The best way to ensure you are eating a wholesome diet tailored to your nutritional needs is to adopt your own unique perspective around it. We’ve all been told to 'eat better', to 'view food as fuel for the body’, and to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables. And I can definitely vouch for the many, many times I’ve heard the advice of ‘eat less’, 'include a rainbow of colours on your plate’ or 'curb sugar cravings by switching to more natural treats'.
How boring and uninteresting! No wonder we have trouble maintaining health through our diet: without the proper motivation, this road regularly fails to even reach its destination. So let’s review these popular words of wisdom and tweak the way we look at them to ensure a better choice of what we put in our bodies - starting with whaty ou put in your daily lunch-box.
"Food as fuel"
When you think of food as energy rather than fuel, you add a new dimension to the quality of that food. And following this, your own energy that you bring to the food can enhance its enjoyment. Check in with yourself before having that bag of chips. Ask yourself: Do I feel good and after eating this? Will it make me feel positive about myself? If your answer is no, this doesn’t mean that you won’t ever eat a bag of chips again: you could have a small portion or share the bag with a friend. The point is, if you do eat them, you’ll enjoy them more, eat less, and get more out of your experience.
"More fruit and veg"
Instead of only focusing on fresh fruit and vegetables, cast your eyes further to include all fresh food. Everything you eat should be fresh! Food left in the fridge for a long time can lose their nutrients and will lack the value of why you purchased them to begin with. Your food should be preservative free, fresh and consumed as soon as possible. If you cant buy it from a farmers market- in season- it may be worth re considering.
Eating less can feel negative and punishing, and may impact on how you see yourself. Instead, think effortless and light, and let that feeling lead you to choosing lighter, more effortless foods, such as stir-fried rather than deep-fried vegetables, spring water with lemon or cucumber instead of sodas. Check labels: you want real ingredients, and short ingredients lists. And only eat the amount that will make you feel energised and light, not so much that you feel stuffed and sluggish.
"Eat a rainbow"
How come, after a theoretically wholesome dinner, you find yourself craving something sweet, which leads to raiding your fridge? To avoiding this, including a rainbow of colours on your plate is not enough. What will do the trick, however, is if you include all tastes - sweet, sour, salty and bitter - on your plate; you will feel much more fulfilled and content.
"Switch your cravings"
Keep in mind, a craving is something that is there for you to give in to! Cravings signify your body is need of self-care. A Ferrero chocolate may be the only thing that will make you happy right now - but honouring a craving is also true if you eat a banana, go for a walk, re-read a favourite quote, or speak to a special person; the list is endless. It may not be as obvious as having a hit of sugar, because it’s not always about food: it’s about tuning in and listening. Don’t resist those delicate desires, they are calls to maintain your wholesome balance.
So what should we eat? A wide range of nutrients, combining protein and plant-based foods, fruit, nuts and fortified foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and yoghurt. You will feel more energised, less bloated, less stressed and anxious, with better digestion, and of course with a positive outlook - there is nothing stopping you!
Anastasia Panourakis is a naturopath at Melbourne Natural Wellness Clinic of the Year - www.mnwc.com.au. Anastasia holds a B Health Science (Naturopathy). She believes: 1. Speak your truth and anything is achievable; 2. Love yourself and everyone around you; and 3. Show compassion for everyone - life is too precious to focus on a negative perspective. Anastasia says, "My commitment to you is that you will walk back into life with the right tools to overcome all of your fears, so that you can get back to living a life of love and integrity. The only way you can achieve what you want out of life is if you allow your true inner being the recognition it deserves. I vow that you can reinstate health from every avenue and will promote the best possible version of yourself from here on in."