain food groups need to be met with extra diligence to ensure no deficiencies in the diet. Supplements may be necessary in some vegan diet to ensure that Vitamin B12 and iron intake are adequate. Our bodies don’t produce B12 so it is critical that we get this from the foods we eat. Animal products are the best source of B12 however on a Vegan diet, Nuts and legumes can provide a modest source.
Vegans- B12’s function is to regulate the formation of red bloods cells; functioning of the nervous system; metabolism of protein and fat.
Deficiencies’ can lead to; anemia and related disorders, fatigue, nervous tension and degeneration of nerves and brain.
As B12 is predominantly found in animal products, supplements may be required. Synthetic B12 is made for supplements as this is a predominant source from animals. Check labels for details.
Wholefoods- eating foods in their most natural state or as close to as possible ensure that we are ingesting the goodness of the entire food. For example a whole grain bread rather than milled into fine flour. The outside of the grain contains many essential nutrients and the fibre slows down the glycaemic load into our blood stream. So no sugar spikes and drastic drops.
The fibre intake when consuming whole foods feeds the microbiome – good bacteria- in our gut, creates a big bulky gel that binds to and pushes through the products in our digestive tract.
Essentially the more fibre, the bulkier the poop, bigger urge to go and results in an easier evacuation of waste.
Dietary fibre has 2 distinct chemical structures and functions within our body. Traditionally these are classified as soluble fibre and insoluble fibre.
Soluble fibre, as the name suggests, absorbs water and tends to create the gel like matter inside our digestive system. This slows down the rate at which food moves through our bodies to excretion.
The benefits of soluble fibre include;
Absorption of dietary fats
Regulation of blood sugars
Feeds the beneficial bacteria in our digestive system
Lowers blood cholesterol
You will find soluble fibre in products as; Oats, chia seeds, flax seeds, legumes, and some vegetables and fruits. Psyllium husks are the main ingredients of products such as Metamucil.
RDI for fibre is 25g a day for women 38 g a day for men
Insoluble fibre- Yes, that’s right. This is the fibre that does not absorb water and generally referred to as Roughage due to its course texture.
The benefits of insoluble fibre include;
Prevention and cure for constipation
Sweeps the inside of the digestive system clean=big poo
Reduces the risk of colon cancer
Insoluble fibre can be found in wholegrains, bran cereals, nuts, seeds, broccoli, vegetable and fruit skins, spinach and kale.
Unprocessed. As a general rule, the less processed a food is and the most like its natural state, the higher the nutrition content.
The less processed the less preservatives, colours, flavours or additives it will contain. Where possible, buying organic, will reduce your ingestion of foods sprayed with fertilizers, pesticides, and other synthetic additives.
In animal products, organic refers to the avoidance of hormones and antibiotics.
We know now that these highly processed foods create inflammation and disease.
Individuality- Whilst it is important to consider Variety, Wholefoods and Unprocessed factors into our diets, it is important to remember that an individual’s needs are dependent on a number of aspects such as; genetics, social/cultural, environmental, psychological, and lifestyle factors such as levels of activity.
Nutritional requirements for each person are significantly diverse for each person and can depend on digestion issues and any sensitives and allergies, medications taken, quality, cost and availability of foods, age, general health and lifestyle can all impact what the ‘ideal diet’ looks like.
Importantly, it is what works for you. You are not the same as your sister, mother or friend. To tune in and listen to your body as we do on the mat, we are better able to understand what works for you and make necessary changes.
When we create balance in all areas of our life, Mind, Body & Soul, eating a variety of whole plant-based foods, getting enough physical activity, and managing our stress, we are nurturing our entire beings—physically, emotionally, and spiritually—and nourishing our deepest selves.
How are you nourishing your deepest self?