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Posted on 10-25-2017
I have decided to start writing about my journey and the things that I am learning along the way. I am constantly learning new information, tips, recipes and just how the body works or should work. Every time I learn something I get this sense of urgency to tell everyone so they can decide if they want to make a change too. I have always been this way. I learn and want to jump in full force. But with health it is a journey. You can’t become healthy overnight. It doesn’t work that way. It is a process and my philosophy is that if you will make small changes over time you will eventually treat it as a lifestyle. This isn’t about being on a diet for me. I personally despise that word. It makes me cringe thinking about how many different ones there are out there. The truth is that if you will go back to the basics and eat better foods rich in vitamins and minerals that will nourish your body, organs, cells and tissues you should lose weight. So, if that is your goal then what I am learning should work for you too. You have to eat the Right carbs and the Right fats. You can’t just cut them out of your diet because your body needs them.
I have always been a “healthy” person. I rarely get sick and most of the time I feel good. A few years ago I started developing inflammation in my body. I am not talking about the inflammation that happens when you injure your ankle. This is overall body inflammation that can wreak havoc on your health. I wasn’t sleeping well. I had stiffness and achiness that I never had experienced before. I had gained a lot of weight. Mentally I was not as sharp as I normally am and my skin was breaking out like I was a teenager! I went and had a complete physical done including mammogram and blood work. I was told that everything was “normal”. I was surprised by this and since that time I have talked to many people who have been told this same thing and still do not feel well. Thankfully, I know my body and I knew that something was off. So, being the Google expert that I am, I researched for hours on what could be causing this. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING came back to food. Why is this? Because so much of our food is being genetically modified to resist insects and mass produce. Most processed foods are genetically modified. There is a lot of mixed information on GMO’s but very little research to show that the foods offer much nutrition. I won’t bore you with all of this but would encourage you to go look it up for yourself. Check out this site that I found informative.
I am a firm believer that we were put on this earth with a body designed to heal itself. It is an amazing thing. How well it functions is determined a lot by the choices we make. What food do we nourish it with? How do much sleep and exercise to we get? How do we control stress? I know we have all heard it before over and over again. But it is true. It is simply choosing the right path.
In starting this process, I had to understand macronutrients. These are substances required in relatively large amounts by living organisms. In food they are the fat, protein and carbohydrates in the human diet. I don’t like to have to count anything so this is not about counting macros. I wanted to learn about these so I knew how to balance them in my diet. They are all important to the functioning of your body. However, eating the wrong kinds of these can be damaging. Carbs help provide the energy your body needs. Complex carbs are the right carbs such as veggies and whole grains. Around 50% of your daily nutrition should come from complex carbs. Protein helps build and repair your body’s framework (bones, ligaments, tissue). An adult needs about ½ a gram per pound of body weight. A child needs 1 gram because these are their growing years. Choose lean meats, eggs, beans, nuts and seeds.
These are all pretty common knowledge and I have recently written about them in our #WellnessWednesday Facebook posts. I just needed to make better choices. When I studied fats I learned some crucial facts I was unaware of. I have always heard over and over that fat is bad. Butter is bad. Most items come in a low fat version. How many low fat diets are there? The body needs fat! But like carbs and protein it needs the right fats. Fat is a nutrient and a part of every cell in our bodies. Your brain is around 60% fat! There are 3 different kinds of fat in our food. The one you want to stay away from or limit is called trans-fat. This is a hydrogenated fat that starts as a liquid but a process called hydrogenation is used to change the chemical structure and make them solid at room temp. They literally take a healthy fat and turn it into an unhealthy fat. Why would someone do this? Because they are cheap to make and have a long shelf life. They can be harmful to your body. Are you seeing a pattern here? Watch food labels for hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated in the list of ingredients and try to stay away from those. I decided to take a look at my own pantry and it really kind of made me angry. I feel tricked because I was unaware. I was seeing a trend here regarding my food. The fact was that I was consuming a lot of “fake” food and feeding it to my family!
Another thing to know about fat is the importance of the Omega 3 fatty acids. Fatty acids are the main nutritional component of a fat. The body produces all but 2 which are referred to as essential fatty acids which we must get from our food. They are Omega 3 and Omega 6. We get plenty of Omega 6 fatty acids in our diet and sometimes too much. But most of us do not get enough Omega 3’s. These are important for your heart, brain function, mood and immunity. They can help you heal faster, lose weight and balance inflammation. You can find Omega 3’s in cold water fish (preferably wild salmon), fish oils, avocados, walnuts and olive oil. It is recommended to eat fish twice per week for a total of 12 ounces. You can also get it in a supplement form. Make sure you pay attention to what you are purchasing. Look for EPA and DHA on the bottle. Most sources recommend a minimum of 500 mg per day for the average adult. There are certain conditions that could require more. You would need to consult with your health care provider to discuss that. If you want to learn more, start with Dr. Oz's great article about Omegas.
The first thing I did after studying the benefits of the Omega’s was incorporate salmon into my diet. I still struggle with getting it in twice per week but that is mainly because of my options to purchase wild salmon. It is hard to find where I live. I have also started taking a fish oil supplement. I take Standard Process Cod Liver Oil with a daily serving of 630 mg of Omega 3. I choose Standard Process for my supplements because they are whole food products.
I hope that anyone who may read this sees the importance as well. I challenge you to make this one change this week. Eat more Omega-3 oil in food or in supplements, eat less Omega-6 oil which is found in corn, soy and canola oil, stay away from hydrogenated oils/trans fats. If you want to read more, I found a lot of great information in a book called “The Omega-3 Effect” by William Sears, MD.
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