What is the BEST way to eat???
Food – glorious food! We need it, we want it, we like it, we cannot live without it.
But…it can be confusing.
Keto – Paleo – Carnivore – Vegan – Vegetarian; High protein/low protein – small meals through the day, or intermittent fasting? What about FODMAPs – oxalates – lectins?
Hunger for FOOD is the next “hunger of survival,” and it’s a big one!
Food is the fuel to keep our bodies going. But even more than that, food is INFORMATION. Kind of like the software you put into a computer. What we build is the result of what we put in.
We need to give our bodies what they need, and not give them what they don’t want.
When we eat what bothers us, our body lets us know with various responses: digestive trouble like bloating, diarrhea, constipation, cramping, etc.
Body aches and pains, stubborn weight gain, disturbed sleep, headaches, brain fog, anger, depression and anxiety can also be signs that our food choices are off. And then, there can less visible symptoms: chronic disease like eczema, arthritis, heart disease…even cancer. The response to bad food choices usually starts out immediate and acute as our body first creates inflammation in its fight to protect us from it, and then gets bigger and deeper if we keep giving it what it doesn’t want or need. Our body wants to create health, not disease. So again…what should we eat??? There are certain times in life that require special food choices that we wouldn’t want to sustain forever, like fasting to turn around an acute pain or illness. Or restricting certain food groups or quantities for a short period in order to lose fat. Those “seasons” are individual and therefore beyond blanket statements about what is “good,” since they will change.
But for everyone, and all time, here is the single most important overarching guideline: eat in coherence with nature.What that means is recognize that we ARE nature, therefore we need to eat food as close to its natural state as possible. This is how we create harmony and peace in the cells of our body. This is how we give our body what it craves and needs. If it comes in a package, if it has a list of ingredients, if it was produced in a factory…it is not natural. Even if you bought it on the “natural foods” aisle of the grocery store! Packaged food is at least several steps removed from its natural state, and therefore should not comprise the basis of your diet.
Here are some basic guidelines I give my clients:
- First and most importantly, ALWAYS recognize the power of food; it is energy. It gives us life. In return, we must give it respect and gratitude. That is the starting point.
- Shop the perimeter of your market. That is generally where you will find fresh whole fruits and vegetables, and fresh meats.
- Eat color, a diverse array: processed foods are typically – overwhelmingly – brown and white.
- Eat organic. Chemical farming produces food that lacks important nutrients and contains hazardous substances that make it both not enough and too much for our bodies to use for health.
- Eat 50 different kinds of plants every month: herbs, vegetables, fruits, etc. Your microbiome (all the good bacteria that keeps you healthy and strong) desperately wants that diversity!
- Meats – including eggs – should be raised on organic pastures: grass-fed, grass-finished. Wild-caught is optimal.
- Alcohol should be consumed sparingly, and wines should be as clean of sulfites and chemicals as possible.
- Build your meals based on this overall ratio: 50% low-starch vegetables (especially various greens), 25% protein, 25% fats and fruit. You may not hit it every time but aim at it and you will reach a balance that serves you best.
- Eat in a state of peace. You cannot digest your food correctly if you are in a state of stress. Sit down, turn off your devices, take a few deep breaths, give thanks, and only then begin to eat.
- Chew thoroughly – before swallowing, your food should be chewed to the consistency of toothpaste.
- Intermittent fasting can be a fantastic tool for healing and digestion. Many people thrive on a 16:8 schedule of eating, meaning abstain from food for 16 hours and eat your meals within the remaining 8 hours. Others do well on a 12:12 schedule. Find what works for you, but do not snack continuously throughout your day – it takes 40% of your overall energy to digest food. If you are constantly chomping, your body cannot use that energy for other functions, like healing!
- Stop eating 2-3 hours before bedtime. Sleep is for healing, not digestion!
- Begin your days with fresh clean water, some sunlight, fresh air and movement, and only after that, food or caffeine.
Pay attention! If you are overweight, fatigued, in pain, insomniac, lack clear thinking and/or emotions, your body is talking to you! You are out of balance. But harmony and coherence are indeed possible. Food is a great place to begin to listen.Your partner in health, Dr. Wade Binley
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