Just like there is no “one diet fits all” plan, there is not “one detox for all.” That’s what I love the most about being a nutritionist: helping each person unlock his or her own nutrition potential. Helping people tune into their own bodies is tremendously rewarding for me and empowering for them.
So many of us have been listening to the latest nutrition/diet/weight loss fads for years, and it can take a tremendous amount of rewiring to stop the noise and pay attention to what matters most: the complex set of cells that comprise YOU. What makes you different from a ‘top 10 list of foods to avoid’ or “5 simple steps” to lose weight fast. This shift involves decoding your own biochemical signals, which can take some time.
That being said, I’ve found three universal tips that work for just about everyone in this highly toxic, fast-paced, over-processed world of ours. One by one, they look simple. In reality though, they can be challenging in different ways on different days, depending on where your life takes you and what other factors come into play.
Learning certain habits and patterns has taken you your whole life. Unlearning and replacing them with “simple” tips can be a lot harder than we think. I am a big believer not only in bio-individuality, but also in self-love. And in understanding the bigger picture: that replacing old habits with new, sustainable patterns for life means allowing room for mistakes along the way.
So what are these three “easy” health tips? Steps you can do every day on your way towards better health and wellness? Choosing all three or just one each day can reap tremendous rewards in the long run.
1. Drink more water. Just like the earth is 70% water and 30% land mass, our bodies contain on average 55-60% water. A powerful element, water replenishes and restores us from the inside out. Water flushes out toxins, helps our cells work at capacity, and aids in the flow of nutrients throughout your body. We need water to allow our organs to thrive, give our skin elasticity, and keep our digestive systems humming. If you live in the desert, the need for enough water increases.
No matter if a patient is beginning a weight loss program, starting an elimination diet, or embarking on a cleanse, we counsel each patient to drink between 2-3 liters of water per day. Think of water as flushing out your system and aiding your metabolism in resetting and restarting at a more effective pace.
2. Eat more vegetables. Does it really come down to this adage we’ve heard our grandmas tell us from age 4 on? Actually, yes. Eating a wide range of vegetables in a plant-based diet increases your vitality and longevity. Available in a variety of colors, from crunchy celery to leafy greens to flavorful beets, veggie consumption does more for your body’s wellness than anything you can buy in capsule form – as long as there are no metabolic discrepancies going on. Vegetables deliver phytonutrient, antioxidants, water, micronutrients, fiber and healthy carbohydrates to your system.
Like many of you, I save most of my vegetables until the later part of the day, in a salad or as a side. But throwing spinach in a morning smoothie or mixing sautéed chard to your omelette jumpstarts some veggie power for your entire day. We take on enough toxins from just walking down the street, which makes acquiring good health an uphill battle. The more veggies you consume throughout the day, the more you halt the flow of free radicals in your system and build up your immunity.
3. Go whole. Whole foods, that is. Today a friend shared how “eating clean” can be a confusing term. Does clean mean organic only? Food that is washed? “Clean” eating, in its popular definition, has come to mean unprocessed, from-the-source foods from farm to table with no GMOs and very few chemicals. Real food that can go “bad’ if not used by its expiration date.
I like the term Whole Foods better than Clean Eating though because the more you eat a food in its entirety (a whole orange with pulp, for example), the way it’s meant to be, the more nutrients you are giving your body. Each bite you take is either fighting disease or preventing it, either aiding in your health or taking away from it. It can be that simple.
“Refined” flour in many brands of bread means wheat (or other grains) ground down so the good stuff, the fiber, falls away, leaving just the starch. Whole fruits, vegetables, grains: these are what count in delivering the goodness of food to your system. Clean, whole, unprocessed: whatever word you use, your body wins when you make your own food instead of cooking from a box or a jar, with a long list of ingredients both real and chemical.
It can be overwhelming to think about eating Whole 100% of the time. But you can get closer to the 80/20 ratio a little bit each day, starting with one ingredient. Then maybe a whole meal made from scratch (or close to scratch). The important thing is the trying. Eventually, a new pattern forms and it becomes habit to unlock your nutrition potential with food from its source.
I want to help you implement these three basic nutrition tips into your life. You can empower your health simply by including more water, veggies and whole food. I’m not saying that other considerations don’t factor in, that there sometimes aren’t negative metabolic pathways that keep you from optimum wellness. We run labs for this reason, and make corrective game plans to address imbalances.
But no matter what, our bodies want to restore us to health. We deserve the gift of wellness to live a long, healthy life. 2017 can be the ‘year of the food detective’’ in your quest to feel better than ever. Water, whole foods and vegetables: start there, and see where else this nutrition adventure can take you.