You are what you eat! Did you know that you have the unique ability to actually influence – in a big way – whether your body is full of energy and vitality or whether it’s sick, lethargic and headed for a trainwreck? Much of it depends on what you eat.
How does that work? Stick with me here while I give a quickie biology refresher. Your body is made up of trillions of cells? TRILLIONS!! Every single part of your body, from the hair at the top of your head to the tip of your pretty little toenail, consists of cells. That means every organ, every blood vessel, every tendon, ligament and bone. EVERYTHING! And every single cell is affected by and affects every other cell in some way, however indirect. Every day, millions of those cells perish. But fear not, because every day millions of NEW ones are created to replace those that hit the graveyard.
Here’s where it gets exciting! Get this…We can determine how healthy those new cells are going to be! And that, my friend, is how you influence your health! Depending on what and how we eat, our food choices determine the QUALITY of those new cells! That means that every day you have an opportunity to create brand spanking new cells that can be even better than the ones before! (Or to create low quality, poorly functioning cells – but let’s focus on the positive here, okay?!)
Why does that matter? When we eat good foods, from good plants (or animals) grown in good soil (or other healthy environment), we create good, happy cells (think “smiley faces”!). These smiley faces now make up some of the trillions of cells that make up your body. So the more you eat well, the MORE smiley faces you’ll be creating – every single day! The result? An increasingly happier, healthier body! It works both ways: Every time we eat not so good foods from not so good sources (like processed, packaged stuff or commercially grown foods containing a lot of hormones or pesticides) we are creating unhappy cells (sad faces). And…..the more we eat like this, the unhappier the body becomes, making it more prone to sickness, disease, cancer and, well, just lots of bad stuff that we don’t want.
What to eat? I could write volumes about this (and volumes HAVE been written, which has just created more confusion!). But I’m going to boil this down into just a few key points based on Michael Pollan’s great book, Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual. I loved this book. It is simple, concise, and exactly what I would have written had I created a best-selling book on nutrition! “Food Rules” offers an informative list of practical, common sense guidelines for eating to achieve the best health possible. The premise: Eat food (that means REAL food, not processed, food-like substances); mostly plants (for all the amazing goodness they provide) and not too much (always in moderation). Today I’m giving you a few of my very favorites. Here we go…
- only foods that will eventually rot
- the rainbow – a variety of colorful fruits and veggies
- animals that have eaten and been treated well
- food from healthy soil
- High Fructose Corn Syrup (and products containing it)
- foods with some sort of sugar in the first three ingredients
- foods with more than 5 ingredients
- foods with ingredients you can’t pronounce
- “lite”, low-fat or non-fat ingredients or marketing language
- foods pretending to be something they’re not (margarine, soy meats)
- the “whites” (white flour, white sugar, white rice, white potatoes)
- shop the perimiter of the store
- use only stoneground grains and cold pressed oils
- pay more, eat less
- drink your sweets (fruit juices, coffee-flavored beverages, sweetened waters)
- get your fuel from the same place as your car
And finally some parting words of wisdom (a little disclaimer here: My husband thinks this is a bit harsh. But I promise you, the next time you consider a loaf of that white, squishy bread – you know what I’m talking about – you’ll remember this!): “The whiter the bread, the sooner you’ll be dead” Apply these simple tips as often as you can and you’re on the road to a healthier, happier body and life! Here’s to living well!