Food is a funny thing – can’t live with it, can’t live without it. There are more than 300,000 food products milling around our supermarkets. There are thousands of new diet books unleashed on the world every year. It’s no wonder we have a hard time making food choices.
Can we learn to enjoy our food without second-guessing our choices or worrying about whether it is good or bad? Can we learn to truly enjoy our food, free of fear and give our bodies the fuel needed to keep us physically energized, emotionally calm and mentally clear so we can live our lives to the fullest?
We believe the answer is “Yes” and the first step is to get back to basics and connect with your body’s inner wisdom. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
5 Tips to Healthier Eating
- Start by defining what good health means to you. What does a healthy you look like? Think beyond nutrients and think about how you feel. For us good health means having lots of energy and not being stressed out or grouchy. It also means falling asleep easily and waking up ready to start the day. Set your expectations high!
- Listen to your body. Food is often a substitute for another need. Take the time to listen and feel what is going on for you and your body. Are you hungry? Or are you tired, bored, nervous, lonely, angry, or sad. Connect to what is really going on. You may find you are hungry for something other than food. A simple practice for checking in with yourself is to sit quietly and breath deep belly breaths for a few minutes.
- Don’t fall for marketing hype. Don’t believe everything you read on a food package. Remember, the packaging is there to sell you the product, not to protect your health. So take control, read labels and look at the ingredients. If your grandmother never heard of it, chances are you don’t want it in your body.
- Keep it real! The closer your food is to nature, the better. Whole foods have everything your body needs to digest and assimilate them. Our bodies don’t know what to do with processed foods and that often causes bloating, IBS, or other digestive issues. Highly processed foods are also high in sugar and can cause blood sugar swings and inflammation – which is linked to cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Fruits, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains are the best way to go.
- Buy Local and Cook More. Local produce and locally produced products tend to taste better and be better for you. Know where your food comes from. Who grew it? Who made it? The more you get to know your local farmers and artisans, the more your relationship with food will deepen into one about community, integrity and health. The more intimate you are with your food – sourcing it, growing it, chopping it, and cooking it, the more control you have over what you eat and ultimately, how you feel.
Health does not happen in a doctor’s office, it is the small choices we make each and every day. Choosing to eat well is an opportunity to love yourself by giving your body what it needs.
Tracey Miller is a holistic health coach and co-founder of Dig In: Real Food Solutions.
Jennifer Young is a Duke Integrative Health Coach and Yoga and Meditation Instructor.