To make things simpler, I’ve compiled a list of Golden Rules. I understand the nutrition numbers game can be confusing, or even discouraging at times so this list is meant to help restore some motivation in keeping to a nutritious diet.
The rules are basic and easy to follow! So before you start chomping away, ask yourself if it follows these rules:
1. Eat as close to the natural product as possible. We want the name of the food to be identical to its ingredients- chicken, fish, tomato, apple, banana, etc.
2. Eat for fuel. The foods you eat should reflect what you’re doing. Never eat because you feel like you have to. Ex. Carbs = Glucose = Energy. Carbs are great fuel for the body an hour before a workout, as well as shortly after, if you plan on being active. Otherwise, the focus should be lean proteins, fruits and veggies, and good fats.
3. Less is good. Stop eating before you eat yourself full. If you feel stuffed, you’ve eaten too much! Many researchers believe eating less is the single most prevalent link to cancer prevention.
4. Avoid processed sugar. Just say no!
5. Drink lots of water. Two liters to a half gallon is the daily recommendation.
6. Probably the most difficult of them all, you must limit alcohol consumption.
These rules are beneficial to help instill new habits into your daily routine. However, none of this really matters if you don’t have healthy intestinal flora (good bacteria in the gut). If your body isn’t ready to absorb all the goodness that quality nutrition offers, then we have to address that first. Before getting into pre- and pro- biotics, let’s briefly talk about digestive enzymes. Taking some quality digestive enzymes can be the first step in revitalizing and rejuvenating the intestines. If you are experiencing food allergies, endocrine issues like rashes or hives, or even suffer from acid reflux, there are three main options when it comes to selecting an enzyme supplement. The first is Betaine HC1. This can be prescribed to those who have too little hydrochloric acid in their stomachs or suffer from acid reflux. A multi-enzyme product is another form of digestive enzyme and supports the enzymatic action through digestion if you may be experiencing digestive issues due to a combination of specific types of foods like dairy, grains, etc. Lastly, if you have been diagnosed with an allergy specific to one type of food or nutrient, then a single enzyme is the right call. Consult with your holistic healthcare provider to find what’s right for you!
Now let’s talk Prebiotic and Probiotic. Prebiotic (non-soluble fiber) and Probiotic (good bacteria) are supplements that will also help aid digestion by providing non-soluble fiber and bolstering good bacteria in the intestines. Not only will they help aid digestion but they will also improve the immune system, increase energy production of B12, and increase weight loss. You can supplement these in both pill and powdered form, but there are also several types of foods that will provide with natural pre and pro biotics. Some include:
1. Chicory Root is one of the best prebiotic food sources around. You can find it in the form of supplements or in ground form.
2. Raw Jerusalem Artichoke, also known as sunroot or sunchoke, and even by many as the “fartichoke,” due to its impressive fiber content,can be boiled, sautéed, or roasted even to resemble a creamy potato. Because of its low glycemic index it can be used in the place of potatoes for people with diabetes.
3. Raw Garlic is another option. It is a nutrition powerhouse, loaded with tons of nutrients including manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and selenium.
4. Raw Onions provide the body with organic sulfur compounds, which are an important mineral in the body. However, they are destroyed when cooked. Raw onions contain chromium to boost insulin production, quercetin (which fights off free radicals), and vitamin C. Since most of the flavonoids are contained in the outermost layers of the onions, you should peel off as little as possible before chopping, dicing, and tearing.So don’t over peel them! If raw onions give you heartburn or indigestion, consider cooked onions, which are still high in prebiotics.
1. Kefir is a fermented dairy product similar to yogurt. It is a unique combination of milk and fermented Kefir grains. The term ‘Kefir’ was originated in Russia and Turkey meaning “feeling good.”
2. Cultured vegetables like sauerkraut and Kimchi are both made from fermented cabbage and other vegetables. They are high in enzymes to help aid in digestion.
3. Kombucha is an effervescent fermentation of black tea. Its primary benefits include digestive support, increased energy and liver detoxification.
4. Yogurt is probably the most popular probiotic food. Made from the milk of a cow, goat, or sheep, it can rank high on the probiotic chart if it comes from raw grass-fed animals. When buying yogurt, be sure to look for these three things: that it comes from goat or sheep’s milk, it is grass-fed, and most importantly, that it is organic.
As you can see, there is so much more to healthy nutrition that just choosing the salad over the hamburger. While making smart choices when it comes to macro nutrients (carbs, protein, fats) is still a huge move in the right direction, it’s also important to pay attention to your body and its digestive tract, making sure it’s performing efficiently and effectively.