Essential 6: Eat Real Food

Now let’s discuss the other side of that coin we mentioned – the Physical side.  Fresh Strawberries

For much of my life, I had gotten used to eating the SAD diet (Standard American Diet), full of processed flours, sugars, hydrogenated oils, and artificial sweeteners and preservatives.  Eventually, I began to feel the physical effects of eating this way.  After the birth of our second son, I just could not lose the baby weight or seem to bounce back, even at 6 months post partum.  I remember one day driving in the car, with the boys in the back seat, feeling very tired and just wanting to go home and get a nap.  I was driving straight through a busy intersection, about to drive under the traffic light, when I noticed another car turning left in front of me.  I laid on my horn, angry that the other driver could be so careless, when I heard several other horns start honking too.  I quickly realized they were honking at me, because I was the one who was running a red light!  Thankfully, the Lord protected us and the other drivers, but I quickly realized I needed to get help.  Soon after, I scheduled an appointment with a Naturopathic doctor in our city, and my healing journey began.  I discovered that I was severely deficient in Vitamin D, had very low cortisol levels, and had a gluten allergy.  One of those would have been bad enough, but the combination of the three had been making me simply exhausted.  My doctor equipped me with the knowledge and the tools I needed to clean up my diet, get the gluten out, and begin a healing supplement plan.  It was truly a life-changing visit for me!  I began reading and studying as much as I could about holistic and natural health, and I eventually received my certification as a holistic, nutritional consultant.

It has been fascinating to learn about how God created our bodies and just how intricate and complex they are!  

God refers to our bodies as  “temples of the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 6:19), so it makes sense that He wants us to take care of them.  If our physical bodies are the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, we need to care for them and seek to live as healthy a life as possible.  As a holistic nutritionist, I believe the foundation for physical health comes from what we eat.  Today, there is no shortage of diets, cookbooks, and particular eating plans that claim they have the answer for what you should be eating or not eating.  With the vast amount of information out there, it can become very confusing and frustrating.  Here at The Healthy Happy Woman, I believe balance is the key.  I advocate eating real food – fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, organic meats, cold water fish, and healthy sweets.  I believe a combination of the healthy diets that advocate eating this way is key (Paleo, gluten-free, raw, vegan, low-glycemic).  My favorite term that describes this kind of healthy eating is clean eating.  On what do these diets all agree?  They stay away from unhealthy, packaged foods, hydrogenated fats, MSG, artificial sweeteners and preservatives, processed sugar, processed white or wheat flours, and genetically modified ingredients (all the junk I had been eating!).  Yes, we just threw out half of the grocery store!  But what’s left is a world of healthy possibilities and fresh foods and flavors waiting to be discovered.

As you begin eating healthy, real food, your taste buds will change and you will actually begin craving the good and healthy stuff!  Begin with small changes.  For instance, if you’re used to eating a doughnut or pop-tart for breakfast, give your breakfast a HHM (Healthy Happy Makeover)!  Try a green smoothie instead or whip up some gluten-free oatmeal topped with coconut oil, cinnamon, and a sprinkle of coconut palm sugar.  Sounds delish, right?  Don’t think of this as dieting or deprivation (remember Essential #5?!) Think of it as giving your food a makeover.  From here on out, we’ll refer to these improved food choices as HHM (Healthy Happy Makeover) foods. As you improve the food you eat, you will notice that you will start to feel better and look better.  Our bodies are so amazingly designed by God, and He created them to let us know when things aren’t right.  If you’re tired, achy, bloated, and rarely feel energetic and healthy, that’s your body’s way of telling you that things aren’t right inside.  God also designed our bodies with amazing capabilities of healing themselves when given the right tools (namely our food!).  Once you focus on eating real food, you’ll be ready for Essential 7.

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