This summer I have decided turn eating simply into an art. I’ve decided to eat for myself, shop locally at the farmer’s market, and try to listen to my bodies cravings. “Why?” you may ask. Because I wasn’t feeling good, appeared swollen (in all the wrong places) and I had low energy. I found myself eating from a place of social obligation, but still felt hungry. I knew my body must not be getting what it needs. This means that all the fancy cookbooks on my shelf are on a vacation. This summer I’m eating what looks, smells and tastes good to me intuitively.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”-Hippocrates
Our body needs basic raw materials to provide proper cellular activity for survival. Everyday I watch animals instinctively selecting the fresh buds from trees to eat. Imagine how much cellular energy the are getting from that little sprig or leaf! The deer, rabbits, and squirrels, do not seem to suffer from lethargy, fatigue, brain fog, inflammation, infertility, or emotional eating. They seem (from my unprofessional observation) to feel pretty good.
Here are some very general guidelines for eating simply and wisely:
- Focus on organically grown fruits and vegetables.
- Don’t force youeself to eat foods you do not like. Buy organic and what appeals to your senses. You may be surprised how much flavor is in the foods you select.
- Incorporate EFA’s into your diet such as eggs, fish(think salmon and tuna), walnuts, olive oil, and other possible vegetarian sources.
- Switch to whole grains rather than refined flour.
- If need to eat a grain, get one with sprouts. The sprouts may still have cellular activity like the tree buds mentioned above. White bread does not.
- Minimize it the consumption of cow’s dairy. Try grain and nut dairy substitutes like rice, almond, and cashew products.
- Consider adding additional calcium sources such as kale, collard greens, or other leafy greens.
- Minimize intake of coffee, soda, and excessive amounts of fruit juices
- If you must drink coffee, purchase organic brand to rid yourself of unwanted pesticides you do not need. Try teas, warm or cold, with natural sweeteners or added flavor such as ginger and fruit. Minimize or omit soda and juices if you can.
- Limit processed foods like refined sugars and simple carbohydrates
- Once they are gone from your life, you will not miss them as much. It’s true. When you do finally indulge you may be surprised how the flavor of the simple carbs seems less appealing than it once did (I tried this recently with flavored chips. My pallet was like, “Nope.”)
- Drink purified water.
- Go for bottled, mineral, distilled, or alkaline. Keep tap water to a minimum-even if using ice cubes. A good mineral water will contain those trace minerals your body needs to create ATP energy. Your tap water does not, and it contains harsh chemicals too.
- Don’t underestimate the power of a good olive oil, Himalayan salt, pepper, or other spice to make your food delightful.
- Incorporate the 80/20 rule; This means eat really well 80% of the time, but allow yourself a 20% grace period so you may still enjoy events and outings with family and friends. Even I indulged in some cake last weekend (mostly the frosting), but really I didn’t need to finish the slice.
A good reminder while incorporating these dietary tips into your lifestyle is to asking yourself, “Is this food helping or hurting me?” Generally speaking, most people will enjoy eating a whole food diet when it satiates all of their cravings. If you’re having trouble incorporating these guidelines, really ask yourself why you are choosing the food at hand. Ask yourself, “Am I choosing to eat for social or or emotional reasons?” Or is your body not actually getting what it needs or wants on a nutrient level?
This summer, I’m doing my best to mimic my surrounding forest friends and practice the art of eating simply.