Nourish Your Body: The First Two Rules of Nutrition

Raw VegetablesThere are so many different diets and programs out there and every week you hear about a new miracle food or super food.  It can become very confusing and frustrating. Once you think you have it down, someone comes out with something else.  So my goal here is to simplify everything and give you a few simple rules to follow in determining what you should eat.  If you follow these rules your diet will be full of anti-inflammatory, antioxidant rich, vitamin rich, mineral rich foods (i.e. the miracle and supper foods everyone keeps talking about).   Now no one is going to have a perfect diet. (I can certainly attest to that.) Just like you my diet is really good at times and not so good at others.  When it comes to food try to make better and healthier choices every time you eat. You will have times when you slip up, but adding things that are healthier for you into each meal and slowly changing your diet will give you huge benefits in the long run.  Your body is constantly making new cells from what you eat and replacing old cells.  What you eat literally becomes you. Start making healthier choices today and you will be healthier tomorrow.

 

5 simple rules for eating healthy

Rule#1 Eat Real Food

So what does real food mean? Isn’t everything you stick in your mouth just a different type of food? Well, not really.  Today, especially in this country, “food” companies have gotten so focused on quantity and profits that they have taken any quality right out of the food by pasteurizing, processing, adding dyes and colors, adding preservatives, and adding artificial flavors to it.  And before long food becomes artificial, processed chemical compounds that resemble a food-like substance that reeks havoc on our bodies.

So, again, what is real food? Real foods are those grown and found in nature. These are the foods that go bad; the foods that you put in your fridge and have to eat within a week or two before they start to decay (unlike Triscuits crackers or Chips Ahoy cookies that you could leave on the counter for a year and all they would do is get a little hard to chew).  Michael Pollan puts it this way: “If it grows on a plant eat it, if its made in a plant don’t.”  Try to buy these foods locally, organically grown, hormone-free, and chemical or toxin free.

Real food can be found in several different places. Typically these foods are found at your local farm, farmers markets, health food stores, and on the outside fringes of your local grocery store.  Most of the ‘foods’ found in the center of the grocery story are processed and made by three or four major food companies all branding their products under different names.

Sometimes you need or want to buy something that is packaged and you have to venture into the center of the store.  When this happens there are a few things to look for to make sure the packaged goods that you are buying are a little healthier for you than the other stuff sitting on the shelf.  When you look at the ingredients in product, try to limit the total number of ingredients to five or less.  These ingredients should be easily pronounced, and you should be able to picture every ingredient in its natural state in which it grows.  Trying to buy packaged products that fit into these criteria will help you to make a healthier choice.

Finally, try to avoid any food or food-like substances that gives you health claims on the package (i.e. low fat, diet, trans-fat free, etc.). These are products that typically are going to be very nutrient deficient and chemically altered in some way.  If you are eating real and healthy food there is not going to be a need to include health claims with them to convince you to eat them.  If your food has to convince you to eat it, it is probably not going to be the best thing for you.

 

Rule#2 Eat More Alive Than Dead Food

Fruits and vegetables have the most vitamins and minerals respectively per calorie than any other foods.  In order to digest and absorb all of these great nutrients these foods should most often be eaten in their natural raw form.  Heat can break down the enzymes and chemical bonds within the fats, proteins, and vitamins. This can make the foods themselves harder to break down as well as give our bodies much less nutrition.  When these foods are eaten raw, the enzymes, vitamins, and minerals are preserved, and we are better able to absorb what our body needs.

Raw fruits and vegetables, and the nutrients they contain, play a vital role in your body’s natural detoxification pathways.  There are two main pathways in your body. The first pathway removes toxins from the rest of your body to the liver where they are processed. The processing of these toxins results in a highly reactive and potentially dangerous compound.  The second pathway combines the now reactive toxins with other proteins to become water-soluble so that they can be excreted from the body. If these pathways are not working at the same rate you can get a build up of toxins in the liver.  This can damage the liver and make its functions slow down and become inefficient.  This is why it is important to eat both raw fruits and vegetables to give these pathways the enzymes and nutrients that they need to function at their best.

 

No need to overload you with all of the rules at once! Check out the second part of my post for your next three tips! As well as the third part of my post for some final helpful tips!

Dr. Andrew About Dr. Andrew

Dr. Andrew Dodge lives in Staunton, Virginia, with his wife Nicole and their children Luke and Josie. Dr. Andrew is a graduate of Parker College of Chiropractic at Parker University in Dallas, Texas.

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