It seems more and more that no matter what I read online or in books there is always someone somewhere telling you to quit “this” or “that”. This is usually followed by some gentle (or not so gentle) scare tactic that will leave us feeling panicked if we don't ditch that food FOREVER. Whether it be sugar, carbs, or gluten – everywhere I look, there is another reason why we need to give something up. I don’t know about you – but as soon as someone tells me I can’t have something I love – I start to want it more! I’m not implying we don’t potentially need to reduce certain foods – our body will tell us so. But, personally, I like to focus on the positive. All this scare mongering and negativity is starting to do my head-in to be honest, and so what I am suggesting is a shift in thinking , one that focuses on “crowding-in” rather than taking away. This was a simple but powerful concept first introduced to me through my training at the Institute For Integrative Nutrition and continue to hear this message sporadically amongst all the noise that is “quit this” or “toxic that”. Let’s just pause for a moment and think about the week. If we eat 21 meals a week and we focus on crowding-in as many meals that make us feel awesome as possible – who cares if we enjoy dessert on Tuesday with our bestie? Or perhaps you’d like to tackle an individual plate and try to crowed in more veggies – can’t go wrong with that? I try to fill at least half my plate with veggies at every meal – on good days I aim for ¾ . Simply doing this as a first step should wield amazing results in your energy levels and overall health. By focusing on “crowding-in” rather than taking away we’re naturally increasing the amount of nourishing foods in our diet which in turn crowds out the foods that don’t make us feel amazing. It also give us some room for balance and satisfaction foods which will hopefully not be followed by guilt considering all the healthy foods you’ve been crowding in. So what are the basics that our bodies would benefit from having a bit more of?
Veggies! Lots and lots and lots of veggies! Veggies morning noon and night! J
Antioxidant-rich berries and seasonal fruit Healthy fats (olive oil, flax oil, nuts, seeds etc) Fermented foods and drinks! (yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha)
Complex carbs (whole grains in any form) Grass fed meats, fresh fish, legumes, nuts and seeds if you’re vegetarian. Home cooking! Get back into the kitchen – put your kids to work (and your husband) and enjoy the satisfaction that is a home cooked meal or baking as often as you possibly can. The rest is up to you!
Remember that enjoying a latte or a slice with your best friend at your favourite café is NEVER something to feel guilty about (unless you stole it.). In fact, you shouldn't feel guilty about any amount or type of food you eat. You're an adult and basically can do whatever you want! :) Food has no moral compass. Never should having a meal of greasy fish and chips with your family by the beach give you any grief at all. These experiences are what are calls Primary Foods. They nourish the soul and if treated as such are part of a very healthy balanced diet. While we're at it, let's crowed in a whole lot more of the activities we love such as spending time with our family or even enjoying some downtime with a good book. This includes daily movement – exercise that is done for enjoyment rather than punishment. Of course this is different for everyone and so I suggest you simply make a list of things you love to do and DO MORE OF THEM! Simple as that. “Crowed-in” those good times. So let’s ditch the rules, the restrictions and just focus on getting more and more of the good stuff. Why? Because it makes you feel awesome and that’s the most important thing of all.