Nutrition is fundamental for having high quality physical health and cognitive functioning. As we awaken to our spiritual selves, we realize the importance of taking care of our human bodies and minds. Making sure we eat the right foods and have healthy consumption habits is important for our overall well being and happiness.
Impediments such as brain fog, lethargy and chronic disease are often times the result of an unhealthy diet. So many of our ailments and "dis-ease" can be cured simply by changing what and how we eat. We would like to share with you 5 nutrition tips you can use to become a happier and healthier you.
Many studies have shown the detrimental impact of sugar on one’s health. Some sugar won’t kill anyone, but in today’s society we consume way too much, way too often. A lot of people think a glass of orange is healthy for you, but the fact of the matter is that a glass of OJ contains WAY too much sugar. Excess consumption of sugar has been shown to raise blood glucose levels, result in weight gain, and increase one’s risk of heart disease. These are just a few of the negative effect of sugar - there are many more.
In addition to sugar, processed foods and food that contain artificial preservatives are also incredibly unhealthy. These foods can increase risk of cancer, increase blood cholesterol levels, and result in unhealthy weight gain.
Here is a short list of foods that either contain sugar or preservatives, or are processed:
A ton of the most recent research has shown the negative effects of dairy, gluten and soy on people’s health - particularly its effect on the microbiome. For those of you who aren’t aware, the microbiome is in our gut, and it contains over a trillion bacteria that constitute its own ecosystem within our bodies. Our microbiome is arguably the most important aspect of our physical health, and has also shown to have a direct impact on mental health as well.
Dairy, gluten and soy tend to disrupt the microbiome, causing it to alter in unhealthy ways. Studies have even shown that people with depression have different microbiomes than people without depression. Of course, having some bread and pasta once in a while is totally ok, but it’s best to limit your intake of these foods if possible.
Some example of foods that contain dairy, gluten or soy:
Now that we’ve gone over some of the foods to avoid eating, let’s talk about some of the most important nutrients you should be consuming on a daily basis. Vegetables, healthy fats and proteins are incredibly important for providing a wide variety of different health benefits.
The micronutrients from vegetables provide your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs to have a healthy immune system, regulate its internal biomarkers, and prevent illness and disease. Healthy fats and proteins enable to body to recover properly and help regulate blood glucose, blood cholesterol and other biomarkers as well. If you want your body to be disease-free and full of energy, it is important to be eating these foods.
Some foods you should be eating:
When we sleep, our bodies should be using that time and energy to repair itself and regulate its various physiological and biological systems. If we eat late at night (within a couple hours of going to sleep) our bodies instead partition a significant amount of that time and energy towards digestion.
If we want to feel well rested in the morning and fully recovered from the previous day, we need to try to avoid eating close to the time we sleep at night. Eating late a night can actually shorten the amount of time we spend in deep sleep and REM sleep, which are important for muscle recovery, memory formation, and bio-regulation. You can read tips about how to get a good night’s sleep here.
If you haven’t already heard, intermittent fasting has been the talk of the town in recent years. Intermittent fasting has a wide array of benefits, including reduction in blood pressure, lower levels of cholesterol, and a reduction in body fat percentage; just to name a few.
The standard protocol for intermittent fasting is a 16:8 regimen, meaning that you fast for 16 hours while restricting your feeding window to 8 hours everyday. For example, if you start eating at 12pm, then you would stop eating at 8pm, and resume eating at 12pm the next day.
The actual times you start and stop don’t matter that much, although it would be ideal to make sure that time you stop eating isn’t too close to the time you go to sleep. You also don’t have to fast for 16 hours - it can be shorter (no less than 12 hours) or longer (some people do multi-day fasts!)
If you have any current health problems, make sure to consult your primary care physician before trying intermittent fasting. Overall, the time restricted feeding of intermittent fasting can provide tremendous benefits for your overall health and wellbeing.
What, when and how often you eat are all important factors to take into consideration as you move through your spiritual journey. The food we consume should be nourishing our bodies, not destroying it. Of course, it is important to indulge in the pleasures of life sometimes as well, especially on special occasions when we are celebrating with loved ones.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be a miserable experience either. There are plenty of healthy recipes you can find online that taste good too! We encourage you, if you aren’t already, to attempt to make more health conscious decisions in your life - especially with regards to what you choose to consume. You will find that as you consume more healthy foods, while getting rid of the bad ones, you will be filled with much more energy. This energy will allow you to engage with the world in a more wholesome way, all the while empowering you to love others even more fully. Namaste.
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