Do you have a “healthy” diet? Needless to say, this has become a pretty loaded and debatable word with varying degrees of what people perceive as “healthy.”
What cannot be ignored when considering your health, though, is your diet – not one you crazily follow just before bikini season or going on vacation, but your real, everyday diet.
We’ve all heard over and over “You are what you eat” and what you put in is what you get out. So when did knowing how to maintain a healthy diet become so confusing?
Safe to say right around the time people became disconnected from the food process and living in harmony with nature, this was when people began needing to work outside the home more to be able to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads.
But this all came at a steep cost that we now see as horrible health issues depleting people’s everyday lives while struggling, even more, to make ends meet. With all the convoluted information and purposeful misinformation out there, let’s keep this real simple with 2 (fool-proof) keys to a healthy diet that is often overlooked.
1. Water Is Life
If the all too recent upheaval to protect our natural resource at Dakota Pipeline hasn’t shown how scarce clean water is today and how important it is we defend what is untainted – for the children of future generations.
Monetizing this natural resource is a disgrace already, yet that is what society has come to accept. So, really whether its bottled, filtered or from the tap – how much water are you drinking each day? No, that carbonated or caffeinated can of fizzly stuff doesn’t count.
Nor does that cup of coffee, a bottle of soda or sugar-loaded fruit juice with more harmful ingredients than any beneficial water from nature.
Naturally, our bodies are made up of 50-65% water, so that should be enough to get us through each day, right? Not so much when considering every cell, tissue and organ in our body depend on water to function properly.
On top of that, we lose* water every day just by breathing, sweating, and using the bathroom. So that old rule of thumb of eight 8 ounce glasses per day is not sufficient for everyone by any means.
Yet, again to keep it simple, everyday adults should be consuming about 1/2 their weight in ounces of water. This is a great goal to start with!
Then consider how much you work out, the climate you live in and if you’re under the weather (fever, diarrhea, or vomiting) or pregnant/breastfeeding because you’ll definitely need to add to that. Just one example of our bodies dependence on proper water intake is our bodies’ natural filter – the kidneys.
Water allows the kidneys to empty the bladder on time, keep the blood vessels open so blood can freely make its way to our organs (like the kidneys) and dissolves minerals and nutrients that are delivered to the kidneys.
Now, if you want to get the exact amount ideal for you, check out some handy, dandy (and free online) hydration calculators.
2. Consistent Quality Is Key
Consistency is always key to making a real effective impact, or in our case building a healthy habit that becomes a healthy lifestyle. When we consistently strive to achieve a higher and better level of health, what this looks like can seem unique to each person.
From not eating out for a week or trading that morning cup of coffee for tea to making more meals at home, going vegetarian or focusing on whole, nutrient-dense foods and beverages as 90% of your daily intake.
Throwing out the idea of any popular diet of today or years passed, what matters more than anything else is quality. As in, quality over quantity – a phrase not commonly used when talking about a healthy diet.
Quantity has people counting calories or cutting carbs when really everyone needs to be focusing on microminerals, vitamins, essential fats, and nutrients. The very fuel our body needs to function properly and the very same lacking in the foods of today.
I do believe that once people start to connect the average food of Americans today to the countless health disorders and diseases that have skyrocketed over the past two decades, it simply won’t be tolerated any longer.
So let’s say that the food that is believed to give you the most bang for your buck is made with ingredients that change the microflora of soil and human guts – for the worse.
With all the push for probiotics these days, most have heard that the gut makes up 70-80% of our immune system. More interestingly, our gut is a central location of the microbiome and 99% of our microbiome constitutes the genetic contribution of what we are!
Then how are we allowing the main ingredient of weedkiller that is classified as a known carcinogen by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the state of California to be in the food eaten by the vast majority.
This particular weedkiller ingredient, called glyphosate, destroys the gut bacteria leading to intestinal permeability by poking holes in the intestines. This means the gut is no longer able to absorb nutrients and minerals from the food it is digesting and processing.
From the start, seeds are tampered with to withstand glyphosate, produce a pesticide or promote desired traits of a pesticide. Not to mention the soil itself should have over 60 different minerals and nutrients, though only a few are found in crop soil today.
Then the plant is sprayed with up to 2-5 billion pounds of weedkiller per year. Thus, the soil, seed and end-consumer eating said plants are being stripped of nutrients needed to fuel everyone’s natural, balanced growth.
This makes the food appear foreign to our systems causing it to not know what to do with what it is taking in, yet needs to make use of the food pieces causing it to usually be stored as fat. Hence the inflammation that is at the core of many of the diseases of today.
It wasn’t always this way, of course, but over the generations, the amount of nutrients available in an apple is not the same it was back in our grandparents days.
Just as the amount of nutrients available in a conventional (everyday) apple vs. an organic apple are also not the same these days. In a large meta-analysis* published in 2014 by the British Journal of Nutrition, it was found that organic crops have substantially higher concentrations of numerous antioxidants and other beneficial compounds.
So though we can all wrap our heads around a salad being healthier than a cheeseburger, or eating more fruits and vegetables being healthier than eating and ordering out.
What we would benefit most from in a healthy diet is consistently consuming high-quality, nutrient-rich (organic not genetically altered/engineered/modified) whole foods in a balanced manner that keeps it colorful, locally grown and flavorful.
Finally, integral to consistency is honesty. Honestly then, what do you normally eat daily that provides real, nutrient-dense value to your body? Do you often compromise quality for convenience and cheaper options?
Wagner, M. and Omondi, E. “Nutrient Density Comparison between Organic and Conventionally Grown Oats”. July 2016. https://rodaleinstitute.org/nutrient-density-comparison/
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