Holistic Nutrition: Making the Journey From SAD to SOUL ♥
The term ‘Holistic’ as it relates to our health and the human body is the integrative approach of observing our body, mind, and spirit as a ‘whole’ with inter-related systems that affect and rely on one another vs. treating, analyzing or viewing our overall health and well being as segregated parts. Implementing a holistic approach to our health and well being is more important now than ever due to our overly toxic world.
The greatest mistake in the treatment of diseases is that there are physicians for the body and physicians for the soul, although the two cannot be separated. ~Plato
Holistic Nutrition is the fundamental framework for living a healthy holistic lifestyle and nourishing our bodies from the inside out. More specifically holistic nutrition incorporates Seasonal, Organic, Unprocessed and Local (SOUL) whole foods whenever possible to maximize nutrient density. Supporting local farmers and sustainability practices is also an added bonus. Whole organic foods are free of pesticides, preservatives, hormones, antibiotics, chemically created or manipulated ingredients and genetically modified organisms. The closer to the source you are to your food the higher the nutrient value and healthful benefits your foods will provide, so locally grown organic foods are your best option for optimum nutrition. You will be delightfully surprised that often times it is less expensive to buy seasonal organic foods at your local farmer’s markets or Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs than it is to buy at chain grocery stores.
The Standard American (SAD) Diet does not promote health and well-being…
Our entire body is made up of cells, each with a specific function and purpose. These cells need essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients to thrive. The source of nutrients for our cells is food, water, and oxygen. Foods that are nutrient dense deliver to our cells what they need to heal and function properly. Our bodies are designed to heal themselves if we can get the garbage out of the way and let them! Processed foods associated with the Standard American Diet (SAD) is a major facilitator of the obesity epidemic and degenerative diseases such as Type 2 diabetes in the US. Diet along with sedentary lifestyles, negative thoughts, and negative energy all play a major role in our health. A holistic approach to nutrition nourishes our body, mind, spirit, and energy on all levels. You’ve heard the term, you are what you eat! Unfortunately with the prevalent amount of chemicals and genetically modified (GM) ingredients leading to impaired guts…nowadays you are what you absorb and assimilate!
A typical SAD diet consists of high calorie, low nutrient, low fiber, high sugar, refined and processed foods that are loaded with artificial ingredients and low in Omega 3’s, with labels claiming to be healthy or natural. If a food manufacturer claims their food to be healthy or natural it’s probably best to steer clear of those items! These words are not federally regulated and food manufacturers will jump at any chance to cash in on trending health food claims. Basically, with SAD you end up eating more and getting less. You end up addicted mentally, physically and emotionally to triglycerides, sugar, and other harmful chemicals such as MSG. This is not a good recipe for a healthy fit mind-body-spirit. As if to add insult to industry the SAD dietary system not only fails to deliver what our cells need to heal and properly function but also will damage our cells, tissues and organ function making it even harder if not impossible to detoxify–a double whammy creating a vicious cycle!
The science is in. Today’s obesity epidemic is diet and lifestyle related. Degenerative diseases such as cardiovascular disease, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes can often be prevented or reversed entirely through nourishing nutrition and healthier lifestyle habits such as a positive mindset and focused intention. The food you put in your mouth is the most important thing you actually CAN control, on the physical level, that will lay the foundation for your overall health and quality of life.
It’s fitting that the Standard American Diet acronym is SAD. With the US Industrial Revolution, our food has changed more in the past 80-100 years than it has over thousands of years leaving our food supply over processed and chemically laden with preservatives, antibiotics, herbicides and pesticide residues. Leaving us with digestive systems not evolved or equipped to handle any of this!
In addition to this declining quality of our food supply, lifestyle habits in the US foster stress. When stress and poor food choices collide the outcome is deadly. In the US we tend to be very outcome-oriented, always in a rush and operating on a vicious work-reward cycle taking little time to notice how our bodies are responding to the foods we consume. Reaching for something to eat that is convenient and quick takes precedence over actual nourishment.
Once bad eating habits are a way of life the body adjusts and you no longer know what it feels like to feel good. You crave the bad stuff and this is by design! Addicting qualities of the food is increased in the manufacturing process to keep you buying more. This vicious cycle continues and you get sicker and sicker and more toxic. The good news is you can get addicted to the good stuff too! Once you make changes to healthier more nutritious foods you will feel the effects not only physically but also energetically, emotional and mentally! I promise the simple act of paying your body this respect by fueling it with healthy nutritious foods will empower you on your path to a healthier lifestyle!
SOUL–Seasonal, Organic, Unprocessed & Local
Like our ancestors, we need to start eating seasonally what’s available, without pesticides, herbicides, processing, preservatives or Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Foods should be organic as much as possible and minimally processed if at all. Buying organic or naturally grown fruits and vegetables are key in cutting down all toxic herbicide/pesticide residues and GMOs. Organic is not just about reducing pesticides or GMOs though. Organic farming practices protect the soil and environment through sustainable farming practices. Local foods have far less ground to cover to reach our plate so they naturally are fresher and contain higher nutrient and mineral content than eating foods that have traveled long distances. The exception to this is frozen fruits and vegetables as they are typically frozen and preserved right away. Eating locally allows you to support your community farmers which typically adopt more naturally grown sustainable farming practices.
Is it time to re-establish your relationship with food?
The relationship you have with food is an intimate one. Let’s honor nourishing our bodies with healthy life-giving nutrients as the sacred ritual that it is. Nutrients fuel our physical bodies allowing us to explore and experience this crazy, wonderful and gorgeous existence of ours! The food we eat not only satiates our hunger but also provides the nourishment that every cell in our body needs to function properly (aside from Love). It lays the groundwork for a healthy mind-body-spirit connection on the biochemical and energetic level.
Contemplate for a moment the experiences your body enables you to have every day. What would your life be like without these experiences? Will your happiness level increase if you a have strong able body vs. a weak, malnourished or fatigued body? Our bodies are the vehicles that allow us to experience this fabulous human condition we call life–for better or worse! There are not many things you can control in life BUT the food you eat IS one of them. Aside from your thoughts and perceptions, it also happens to be one of the best medicinal and disease-preventative gift you can give yourself. When your mood and thoughts are in line with your Highest Self so are your food choices, because one fuels the other as they are inter-related.
What drains your spirit drains your body. What fuels your spirit fuels your body. ― Caroline Myss, Anatomy of the Spirit
Here are some tips and resources to kick-start your path from SAD to SOUL!
Read labels–Avoid anything you can’t read or understand. If a product is loaded with ingredients I just set it down and move on. Ingredients should be simple. Peanut butter ingredients should be peanuts, maybe salt. Spaghetti sauce should be tomatoes, basil, oregano, garlic, etc. Oils, preservatives, food coloring, artificial stabilizers, added sugar, additives are NOT necessary.
Eliminate processed foods–A twinkie is not a food! Neither is a wheat thin! Eat whole foods and very minimally processed foods as much as possible. If it doesn’t come from a tree, vine, plant or bush straight from the way mother nature intended, it’s processed. This includes SODA! I personally do not eat anything processed anymore or anything that contains preservatives, stabilizers, chemicals, etc. My rule of thumb is if its made in a lab I don’t eat it.
Buy organic vegetables and fruits as much as possible–If your on a budget at least try to follow the Clean 15 & avoid non-organic from the Dirty Dozen PLUS list, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) 2013 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. You will cut down your pesticide and herbicide residue consumption substantially just by following this list.
Avoid GMOs–The main genetically modified crops as of 2013 are corn, sugar beets, soy, canola, cotton, papaya, crookneck yellow squash and some zucchini. This also means any derivatives, i.e. corn flour, corn syrup, corn meal, soybean oil, soy lecithin, vegetable oil (typically containing canola), etc. Sugar beets make up more than 80% of all sugar in the US unless it is specifically labeled cane sugar, palm sugar, etc. Educate yourself on this topic. Read more on Genetically Modified Organisms and download the Non-GMO shopping guide before your next trip to the grocery market.
Shop at local farmers markets or CSAs whenever possible–A great resource is LocalHarvest.org
More tips here, 10 Healthy Habits to Start Getting Healthy Now!
Healthy is a lifestyle and state of mind, not just a diet!
Living a healthy and holistic lifestyle starts with the conscious decision to love yourself. Are you ready to heal your relationship with food and ditch the processed garbage? Ready to start incorporating organic whole food nutrition and healthy eating habits as a way of life? I promise this love and respect for your body will then serves as a spring board for an overall healthy and balanced well-being with benefits that extend far beyond just a healthier body.
Incorporating regular exercise and fitness routines, breathing techniques, meditation and other stress-management activities will further nurture a balanced mind-body-spirit connection. The truth is, there is no quick fix. Health is a lifelong marathon, not a race and being healthy is more than just a compilation of good eating habits. Healthy is more than just the absence of disease or not being sick.
My personal view of ‘being healthy’ is one that encompasses all aspects of being happy and is full of joy, vitality, acceptance, love, compassion and allows me to reach my fullest expression. It starts with the foods I eat to nourish my body and extends out far beyond my physical body to the energy and kindness I am putting out and receiving on a daily basis.