General guidelines for healthy eating
As clinicians we are confronted it seems on a daily basis by the overwhelming confusion experienced by our clients around what foods ‘should’ or ‘should not’ be eaten.
With the combined effect of unhealthy glossy magazine diets, unachievable airbrushed images of the body beautiful, the multibillion dollar weight loss industry and a bevy of contemporary diagnoses including celiac disease, fructose, gluten and lactose intolerance, IBS and ‘leaky’ gut syndrome, it is no wonder there is confusion.
While we can’t turn around the impact of the mainstream media on people’s dietary health, or speak for other modalities on how to approach clinical cases but we can suggest basic guidelines for healthy eating.
- Always begin with the best quality ingredientsMeat should be as much as possible chemical, hormone and antibiotic free. Frequently buy and eat fresh meat and vegetables. Locally grown, seasonal, organic foods are the best.
- Eat at regular intervals Irregular, erratic mealtimes and missing meals will disrupt digestion.
- Eat simply Too many ingredients poorly combined will overload your digestion.
- Eat lightlyOvereating will cause your digestion to become blocked and congested causing bloating, constipation and belching. Stop eating just before you experience fullness ie: @70% capacity.
Generally eat heavier carbohydrate based meals between 7am-11am and avoid large night time meals as your body requires less energy for sleeping than daytime activities. If you eat too close to bedtime food will ‘sit’ in your stomach overnight which can disturb your sleep.
- Reduce sugar intake (especially processed sugars)Sugar and highly sweet foods can overwhelm the digestion and cause fermentation, weight gain and flatulence.
- Include naturally fermented food Natural yoghurt in small amounts, eaten at room temperature and dill pickles are good digestive helpers.
- Drink between meals rather than with meals Digestion can be easily overwhelmed by too much water. It is better to limit fluid intake to one cup of water or tea with meals.
- Avoid too much cold raw foodTake salad ingredients or chilled foods out of the fridge 30mins before use and consume them at room temperature. The Chinese believe that raw, uncooked, cold foods will extinguish the ‘digestive fire’ and slow down the digestive process.
All food consumed eventually needs to be mechanically broken down into smaller pieces and heated to 37 degree body temperature in order for nutrients to be absorbed. Therefore the closer your food ‘looks’ like 37 degree ‘soup’ the less work the body needs to do in order to extract nourishment. And eat more raw or uncooked food in warmer weather.
- Chew your food thoroughly DDigestion begins in the mouth and chewing well presents the stomach with less work to do.
- Relax and sit comfortably while eatingBody tension or postural slumping will compress the digestive organs and make digestion harder work.
- Trust your body Your body ‘knows’ what tastes and feels nourishing so take time to listen to it!
- Enjoy your food A deep appreciation and enjoyment of food opens ones whole being to receiving nourishment.