Something I almost never answer or give direct instructions about because ~ I believe diet is a very personal thing that is deeply interlaced with our spiritual journey.
To me a diet that allows us to thrive, is a diet that allows us to live in the questions below.
How much of what i’m intaking do I really need? vs. what am I intaking for pleasure or comfort?
Managing a healthy balance between what we actually need, and what we’re eating out of pleasure and comfort is key to knowing ourselves, and nourishing ourselves properly.
How open am I to looking honestly at the health results I’m getting from my current diet without having to hold on to the beliefs I have subscribed to?
So much of what we lack in our diets is simple old honesty. Being open to being wrong, learning, and changing, allows for honesty.
How do the products I consume affect the soil that continues to produce food, the air we all breathe, and the water we all share? Optimal food digestion and nutrition absorption is impacted by environmental factors. Food is energy in the form of fuel, the quality matters, and the connections to the foods we choose also invisibly impact our health.
My main philosophy on diet is this;
There is no one diet that is a cure all for everyone. Diet is a constant exploration of what our genetics demand through blood type, and what our ancestors survived on, as well as the needs we have from our current circumstances and lifestyles. Sex, hormonal cycles, sleep, age, health, level of activity, stress levels, etc. Everything we do or don’t do is going to affect our dietary needs. Given that there is constant change in us, our circumstances, and our environment, dietary needs are going to fluctuate.
Successful nutrition is about being in tune with oneself and adjusting accordingly. Anything short of that is not serving our best interest.
All of this will vary from person to person. Perhaps this is not the answer people who ask me about my diet where hoping for.
To me, calibrating diet is calibrating life.
Life is about learning about oneself, and for the more ambitious ones, it’s about self mastery.
For that reason no one can answer the questions to our own unique path.
Anyone claiming to have the answers is selling us something.
That being said, I have had success optimizing my life and diet following the guidelines below. All of us can get in touch with what our body needs to be fueled properly, detox, and lean up with the tips below.
Keep Stressors Down - How one metabolizes food is directly related to stress levels.
Look for all of the areas in your life that cause you stress. On a cellular level we become stressed (even when we don’t “feel” stressed) from eating the wrong foods, not getting enough quality sleep, not being fulfilled with our lives, unhealthy relationships, and environmental toxins. Addressing these things will have direct results on your metabolism and nutrient absorption.
Keep a Journal - Keeping a journal where you jot down everything you eat and how you felt, before eating, during, and after can give you huge insights.
It’s like becoming your own coach. It brings forth radical honesty that can help hold you accountable for the food choices you’re making, give you insights on when you’re eating emotionally, and show you what foods work or don’t work with your body. Proper digestion is key for a good metabolism and for the absorption of nutrients, so lets not forget that the first step of digestions starts in our mouths, chewing food throughly is imperative. That's why it's helpful to take note of how we're feeling before and during our meals, this can help us identify if we're feeling anxious or rushed. Once we're aware of any anxiety, we can make a conscious effort to slow down, or to choose to nourish ourselves with something other than food.
Eat Clean - Staying away from processed foods that have lost their life in cans, boxes or plastic packaging allows for detoxification, a faster metabolism and higher nutrition.
Even organic labeled foods are often packaged in toxic packaging. If you choose something in a canned, go for glass jars or cans labeled BPA free. Choose paper packaging, buying in bulk to replenish your own glass containers, over products that come in plastic packaging. This all means prioritizing one’s life around cooking, shopping for fresh foods, and meal planning. When buying a packaged food make it the rule of three, three or less ingredients that are an actual whole food (nut, seed, grain, fruit, vegetable etc.) Other fillers and highly processed ingredients cause inflammation and build up.
Eat Local and Seasonal - This gives us the nutrients we need to best thrive in the environment we find ourselves in.
Believe it or not, earth gives us the right nutrients, at the right time of year, for our location. Helping us ward of allergies, colds, and other illnesses that are caused by not having proper adaptation to our environments. Fresh fruits and vegetables begin to loose their nutritional vibrancy once they are picked, so local also means higher nutrition. When food is shipped from far distances there is a loss in regulations, commonly, fungicides, waxes and formaldehyde are used to preserve them on their trip across the world from a third world country.
Become Minimal - The best way to upkeep an optimal diet is to keep it simple.
Choose a handful of foods you love, can easily prepare, and can be consistent with. For me it’s mostly protein, vegetables and some fruit. I don’t have to think too much about it. It’s easy and convenient when your meals consist of a handful of ingredients or less. Staying consistent for about 21 days with only 3-4 ingredients also allows you to detox and figure out what foods you are sensitive to or don’t process well. After 21 days of eating a diet that consists of the same few ingredients you can introduce other varieties one by one, taking notice of how your body reacts as you slowly introduce new things.
Be Aware of Emotional Eating, Cravings and Sugar - It’s why the top two recommendation on this list are reducing stress, getting in touch with your life satisfaction and journaling.
Emotional eating is a sign of feeling depleted, and not taken care of in some area of our lives. It usually comes with craving empty carbs and sugary foods that completely throw us off the rails and perpetuate a cycle of eating to fulfill an emotional or spiritual need.
Get Tested - If you’re still having trouble leaning up and feeling great get tested for food allergies and for nutritional deficiencies.
Investing in high quality fresh food is one of the best investments we can make on ourselves. Our health supports our entire life, eating premium foods save us money and grief in the long run since eating optimally means we will need less, or no medications and medical treatments.
I hope these guideliness aid you in your own journey of what an optimal diet is for you. Like with anything worth in having in life, there are no shortcuts, but the results are well worth it.