Diet is defined in the dictionary as: “food and drink considered in terms of its qualities, composition, and effects on health. A particular selection of food, especially as designed or prescribed to improve a person’s physical condition or to prevent or treat a disease.”
Wait, you mean to tell me that the dictionary parallels what Hippocrates quoted thousands of years ago, “Thy Food Is Thy Medicine.” If non-food can cause detrimental effects, doesn’t that mean that real food can treat disease?
Everything we put into our mouths affects us in a positive or negative way. Food is information and fuel.
Non-foods have been introduced to us in the last 100 years; substances that our body does not recognize as nutrients and disruptive to our chemical make up. For the first time in human history we are consuming hydrogenated fats, trans fats, coloring agents, chemical preservatives, hundreds of pounds of sugar, genetically modified foods and the list goes on and on. On top of that we are depleting our soils by growing mega crops over and over again. Soil is supposed to rest and replenish it’s lost nutrients and minerals. Our foods no longer contain the vitamins, minerals and nutrients as they once did. Citrus is known for it’s supposedly high content of Vitamin C, but recent studies have shown that due to over production, and picking fruits and vegetables earlier than they ripen also are highly depleted of their naturally occurring nutrients.
Our ancestors used to live in quadrants of locally sourced foods: if you can hunt it or grow it from the earth, then eat it. The a diet mostly of fatty organ meats, blubber and animal protein. Eating from nose to tail was a way to gather all of the fat soluble vitamins, minerals and proteins. The people of the Equator and warmer climates typically ate substances more of the earth such as bugs, grubs, tubers, vegetables and fruits. Now, we have access to any types of food substances with the click of a button. Eating a variety of foods is healthy for our gut microbiome, but with the dawn of modern day agriculture, we are also relying too heavily on mono crops such as wheat, soy and corn. These staples might have been healthier once, but since they are subsidized and heavily relied on to create 80% of our food system; they must be genetically modified to keep up with the demands of our food system.
Movement and exercise
Physical activity gets so much recognition for being the backbone of health. How many of us get a gym membership before changing our eating habits? The myth of running off that doughnut is the wrong viewpoint to look through. Food and diet is a three or four time daily occurrence. Preparing for recipes, grocery shopping, carving out a budget, cooking, cleaning the kitchen all take effort. It’s tough to eat healthy and more expensive. That is why I believe most people don’t change their diet and going to the gym is their way of justifying that large milkshake and fries. Don’t get me wrong, we need to move. But if you are not seeing and feeling the changes you want, pulling the refined foods will make the difference. Abs are made in the kitchen. A man in my office building started doing laps up and down the stairs on his lunch break. He has lost nearly 40 pounds since the last time I talked to him. Along with giving up the sugary foods and movement, he has fired his mitochondria to start firing.
Walk 10-20 minutes per day. Sit on the floor when eating dinner. Your kids will love this! Buy some workout DVDs or subscribe to YouTube channels if you don’t belong to a gym. Most of them are 20 minutes or less. Lift heavy things and put them back down. Walk up and down the stairs 10 times.
Who knows what that is anymore? You know the feeling after sleeping like a rock for 8-9 hours straight? You might have to think back to the last blue moon. But you know how charged you felt? It’s like taking a big poop. It relieves the system so much, you are floating all day. Sleep needs to be your priority every night. And not 5-6 hours. You need to be sleeping (not awake lying in bed), for at least 7 hours per night. Give your self a bedtime like kids have. We are a creature of habit. Invest in some $5.00 blue blocker sunglasses to wear at night to block stimulating lights. Blue light that is emitted from television screens, smart phones, iPads, computers, and even the lights in our house ramp up the system surpassing melatonin. My iPhone is set on the night mode 24 hours per day, just out of habit. I sport my blue blockers past 7pm, use only low lighting lamps, turn off the screens by 8pm and unwind by reading a book. Try this for at least a week and report back.
Without enough sleep, you cannot reach your health goals. Weight loss included.
The time to relax is when you don’t have time. Stress is the ultimate killer, especially combined with lack of sleep, lack of movement and consuming non-nutritious foods. Look around us. Who is always in an angry mood? Always in a hurry? When was the last time you sat down in a quiet room to close your eyes for 5 minutes? When I first started meditating I thought it was a little loony. Just sitting there with my thoughts to achieve what? That is the problem in our culture. We are always looking to achieve something through action, especially when we think we don’t have time. Meditation can slow our central nervous system into our parasympathetic state. This is our rest and digest mode. Meditation does not mean sitting in front of the TV to turn our mind off. This requires practice, but try to sit in a dark, quiet room on the floor (if you’re able) and close your eyes. There are apps like MindBody to help out if you are new to this or need guidance. And breathe.