Food Choices – We are what we eat
You may remember that phrase “we are what we eat” nothing could be truer.
Food and it’s impact on our health is a mainstream topic now. This is because our understanding of good gut health has developed massively. For example, our immunity is strongly connected to our gut health. There are also head and gut connections; there is a view that our gut is like a second brain.
My health is directly affected by the food I eat and I use this experience and the knowledge I have to guide you to a diet that works for you.
We are what we eat
Symptoms of ill health can be caused by eating foods that are not compatible with your body. If you consider the prevalence of food allergies and intolerance you see how compromised our immune systems are. Why is this happening? there are a multitude of reasons for the weakening of our immune system which include
- our family genes
- medications we have taken
- the lack of nutrients we get from food due to overprocessing and intensive farming methods
- additives and preservatives that are included in modern foods
Good gut health
Research into nutrition and our health is advancing all of the time but what has become very clear is that our gut health has an incredibly vital role to play in our overall health
You are most likely familar with the gut micobiome now. This represents all the bacteria that live in our gut. Bacteria can be good and bad so the most important thing as ever is to maintain balance within the gut.
How do you achieve a good bacteria balance? by eating a wide variety of foods which ensures your gut is able to generate the multitudes of bacteria it needs to stay strong and robust. Please always remember we are what we eat!
At the end of 2014 I was suffering with some unpleasant digestive issues. In my case I feel stress was the cause. I was a fine example of we are what we eat; I was eating rubbish and I felt rubbish too. At this time I recognised that I needed to make some changes and I took a food intolerance test.
Although I am not intolerant of many foods I do react to certain foods. I eliminated these foods and because I took that decision I am well, full of energy and three stone lighter as a result.
What can complicate our investigations is that we can be allergic, intolerant or sensitive to foods. Let me explain; an allergic reaction is the most severe and generally immediate. Intolerance may show quite quickly and sensitivity can take perhaps a week to occur. This is the reaction is less extreme than an allergy. These varying levels of reaction demand keen observation to identify them.
If you suspect there may be a food that upsets you I recommend that you write a food diary. Detail everything you eat and drink and note your reactions each day. Over a month the chances are you will see some patterns. It is important for you to understand what is making your body react. In addition, it is worth noting how you were feeling that day or what events happened. By having this information you may identify some important behaviour or reactions you were not aware of. There are times when we all eat for reasons other than to satisfy hunger.
How do you make your food choices?
Have you ever considered why you choose the foods you do?
Consider these questions:
- Is it fuel for energy? feeling tired makes us reach for a boost which is usually a quick hit rather than sustainable energy
- If I need comfort do I turn to a favourite food? It is common to reach for your favourite snack when you feel down
- Everyone can make poor food choices. Who hasn’t grabbed a sugary food to give their energy a lift?
- How many times have you had a takeaway and bottle of wine on a Friday night? Many, many people!
We often treat food as a reward rather than fuel. It is common to justify our treats on the basis that we are working so hard. We often use sugary products to give us a lift when we need that energy boost.
The challenge can be giving up these foods because our body knows it will be difficult. It senses signals of craving for a particular food and we convince ourselves that our body must need that food. I fought this battle for the longest time but going gluten free actually helped me to reduce my sugar intake too. I can promise you that if you have a food intolerance giving up that food is revolutionary for your health and well-being.
A healthy diet
Please do not be alarmed I am not the food police! I recommend balance in everything so I won’t say you can’t have a cake, takeaway, bottle of wine, crisps, chocolate or whatever your prefered treat is.
My thought is this: work on the basis that if you are good 80% of the time you have 20% leeway for some indulgence
Of course, I recommend that you follow a healthy balanced diet. This will comprise organic, local, seasonal produce where possible.
Typically, a good diet includes a good mix of protein, fibre and carbohydrates. We will talk more about that when I understand your dietary habits.