I have been teaching people about nutrition for a while now and I can tell you that it is NOT easy to ride the nutrition wave. In this article I am going to tell you everything I have learned about nutrition. I am not going to give you a list of foods to eat or not eat. In fact I am not going to talk that much about food, my goal is to help you understand why you approach food the way you do and how to get more in touch with what is right for you.
WHY IS NUTRITION SO HARD
1. Information. There is more information than ever, right at our fingertips. 99% of the information is misleading and inaccurate. Within this 99% there are two types of information, there is information that is designed to steer you from the truth (i.e. DISinformation) and there is information that is written by people who have not yet figured out the truth (i.e. MISinformation). The former is usually linked to money and people who benefit financially from you being unhealthy or benefit from you buying into a particular way of thinking about food. Yes, it is true, we are more valuable when we are sick. The latter is from people who might mean well but are not yet at a point where they should be advising people on nutrition. I will admit, I have given out advice which I later found to be inaccurate.
2. Belief Systems. People have very strong beliefs about nutrition. These beliefs are so strong that they let their beliefs define them. Much like many peoples beliefs about religion and politics. These beliefs are so strong that people will sabotage their own health to defend them. The person who clearly needs more of a particularly nutrient but refuses to eat it because it doesn’t fit into their belief structure. These beliefs start with what you learn as a child but extend to the programming that you receive from watching TV, going to school, reading newspapers, books, magazines, blogs, what your doctor tells you, what your friends say, what a guru says, what an influencer on social media is doing, etc. Basically, you are being programmed constantly, with regard to nutrition and all other things for that matter (why are sex and violence the main themes in everything?).
"These beliefs are so strong that people will sabotage their own health to defend them."
3. Individuality. We are all different, on many levels. We have different genetics, we have different lifestyles, we have had different experiences in this life (and in past lives) and we are all at a different level with regard to our spiritual development. All of these impact what we should be eating and what nutrients we need to function optimally. Unfortunately, our individuality is something that is taken from us at an early age as we are forced into certain groups or told that we are this or that. During this process a false ego is created and along with it the ‘story’ that becomes us, the story that becomes the lens through which we interpret everything we come into contact with. The story that defines you as good at this, bad at that, good looking or not good looking, fat or skinny, secure or insecure, etc. The story that ultimately shapes your relationship with food.
4. Listening. Figuring out what you should be eating requires that you learn to listen to your body. This starts with simple tangible markers, like how you look and feel, but over time a deeper dialogue begins. A sense of intuitive knowing reveals itself and you just know what you need at a given time. Hard to explain with words, but if you know, you know. Yes, it can be helpful to learn the basics of nutrition and how the human body works (the real basics), but from there you will need to customize based on your individual needs and what I mention above and below.
"A true desire to ride the wave, coupled with practice, will lead to results."
5. Results. When it comes to health, people want quick results. Doing things right takes time, it requires patience and it requires a deep desire to want to be healthy on all levels (not just physically). Without this desire many people will abandon the wave, even when they are finally learning to ride. This is because in many instances, things will get worse before they get better. I know this first hand, but also through working with clients. I can’t tell you how many people come to me with broken metabolisms and hormonal imbalances due to some combination of overtraining, under eating, following an overly dogmatic approach to nutrition, bouncing from diet to diet looking for the magic solution, all the while doing more and more damage to the body (and mind). During this process you might feel like you are drowning and you might feel like it is impossible to remain above water. This is only because you are not willing to be honest with yourself.
WHERE DO YOU START
1. Stop reading so much. If you come across a source that tells you one day to be a vegetarian and the next to follow a low carb paleo diet, they don’t have your best interests at heart. And if you come across a source that claims this superfood will fix you or this guru has the answer they don’t have your best interests at heart. At the onset, it is best to avoid any new information until you have mastered step 2 below.
2. Drop Your beliefs and question everything. To be honest, you should question everything, not just nutrition, everything. The truth is not really something that can be put into words anyway. It can only be felt. Anyone who tells you something is the truth is probably very far from it. Has reading this article made you feel a little agitated or anxious or defensive or kind of like you have been poked. If so, you have not found that truth and you are clinging too tightly to certain beliefs about nutrition and probably other areas. Yes, question this article, but also be honest with yourself. When you can read something without any bias, then you can begin reading more information again, because then you will know how to interpret the information that you read. You will then be in a STATE where you can no longer be programmed like the masses.
3. Embrace your individuality. You are quite unique, there is not another person on this planet (or in the universe) like you, don’t forget that. We are one but we are many. You are special and what you need to keep your body in check is unique to you. Maybe you should eat dairy, maybe you shouldn’t, maybe meat is right for you maybe it isn’t, maybe gluten works for you maybe it doesn’t, etc. etc.
4. Start listening to your body. When you learn to listen to your body you have then written your own book on nutrition. You have created your own internal meal plan. You know what to eat and when to eat it. You know when to increase or decrease the amount of food you require, you know when you need more or less of a particular type of food. You have become one with your bodies nutrient requirements. You have mastered riding the wave.
"When you learn to listen to your body you have then written your own book on nutrition."
5. Have fun with it. It can become easy to get either too serious or not serious enough with nutrition. Neither are optimal, I know first hand. The process will not always be fun, but do your best to have fun with it and have fun with life in general. It is a short ride, but a beautiful one.
1. Eat high quality food. Organic, grass-fed, pasture-raised, wild, non-gmo are the words you should look for. If you have access to a local farm that uses organic standards, great, or if you have the ability to grown your own food or raise your own animals, even better. There is nothing more rewarding that growing something, picking it and eating it. Eating high quality food also means avoiding processed food and drink.
2. Drink high quality water. Tap water in most regions is heavily contaminated. Fluoride is not good for you and is part of the reason your mind is so rigid with nutrition and part of the reason your intuition is so hard to access. Drink bottled spring water (in glass when possible), or invest in a high quality water filter that removes fluoride and other contaminants. If you have access to a local spring even better.
3. Eat balanced meals. Simple right, eat balanced meals 3 times a day. Most people don’t do it because it takes time and/or because they think it will make them gain weight or they read an article about “fasting”.
4. Eat enough food. Most people need more food not less. This ties to point 3 above. Eat food, your body needs it. What this means is different for everyone. Start by eating a bit more quality food throughout the day, see if you feel more energized, if your sleep improves, if your mental clarity becomes enhanced. Adjust from there.
5. Listen to your cravings. Cravings mean your body is missing something it needs. If you crave salt, add more salt to your diet (sea salt, not table salt), if you crave sugar, you need more carbohydrates (fruit, rice and potatoes, not bread and pasta). These are the most common, but other correlations exist.
"The more your nutrition program lines up with your daily needs the less frequently you will experience cravings."
6. Get in tune with your digestive system. Do you feel bloated after a meal, do you get heartburn regularly, do you have to run to the bathroom after a meal, do you not go to the bathroom for several days at a time. All of these are problematic and tell you that something you are eating is not right for you. Start by eating slower and chewing your food. Be thankful for what you eat. You will digest it better. Eventually you will notice that certain foods are not right for you and you can stop eating them for a period of time or indefinitely.
7. Make it a lifestyle. If you do not make nutrition a lifestyle, you are not going to change your habits and you are not going to have fun with it. Learn a few new recipes each week, take the family to the farmers market, spend more time in the kitchen, spend 1 day a week cooking bulk meals so that you have them for the week.
I hope that you found this article helpful. My intention was to teach you how the nutrition wave works, not to tell you how to ride it, because your wave will be different than mine. Enjoy it.