The burning question: “how should I eat?” This usually translates to “what diet should I follow?” Which is usually code for “tell me exactly what to eat, how much to eat, when to eat it, where to eat it…” you get the idea. As nice as it would be to have a precise diet, the “holy grail” of lifestyle diets if you will, one does not exist. You are unique and your body will require different things. Your dietary needs can range based on age, sex, activity level, stress level, the physical health of your body and so forth. I do not encourage any one “diet” and, in fact, always see these to be flawed. Even ones that at first blush seem very promising and “healthy.” Having said that, however, there are some key dietary guidelines that everyone should follow. This article will address some of those basics. The rest of my posts are intended to help you experiment, and educate yourself so that you can build on these basics and begin to design a lifestyle diet that is right for you. So without further adieu, the basics of a holistic diet!
What To Strive For:
1. Become Whole:
- To become truly whole means to align the mind, body, and spirit. Living a holistic lifestyle embodies all these components. But for now, begin by eating whole. This means cutting out any processed, refined, manufactured products, chemical additives, soy, dairy and minimising your consumption of alcohol and caffeine. Welcome to the outer isles of the supermarket, your new smorgasburg of fresh, vibrant fruits and vegetables! This may already be a huge change for you, as it is for most of us. It means eliminating right down to the dressing you may laden your salad with (would you like some veggies with that dressing? Dont worry, we’ve all been there). If you do not recognise an ingredient as a true “food,” it is not good enough for you. But before you get discouraged let me reassure that this is not an elimination diet. It may take some getting used to at first but trust me, once you’ve experienced full body flavour, feel and look amazing and reap all the benefits that only real food can supply, there is no going back.
2. 80% Alkaline (mainly raw fruits and veggies):
- Eat 80% alkalizing foods and 20% acidic food. The only true alkaline foods are ripe fruits, raw greens and non-starchy vegetables. Starchy vegetables include sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, and the like. The other twenty percent is attributed to whole grains, starchy vegetables and protein. I like to think of these as my “accessories” to the main attraction: vegetables, which should be consumed at every meal. At least three quarters of every meal of mine is raw fruit or vegetable based. But wait, what about fat? Good, healthy fats are essential to your health. incorporating high quality fats (avocados, raw nuts and seeds, virgin coconut oil, flaxseed oil, and extra virgin olive oil) is essential. My discretion here is to not cook the fats. If needed, use coconut oil which has a much higher smoking point and is therefore much safer. As well, I consider anything lightly steamed or lightly sautéed to be classified as raw.
3. Bottoms up:
- Your body is around 66% water! It is no wonder then that water is a vital component to nearly every function of the body. The amount of times you have heard this is not a coincidence, water is vital, it is a necessity. Eating an abundance of raw fruits and vegetables will help to increase your hydration but it is recommended you drink anywhere from 6-8 glasses of water per day. To increase your intake (if you don’t like water) begin by incorporating more herbal tea into your diet or jazzing it up with a little lemon, cucumber and/or mint leaves. A very important note here: it is a common misconception that drinking water with meals will aid in weight loss. The fact is; drinking water dilutes your digestive enzymes. Refrain from drinking 30 minutes before meals and do not resume until about an hour after meals.
4. Eat the way you were designed to eat:
- We were not made to consume synthetic, chemical laden, nutrient lacking products. We were meant to eat an abundance of high nutrient rich foods in their natural form. It is critical to make the switch to organic. If you only go organic some of the time, be sure it is with the “dirty bakers dozen:” Apples, celery, bell pepper, peaches, strawberries, nectarines, grapes, spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, blueberries, potatoes, green beans, kale/collard greens. Eat locally and in season as best you can. Support your local farmers and businesses. Educate yourself on the treatment of animals where you are buying your meat products. Eating the way you were designed to eat also means that you may have a different “design” than your friend or than that person who lost 100 pounds on any particular diet. Your body is different. It would be like saying “you must eat nuts in order to be healthy” to a person who is allergic. The best way to know is to listen to your body. Pay attention to how you feel. Along with this point I highly recommended keeping a food journal for a while to chart your progress and keep yourself accountable. At the very least, write down right now how you feel the majority of the day. High or low energy, skin troubles, bloating, anything and everything. Be detailed. When progress is gradual it can be easy to forget the way you felt before and is fantastic to look back and see how far you’ve come.
5. Love Thyself!
- I cannot tell you how essential this is. Love is the foundation of all things and self-love is absolutely critical. There have been studies conducted on water molecules that have found that when exposed to negative talk, the molecule forms contorted. When exposed to positive talk, it forms in beautiful, symmetrical patterns. Positive self talk can affect you right down to the molecules you are composed of! In order for your body to be in true health you MUST be fully aligned mind, body and spirit. Tell yourself how wonderful you are. Be proud of yourself for beginning a transformation to better health and know that whatever step you make is progress. Tell yourself you are beautiful and healthy and becoming healthier every day. A support system is very important. Surround yourself with those who encourage and bring you joy. But you need to be your own best supporter. Holistic health is not yet mainstream and some may try to discourage you. I have faced this a lot in my own journey but I know what is right for me. You deserve full health, full vitality and beauty. Give your body only that which is deserving of you: food in its purest form! Don’t let anybody stand in your way. Nobody can deny you that right. Health is your birthright!
Where to go from here? One step at a time…
Your Holistic Journey Step One!
I am so very excited for you to begin!! I am absolutely convinced in the miracles of this lifestyle! Here is a small change to make a world of difference: start your transformation by getting the most bang for your buck! Nutrients are essential to your well-being and raw fruits and vegetables are the cornucopia of nutrients. This week, reconnect to mother earth and make at least half of every meal raw vegetable based (fruit based if eaten only on an empty stomach).
Helpful hint: raw nut butters make for the perfect dip and opt for making your own salad dressings. I make a delicious one with stone ground mustard and apple cider vinegar. Hopefully I’ll be able to bring some recipes to you soon!
How to eat: Before eating anything this week, think of its source (where it came from), and how it is nurturing your body. Be grateful for the beautiful, wholesome food you are nourishing yourself with.
Welcome to a new adventure! Have a lovely week and enjoy the fresh, vibrant colours and flavours of truly live food!