Knowing what foods to eat and what foods to avoid has become such a confusing topic. We all want to feel and look our best, but sometimes understanding what foods work best for our bodies can be a real challenge. There is constantly conflicting information out there telling us about a new diet that will have us feeling better then ever! Ketogenic, paleo, vegan, Mediterranean, vegetarian, flexitarian and on and on. Not to mention the fact that sometimes we just don’t feel like meal prepping, eating veggies or making such a big fuss over food, three or more damn times a day!
I wish I could tell you that I had the perfect answer for you in this post, and I would attach a meal plan that would work for everyone, all the time, and we would be done here. The truth is though, we’re all so different and each of us has different biochemical needs. The Paleo diet might make me feel my best, but you might feel way better eating vegetarian or “flexitarian.” Also keep in mind that our bodies change over time, and eating vegetarian through your 20’s might have worked wonderfully for you, but now that you’re older and have kids, you may need to look at adding small amounts of animal protein back into your diet. Whatever the case might be for you, there are so many different ways we can choose to eat, and no two people will have the exact same needs.
So how do you go about figuring out which foods are best for you? A good starting point is to figure out which of your bodies systems are most out of balance, and get a plan designed specifically for you and your health goals. If you’re currently feeling stuck eating the same things, or if you’re eating a Standard North American Diet – highly processed and sugary foods, with a few veggies here and there – you might want to consider investing some time into your health through some nutrition consultations. There are so many things we can explore together, and I can help you create a plan that is perfect for you! If any of these statements sound like you, it might be time to make a few changes.
1) You’re constantly feeling tired, you crave sugar, bread and alcohol and the scale has been creeping higher and higher.
A few times a year, it’s a good idea to take a closer look at what foods you’re actually putting into your body on a daily and weekly basis to really understand what’s causing you to feel these negative side effects. One of the things I have all my clients do before our first session write down examples of their typical meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Writing these things out can be really eye opening in helping them understand where some of their symptoms may be coming from. One of the biggest issues I see when looking through these food journals is the sugar content my clients are consuming in a typical day. Most of the time they don’t even realize how much sugar is actually in the foods they’re eating. The more sugar you eat, the more you will crave and this can cause an overgrowth of the “bad” bacteria that live in your gut. Starving out the overgrowth is an important step to take to help the body regain balance, and you’ll start to notice how those sugar cravings slowly fade. The more sugar you eat the more you will crave, but the more fruits, vegetables and whole foods you eat, the more your body will crave those foods.
2) You feel bloated most of the time, but can’t figure out which foods are making you feel this way.
This could be due to a number of reasons. One of the reasons could be a food sensitivity. Food sensitivities are common and they can cause our immune system to attack food particles that make their way into the blood stream. This causes inflammation throughout the body and can be a factor in so many health issues including fatigue, weight gain, joint pain and of course bloat! Eliminating some of the most common food allergens, and then slowly and systematically reintroducing them back into the diet is a great way to help figure out which foods are causing the problems.
3) You know what you SHOULD be eating but wine, ice cream and pizza are just so tempting.
With food and nutrition it’s all about creating habits! I am the biggest fan of wine, pizza and ice-cream too, and I don’t think we should have to cut out all of our favourite things all of the time. Just like one healthy meal doesn’t make you healthy, one (or two) indulgences throughout the week isn’t going to throw you completely off your health game. It’s about creating boundaries for yourself, and getting yourself into healthy habits that don’t cause you to make unhealthy choices throughout the week when you’re in a pinch. I also have TONS of recipe ideas that are refined sugar free, gluten free and dairy free, but are still totally delicious and satisfying. You might even like some of these healthified versions better 😉
4) You know you’ll have better results when you have someone to hold you accountable.
Sometimes my clients have a fairly good idea of what changes they need to make in their diet and lifestyle, they just need a bit of support and someone to hold them accountable while they create habit changes. Having an accountability coach can be really effective in making long lasting changes. Have you ever committed to making a change to your health, and gave up on it a week or so in when it got tough? That’s where having someone to hold you accountable can come in really handy. If you know you have to check in with me at the end of the week on how you’re doing with limiting sugar and getting in 30 minutes of daily physical activity, you’re going to be less likely to give up mid-week.
5) You want to eat a more healthy balanced diet, but you just don’t have time for all the meal prepping and planning.
Don’t stress about needing to make crazy recipes every day of the week – we can keep it simple! You don’t have to cook elaborate meals to in order to make healthier choices, and you don’t need to make three different meals every single day. I like to pre-make smoothie bags and have them ready to go for the week in my freezer. I also like to make my super simple chia pudding recipe and have those ready to go in my fridge in the morning for a quick breakfast. Batch cooking a few meals like soups, or salads can last for several days of the week and can be great for both lunch and dinner. You can also batch cook pasta sauces and keep them in the freezer. Just thaw it out, and serve with spiralled zucchini noodles for a super quick and delicious meal.
And hey, let’s be real… sometimes you won’t be prepared at all, and you’ll stop for something quick on the way home from work (Mucho Burrito Salad bowl anyone?), and you’ll just have to let that be good enough and move on. And that’s totally ok by me!
Whatever your main reason for wanting to make changes to your health, I’d love to help you along the way. If you’re brand new to holistic nutrition, know that we can start wherever you currently are with your health. Don’t stress about making the changes all at once, and in fact, I don’t actually recommend that. We’ll take things slowly over a longer period of time to help you create lasting habits and better results. If you’re ready for better digestion, more energy, weight loss, a better sex drive, a great nights sleep and increased happiness then it might just be time to book a consult!