It’s Time to Forget What You Know About Diets

a clock with a fork and knife as hands

I went to the book store last week and was curious about how many books there were on a given diet (keto in this case). I counted 27. That’s not to mention how many are available online.

If I started my health journey by trying to sort through dozens of books, I wouldn’t be close to where I am today. I was fortunate enough to start my life-changing food journey simply after watching The Magic Pill and reading success stories on Reddit. And that’s how it should be for everyone; a simple transition from learning to doing.

The failure of the Standard American Diet and the rising population of people living with chronic illness shows that the system is flawed. What we think is nutritional fact is the exact opposite a decade later. It almost seems better just to forget everything you know and start fresh. In fact, that might not be such a bad idea…

What Are the True Basics of Nutrition?

So you forgot everything you think you know about nutrition. Good. Now let’s take the next few minutes to leave with better nutritional knowledge from when we started reading this post.

Eat Whole Foods

an avocado

I don’t mean only shopping at the Whole Foods grocery store, I mean eating foods that are whole in form. An easy way of doing this is to check that there is only one ingredient.

You’d be surprised by the number of additives and preservatives in food. I even have to check when buying simple things like almonds because there’s often extra oils and sugars added in them.

By buying whole foods, you are ensuring that everything you eat is intentional. This might seem “hippie-dippie”, but it really works to develop your cooking skills and confidence, which in turn makes a healthy living completely possible instead of it being a far-out idea.

Cook More

someone cooking carrots

Speaking of cooking, there’s a reason why it’s so correlated to our health. We are a species that evolved around cooking, so naturally, it’s become intertwined in our DNA. By cooking plants and animals, the nutrients became more digestible, meaning we could spend less time and energy chewing, and more time enjoying soft, warm food. The extra energy savings allowed our brains to grow larger and develop into the brainiacs we are today.

And sure, we can now outsource food by eating at restaurants or eating out, but the part that we often forget about is that while we gain convenience, we are giving up the ability to know what exactly we’re eating.

This is extremely risky. Most restaurants cook with high amounts of butter, salt, and sugar. The ones that don’t, still have downsides such as how fresh the foods are.

No matter what facade the restaurant puts on, there’s no substitute for buying farm-fresh food and cooking it at home.

The quality nutrients we get from food is used to build our cells, which, as we know, are the building blocks of our bodies.

We hear of some construction companies skimping out on the quality of their materials, only to have a building collapse. So then, why use cheap building materials for our bodies?

By using only the highest quality nutrients, we can maximum cellular efficiency and regrowth.

Use Your Body’s Natural Feedback Mechanisms

We were born with some amazing senses, and we often take them for granted. Little do we know, these senses were instrumental in our species survival when it came to foods.

Sight, Smell, and Taste

a girl smelling food on a spoon

There’s a reason why the appearance, smell, and taste of foods can make or break our appetite. Fresh food often is brighter, smells better, and tastes better.

Eating spoiled food can often get us sick, and our bodies know it. By making bad food less attractive to the senses, we have a largely reduced rate of falling ill.

Think about the last time you opened a smelly container of food that was in the back of the fridge for an unknown amount of time.

Do you remember how it smelled? Was it rotten?

How did it look? Was it dull in color?

How about how it tasted? Odds are, you were smart enough not to try it… Hopefully.

We have these amazing feedback mechanisms in our bodies, and we often don’t pay attention to them.

And they go beyond these three senses.

Become Aware of How You Feel Around Food

an outline of a person with food in the shape of a brain

Since we know that nutrients create and sustain cells, and cells are the building blocks of life, then wouldn’t it be nice if we could feel if we were, you know, doing it right?

Well, what if we can?

What if stomach aches, heartburn, and messy stools were signs that our bodies were in trouble?

News flash: they are.

Training Your Body to Recognize Inflammation Before It Starts

Inflammation is the precursor to conditions such as the three above, and it occurs most with two lifestyle choices.

  1. Not moving enough
  2. Not eating what our cells, organs, and bodily systems need

While physical activity can be important, it’s equally, if not more important to ensure our systems are running as they should be through proper nutrition.

And here’s how to do it.

Notice How Your Body Feels Before, During, and After Eating

coffee and a notebook

When you sit down to eat, take 1 second (literally) to simply notice how you’re feeling.

Are you feeling drained? Energetic? Cloudy?

Remember it.

Now do it again when you eat.

How’s the food taste? Does your mood change? If so, why? Were you lacking in a nutrient? Dehydrated maybe?

Now do it once more an hour after you eat. How do you feel? Alive, or drained again? Odds are, you’re feeling that way because of what you ate.

Do this over a day, or a week, or a month, and you get a full picture of what your body requires to thrive.

By listening to our body, we can significantly reduce the amount of inflammation and conditions we develop throughout our life.

If you’re like me, then you’ve seen how hard it can be to start new, healthy habits. In an age where opinions are rampant and simplicity is at an all-time low, do your brain a favor and keep it simple. Eat whole foods, cook more, and learn how to listen to your body. Do those and you cannot fail. But make sure to still have fun. Your confidence in achieving greater health will grow. And the road to a healthier lifestyle is closer than you think. Just take one step at a time. 

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