We live in an incredible world of abundance. Literally, a world we can eat!
We are born with our bodies knowing what to do. They actually have a plan for us to be successful and flourish. They want us to eat great food, breath fresh air and drink fresh water. And, replenish our energy with a restful nights sleep. They do not want us to be overweight and develop diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer and all of the health problems that can stem from being overweight. It used to be that there were only natural foods so looking for something sweet was pretty straightforward. Sweet came in the form of fruit, when it was in season. Processed foods did not exist unless we processed them by hand, and really, how much processing could you do with a mortar and pestle. There are no pictures of baked goods on the caveman’s walls. So, one of the easiest things to do is simply get back to a non-processed whole foods diet.
I don’t think the cavemen had treadmills either. They got plenty of exercise by going about their daily lives. It’s not all about eating less and exercising more. It is about eating smart and naturally, exercising appropriately and making sure that the entire system is working efficiently and smoothly.
The body is an amazing thing. It takes food and extracts the cornucopia of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals and nutrients that keep us healthy. In fact, there are so many nutrients in food that we still have not figured out what they all are. We do know that they work in conjunction with each other so that it is much more beneficial to eat your vitamins in the form of whole foods rather than take them as supplements. All of these nutrients are actually most abundant in many of the foods that have the least calories as well, particularly vegetables and fruits. These nutrients act as anti-oxidants and also help the metabolic machinery of the body do its work. And when that metabolic machinery does work it burns energy and calories.
So, the key to weight loss is to give our bodies what they want and need, and to make sure the metabolic machinery is working well. There are many other things that can affect this process, such as thyroid problems, medications or even genomic predisposition for how efficiently different enzymes in the system work. Sometimes specific supplements or medications, thyroid medications for instance, can help .
Sometimes a nutritious food is poorly tolerated by an individual because of food allergy or sensitivity. The most common culprits are wheat, dairy, soy, corn and peanuts. Up to 1 in 130 people in the US have intestinal damage from allergy to gluten, the protein found in wheat, rye and barley. Up to 1 in 3 have some sensitivity to gluten. Gluten allergy seems to be a combination of genetic predisposition and triggers that we haven’t identified yet. In any case, food sensitivities of any sort can have a wide variety of symptoms ranging from psoriasis to neurologic symptoms or intestinal symptoms.
Regardless of which aspect of nutrition we might look at, whether it is vegetarian or includes meat, is for weight loss or high blood pressure, or for allergy or irritable bowel, a healthy diet starts with a whole foods diet. We can choose to wait and then be reactive when problems show up, or we can choose to embrace everything we are meant to have, by giving our bodies what they want and need all along. The first step to a better life is to decide.