There is so much information out there around what and how to eat it can be overwhelming. The truth is, there is no one way to eat or magic pill to take. There are a few basic foundational pieces essential to consider when thinking about your diet and how to eat for optimal wellbeing and vibrancy.
- Digestion – Ensuring that the bowels are functioning properly, and food is absorbed properly is key. Fiber, fermented and enzyme rich foods provide the necessary materials to keep this system running smoothly. Symptoms like gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea and reflux are signs that something is awry and perhaps the foods you are eating may be negatively impacting your health.
Some of my favorite digestion friendly foods include sauerkraut, kimchi, mung dahl, root vegetables, warm leafy greens, berries, ancient grains.
- Detoxification – Now, I’m not talking about a drastic diet here. I’m talking about supporting the body’s natural detox organs like the liver, kidneys, skin, and lymphatic system along with the digestive system to work effectively. When these organs are healthy, there is less inflammation, chronic fatigue, auto-immune disorders, and food sensitivities. Supporting the body’s inherent and intelligent detox mechanism with real food is the best for most generally healthy individuals. Ideally, eating these foods daily will keep your body humming.
Foods to include: Cruciferous vegetables and leafy greens, lemon, beetroot, avocado, garlic, turmeric, ginger, cilantro, parsley, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, broccoli
- Sleep – Often overlooked, sleep is the “sleeper” when it comes to health. When we sleep, the body cleanses all the organ systems essentially cleansing the palate for the next day. If sleep is disturbed, it can be one of the underlying causes of health issues like hormone imbalances, weight gain and skin issues. Sleep can be hard to come by for many reasons. Stress can be a factor as well as lifestyle and schedule. It is important to create a daily routine where 7 hours of undisturbed sleep can be had.
Foods to include for better sleep include: Almond milk with saffron, barley grass powder, valerian root, holy-basil, passionfruit tea and cherry juice
- Energy – Eating for energy is one of the biggest requests I receive in my coaching practice. Fatigue, exhaustion, general malaise and lack of interest in day to day activities is becoming more and more common. The nature of our society encourages constantly doing and consuming more which activates our systems in ways previous generations did not.
Social media and the internet have created an environment where our brains are constantly receiving new information that activates the nervous system. When this happens, our bodies assume we must “act” and begin to utilize materials that may not be necessary. When this happens chronically, immunity decreases, and energy becomes diminished as the body tries to repair. Eating foods for energy are important as is creating healthy lifestyle boundaries.
A food that is good for energy provides steady nutrition ensuring there are no spikes and crashes throughout the day. It is also important to keep blood sugar steady by eating small frequent meals every 3 hours.
Foods to include: Edamame, Quinoa, Goji Berries, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, eggs, brown rice, beans
Balanced health and wellness is derived from understanding how and what to eat in combination with supportive lifestyle habits. To be healthy is a creative art that requires constant interest, refinement and reflection.
Alana Kessler, MS, RDN E-RYT, is a registered dietitian, functional nutritionist, yoga and meditation teacher, speaker and author. Alana’s intuitive and creative approach to health and wellness has impacted thousands through her private practice and international yoga and mindfulness trainings and retreats. A graduate of NYU with a BA and MS in clinical nutrition. Her health, fitness, and lifestyle expertise has been featured in Aaptiv.com, Droz.com, EatThis.com, RD.com, Redbook, WomensHealthmag.com, and Vogue. For more information, visit her website at www.bewellbyak.com.