“Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.”
Cooking with whole foods is an excellent ways to promote health and adapt your dietary restrictions to better support what you need. Whether you face a diet of reduced sodium, reduced fat or a need for increased fiber, these simple ideas will allow you to get creative and to explore the rainbow of food options that are available. The basic premise of many of our health challenges stems from a lack of vegetables and an excess of processed foods. The following are some general areas that you can focus on:
- Reduce the amount of processed foods in your diet – processed foods have been linked to the obesity epidemic, decreased IQs in children, cancers, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure
- Fruits & vegetables – increase your intake, use more raw vegetables, eat a wide variety and a multitude of colors
- Increase your intake of fish & seafood – especially oily fish like salmon, sardines, anchovies, trout, mackerel. These fish are great sources of Vitamins A & D and are rich sources of Omega 3 fatty acids
- If you are eating red meat, choose Grass Fed – they are a better source of antioxidants, lower in saturated fats and are higher in Omega 3 fatty acids. Meat from grass fed cows can contain 2 to 4 times more fatty acids than conventional meat
- Choose pastured chicken and eggs – eggs from pastured chicken can contain 10 times the amount of Omega 3 fatty acids over conventional
- Choose your fats wisely – avoid trans-fats/hydrogenated fats & deep-fried foods; nuts, avocados, seeds (flax, pumpkin, sesame, etc.), olive oil, coconut and the fats found in fish are all excellent sources of fat in your diet
- Choose whole grains – brown rice, quinoa, spelt, oats, wild rice, barley, emmer (farro). Check out something new and play around with ways to add it to your diet.
And the number one thing we can all do – drink more water. Water helps to remove toxins & waste from our bodies, it helps to lubricate our joints and lungs, it helps in the regulation of blood pressure, assists in regulating our metabolism. Sugary, caffeinated and alcoholic drinks all serve to dehydrate our bodies. The basic rule of thumb for how much water you need – divide your body weight by 2 – this is the number of ounces of water you should be consuming in a day. If you consume dehydrators, you must drink 1 ½ times their volume to make up for their dehydrating effects. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds – your target is 80 ounces of water per day (10 cups). If you drink 2 cups of coffee, a glass of orange juice and 1 glass of wine, you would need to increase your water intake to 128 ounces per day on top of the other liquids being consumed.