If you want to live in a happy body, you have to understand that nutrition encompasses the largest part (around 80%) of a healthy lifestyle. The rest belongs to activities and relaxation. For personal and professional curiosity, I’ve been on many food journeys. I was vegan, raw vegan, vegetarian and piscatarian. I went without sweets for eight months. I do fasting and I practice mono fruit or only fresh squeezed green juice day. I still have a list of food adventures that I am planning to experience.
I would like to share some common nutritional insights which might help you make your eating habits healthier and as a result make you feel better. If you would like to expand your knowledge, or rediscover some familiar information, or if you are just curious about what other people think, take your precious time and read this long but informative nutrition section.
Here are my top nutritional insights…
Everyone knows that you have to drink water. Does everyone drink enough of it? Not at all!
Why you should be serious about drinking water? First of all, apart from muscle tissues and bones, water is an essential component of your body. It MAKES UP nearly 85% of your brain, about 80% of your blood and about 70% of your lean muscle. When it comes to the digestive system, water plays a paramount role in proper digestion, nutrient absorption and chemical reactions. The carbohydrates and proteins are METABOLIZED and TRANSPORTED by water in the bloodstream. The interesting and important thing is that water SUPPRESSES THE APPETITE naturally. When you are dehydrated, you tend to eat more. What a simple and natural way to subdue your intrusive appetite simply by drinking enough water.
Speaking of overall health, water is utterly important in all the processes occurring in the body. Water is essential for proper CIRCULATION in the body. In a well hydrated body, the levels of oxygen in the bloodstream are greater. The awesome thing is if the oxygen levels are increased, you will have MORE ENERGY. Also, water helps REMOVE TOXINS from the body and regulates the body’s COOLING SYSTEM. On the other hand, when the body’s cells are not hydrated, they are vulnerable to attack from disease. Dehydration weakens the body’s overall IMMUNE SYSTEM and leads to chemical, nutritional, and pH imbalances that can cause a host of diseases.
Simple. Essential. Significant.
PORTION CONTROL FOR FASTER ROLL
Sometimes I think that the food eats us and not the opposite. Sometimes I think that we eat for the sake of pleasure and not for satisfaction. Sometimes the eating may be a nervous impulse you cannot stop. If you are not going to control your portion consumption, it will lead to low energy, possible health problems, and eventual weight gain. Even a healthy food overeating can cause the body difficulties.
- It is hard for your digestive system to function properly if you eat a lot of food in one sitting.
- The more you eat the more glucose your body produces. It may cause a serious imbalance in your blood sugar level.
- Consuming more calories than your body needs leads to weight gain. Your body stores excessive calories as fat. Fat cells can increase in both size and numbers. Fat cell numbers cannot be decreased but they can shrink with the right nutrition and exercise program.
What you eat is important but it is no less important how much you eat it.
OMG! My relationships with sugar used to be very special. Initially I just loved it but later I became its captive. Thirty five days of raw vegan eating reprogrammed my taste buds and it is under control now. I will share a little bit of science on body and sugar interaction. Sugar due to its powerful effect on the reward centers of the brain, function similarly to drugs of abuse like cocaine and nicotine. When we eat foods that contain a lot of sugar, a massive amount of dopamine is released. When we eat these foods often and in large amounts, the dopamine receptors start to down-regulate. Now there are fewer receptors for the dopamine. This means that the next time we eat these foods, their effect is blunted. We will need more sugar next time we eat in order to get the same level of reward. The exact same brain centers are at play. People who have a certain predisposition to addiction become addicted to these foods and lose control over their consumption.
- causes blood glucose to spike and plummet.
- increases the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
- interferes with immune function.
- accelerates aging.
- causes tooth decay.
- can cause gum disease, which can lead to heart disease.
- affects behavior and cognition in children.
- increases stress.
- takes the place of important nutrients.
- a high-sugar diet often results in chromium deficiency.
So, it does not sound as sweet as it tastes, does it?
It’s better to monitor your sugar intake!
PROCESSED FOOD FAKE MOOD
Processed food is everywhere seducing us with its appealing smell, pleasurable texture, and needful convenience. Processed food is chemically processed and made solely from refined ingredients and artificial substances. For the majority of people, it is very hard to say NO to some food such as breakfast cereals, cheese, canned vegetables, bread, chips, pies and pastries, bacon, sausage, ham, salami, microwave meals, milk or soft drinks.
No doubt that proceeds food is convenient and tasty but yet it is low in nutrients as well as fibers, often high in trans fat, refined carbohydrates and high in sugar. It is engineered for over-consumption and contains artificial ingredients. Processed food has been implicated as a factor in diabetes, cancer, heart disease, also weight gain, and low energy. It sounds scary even though it tastes damn good. But I would highly recommend decreasing consumption of processed food and encouraging finding a healthy option.
LATE EATING- CALORIES MEETING
For me, this is my number two weight control factor. Number one is portion control. No eating after 7pm, or after 6pm, is the best way to give your digestive system a resting time from keeping your fat storage busy. You might ask, “How about late evening social life, or daily family dinner, or those busy bees who have no time to eat during the day. How can they satisfy their late evening hunger call?
Personally, I totally understand but Mother Nature does not care about that. Our organs were coded to use daytime for nourishment and nighttime for fasting. With increased darkness our body releases melatonin ( sleep hormone) preparing our hardworking body and stressed mind for a sleep recovery time. All processes in the body slow down. Digestive enzymes go on an inhibit mode and whatever your eat later in the evening more likely goes into fat storage places. You know YOUR fat party spots. It is useful to know that the hormone ghrelin, which controls how hungry you feel, uses the naturally occurring fast that happens from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. the next day to reset itself. If you don’t give your body enough time to fast, then that biological pathway can’t occur. It is crucial to nourish and satiate your body during the daytime, to have tasty and healthy meals for your breakfast, lunch and early dinner in order not to have cravings at night.
If I sleep less than seven and a half hours my mind and my body go crazy. The less I sleep the more frustrated I am. If it occurs very often, my scale starts showing some undesired and sad pounds. Generally speaking, sleep deprivation upsets your hormones. The body goes into survival mode. That causes the rising of the stress hormone cortisol, which increases your appetite. As the level of cortisol goes over its norm the body produces serotonin to calm it down. Do you know where this neurotransmitter is primarily located?
The answer is in the gastrointestinal tract. Unfortunately, high-fat and high-sugar foods are the easiest solution to make your mind and body happy and calm. The hunger hormone ghrelin is overactive and the satiety hormone leptin is underactive. Because of survival mode, the metabolism slows down and at the same time, the body demands more fuel. Imagine the hormonal war your body undergoes.
In short, sleep is your body’s best friend.
If you have reached this section, WOW!
There are many more factors that might be useful. I only listed my top nutritional insights. Additionally, I would like to say, that when you are stressed, depressed, and tired, it is extremely difficult to make the right decision about your eating choices. The impulses take over sane food planning and food insanity takes the reins. Before you embark on your body transformation journey, make sure you can deal with stress, depression and exhaustion in order to be able to control your choices and manage setbacks.
Also, don’t go nuts go plants.
Eat fresh vegetables, fruits, berries, greens, seeds.
Go local! Go seasonal! Go fresh!