Most of us in the USA remember the “Food Pyramid”, right? Eat a certain amount of this, certain amount of that, little amounts of this and you’ll feel your best. Or maybe, when we were growing up, we remember being told “You have to eat your veggies before you can have dessert!” Some of us would gobble the broccoli down without a second thought, but a good portion of us remember tearfully refusing, or maybe sliding some off to the family pet to make it look like the food was in fact eaten!
We got through our childhood and teenage years, maybe not eating the healthiest food, but eating tons of fortified foods to get us through long school days and long study nights. Chips, chugging back soda, maybe some of us ate cereal in the morning with some milk. Fortified foods do come with the basic nutrients that otherwise wouldn’t naturally occur in the foods we were eating, and they helped us get through.
The older we get, we either turn towards a healthier way of eating (or, maybe we lived that way as a teen and stuck to it), or perhaps we turned to the fast food joints for every dinner meal (sometimes lunch, too). Greasy, processed burgers and fries for the weekdays, then pizza during the weekends. Maybe a tub of ice cream along the way. When we eat what doesn’t suit out bodies we primarily notice the pounds and inches slowly forming around our waist, but beyond that, there’s physical damage to our internal being. Cholesterol goes up, blood pressure soars, and the risk of heart attack and strokes increase every year.
“The major cardiometabolic diseases—heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes—pose substantial health and economic burdens on society”…“This study establishes the number of cardiometabolic deaths that can be linked to Americans’ eating habits, and the number is large…”, quoted from the NIH (cited below)
When we eat what is not good for us, not only do we suffer physically, but psychologically as well. If we are not eating the nutrients we need to sustain our bodies on the day-to-day basis, we suffer from lethargy, depression, anxiety and irritability. “You are what you eat” isn’t just an old saying, it’s reality. If you eat better, colorful and nutrient-dense food, you will glow from the inside out. Your diet is reflected onto not only your skin, weight and hair, but your attitude and how you manage every day stresses.
We don’t have to dive head first into one of those hip raw vegan diets (where you eat almost entirely raw foods), but we start small. Drastic changes can cause bloating, digestive issues, so if you’re just starting out, start small! The best steps to first take is cutting back on processed foods. A good way to know if what you’re eating is overly processed, is to get closer to the food source. If it’s in a box, can or bag, it’s usually processed to some extent. The closer you are to the true, original food, the better and more nutrient dense it is! Learning to cook yourself dinner even once or twice a week is a good start, and at least you’ll know where your food came from!
As we go on, I plan on adding more nutrient facts, and recipes that anyone can do at home! The wellness journey doesn’t have to be extreme when we first start, the point is that we start to begin with. I hope to see you all here again with my next post, and keep in touch! Thank you for reading!