When it comes to eating, everyone has a different opinion. The science seems conflicting and different ways of nourishing the body have been heralded as the ideal way we all should eat. Yet we often forget that everyone is different. Not two people are the same. Therefore, how we respond to food, what we thrive off, will also be different. I think we forget this far too often. Intuitive eating, that is, listening to your body's signals as to what it REALLY wants and not what you THINK it wants based on external influences like the latest diet trend or an article you read in the newspaper, is what is going to serve you optimally.
This is the reason why some people do so well on a vegan or vegetarian based diet, whilst others champion the realms of paleo, primal or gluten-free. The easiest way to work out what's your best option, is to experiment. Trial and error tells us what's working and what's not. Keep it simple. Eat it and see how you feel. It's not rocket science, so why should we try to make it complicated? Most of all, enjoy the experience. Food is there to nourish, but we have tastebuds for a reason!
For the past 3 years we've seen the Paleo movement take the world by storm. From cook books to online programs, community networks, conventions and online bloggers become practical paleo "celebrities". Yet is Paleo legit and is it actually healthy? In a word, yes. Paleo is not really a diet but rather, more of a lifestyle. Eating foods that our paleo ancestors consumed, or more so, as CLOSE to this lifestyle as possible in our modernised world, is always going to be better than the industrialised heavily-processed food that characterises the standard western diet. Saying goodbye to carb-ladened grains and hello to healthy fats, animal proteins, fruits, veg, nuts and seeds seems like a no brainer right?
I don't think it's that simple. In short: paleo is, in theory, great. BUT. And here's where I have a problem with Paleo....it can be extremely dogmatic. People who follow a paleo framework but don't treat it like a religion filled with dogma, name-shaming and guilt-ridding, are what I'd consider to be the people who are doing paleo correctly. They're the ones that aren't saying 'I'm paleo. I am primal. Grains are poison' or something of the like. Rather, they are the people who incorporate the wisdom of eating a mostly whole foods anti-inflammatory style of diet ,that is open to change and embraces flexibility. These people are the healthy 'paleo followers'. As soon as a diet becomes an identity, it is no longer healthy. They may say that you are what you eat, but this should not be considered too literally. When food becomes a deciding factor in one's identity and consumes the individual's life, it becomes an addiction, an obsession. It becomes orthorexia.
So in summary, I think paleo is absolutely fabulous and I think more people should embrace the ideal that a palaeolithic eating style characterises. However, approaching paleo as a restrictive way of eating, as a set of rules for how you must eat for the rest of your life, is far from healthy. It is consuming. Ask yourself whether you are consuming food or whether food is truly consuming you. You can have your cake and eat it too. Don't forget about finding that balance in your life that promotes true health and happiness.
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Elena Wewer, editor of Vegan Independent, discusses all things vegan! She shares her dos and don'ts when it comes to veganism as well as tips on getting started. Learn how to make the vegan lifestyle work for you or how you can adopt vegan practices into your daily life for health, nutrition and an ethical lifestyle.
How often do we concentrate on the health benefits of food when it comes to deciding what to eat? Low carb, high protein, sugar-free...the list goes on and on. Although I am definitely for eating a balanced diet packed with vitamins and minerals, I believe that it's important that we chill out from time to time and eat for the pure sake of pleasure. Yes, you heard me, food can be all about the taste and not about the calories. Having this approach towards food, is, in my opinion, an integral part of healthy eating. When people overly stress over food and don't allow themselves to be present with their food, to simply sit and enjoy the sensations in their mouth, they are depriving themselves of pleasure. If food was entirely meant to be about the nutrition, flavour just simply wouldn't exist. It's there for a reason, so savour it. Why do we have cravings for certain delicacies? Why do we have favourite foods and food preferences? The simple answer is this - because we're human beings and we're designed with the innate intelligence to nourish our bodes.
Nourish means enjoying.
Sure, a chicken breast and mixed green salad can be delicious and I'd lie if I said I don't enjoy eating this. Yet to say that this is all I should eat, day in and day out, without making room for some indulging and enjoying other foods, would be a disservice to all the amazing food the world has to offer.
Food brings people together. Certain tastes capture certain memories, they trigger nostalgia and enhance our experiences. Food is an integral part of life and I'd go as far as saying a component to happiness. Have you been around someone on an extreme diet? They're not the best people to be around, am I right? Actually, they're best avoided until they come off the damn thing.
For those of you who know my story, you'll be aware that my long-time battle with anorexia and orthorexia stripped me of these simple pleasures and left me a shell of a person. I know first hand how important it is not to obsess over what you eat, as this has detrimental consequences on both your physical and psychological health.
So in summary, some times it's best to just shut up, drop the nutritional talk and sink your teeth into something for the pure sake of enjoying every mouthful. Whether this may be a bowl of veggies or fresh Italian gelato, is entirely up to your tastebuds and what, at that moment in time, fills the spot.
Photography by Bruce Tuten
Casey shares how her struggles with gluten and diagnosis with Celiac Disease led her to develop a popular online blog, amazingly delicious new recipes and promote a healthy body image world wide. This is great for anyone interested in the world of Gluten Free!
Juicing is all the range right now, and for a good reason too: it’s a fantastic way to get a huge hit of nutrients in one easy to digest drink. However, are you making one of these common mistakes that could be setting you back?
1. That you’re juicing to begin with
Don't worry; I'm not going to tell you that juicing is bad for you. Far from it. However, it's not the most optimal form to drink your fruits and veggies. Instead of juicing, blend them as a smoothie.
Juicing extracts the liquids from the fruits/vegetables, and this means that a lot of the beneficial dietary fibre gets lost in the process. Fibre is especially important for slowing down the digestion of your juice. This means that it will keep your blood sugar levels levelled and keep you 'regular' in the bathroom thanks to all those soluble and insoluble plant fibres If you want a slow, steady release of energy, then go for the smoothie.
2. You're including mostly fruit
Juicing a whole heap of fruits is like inserting a drip of fructose into your arm. A little of the stuff can be good, but too much fructose, the kind of sugar that is found in fruits and less so in veggies, has now been claimed to be a contributor to gaining fat. Did you know that a glass of orange juice typically has the same amount of sugar per serve as coke?
3. Your juices aren't homemade or freshly squeezed
Buying a green juice in a bottle from the supermarket instantly implies one thing: that it's not that fresh. Once you make a juice, you should drink it pretty much straight away, or freeze it for later. The maximum number of vitamins and nutrients are present in a freshly squired juice. Time equates with nutrient deterioration.
4. You include a lot of spinach or kale
This probably will surprise you, but spinach and kale are not the best options for a juice or smoothie. Why? Put simply, it's hard for your body to extract the nutrients from raw spinach or kale. Spinach and kale are much more bio-available to your body in cooked form (steaming lightly is optimal). Spinach and kale are both great. People consider them to be a superfood, but it's not so super when you drink them in their raw form.
5. You're replacing a meal of veggies with a juice.
Eating foods in their most complete form is always optimal. A juice or smoothie can be a great way to get a nutrient boost, especially when the digestive system has been taxed or is rather week. However, the best choice will usually be to chew chew chew your food, and this comes in the form of a generous plate of vegetables. Chewing activates your digestive system and the saliva in tor mouth helps break down those plant fibers.
I am a huge fan of green juices, but more so, a nice fibrous and delicious green smoothie. Go crazy with your combinations, just keep these tips in mind the next time you fix yourself a vitamin packed drink!
Photo by: Damien Pollet
THE TOP 5 MISTAKES PEOPLE MAKE WHEN JUICING: http://www.thomasgrainger.info/blog/the-top-5-mistakes-people-make-when-juicing @gz_health #paleo #vegan #slowcarb #bulletproof
Vegan for more than 10 years, Jennifer reveals why you should consider being a vegan, including how to make small changes in your life to be more animal-friendly. We discuss whether veganism is for everyone, the 'right way' to be vegan, common mistakes/misconceptions, vegan-friendly living in the city, and much much more!
Food guilt. What is it? It's that all too familiar feeling we get when we regret eating something, or perhaps for some people, eating too much in general. So how does it come about? The answer lies in the way you approached the meal you just consumed/devoured or perhaps practically inhaled: a lack of mindful connection.
Say what? This isn't about yoga or meditation or any of that new age spiritual stuff, isn't it? It's supposed to be about food right? Think again. Before you stop reading out of frustration, disinterest or disbelief, allow me to explain.
Whether you are a chronic over eater, a closeted snacker, food restrictor, anorexic or just find yourself stressing about food, the commonality behind the root cause of this is not being present with your food when you eat it. That's right, you're not really paying attention. How do we know this to be the case? Well for starters, you wouldn't be experiencing that after guilt had you been present throughout your meal.
So what is this 'presence', this mindfulness that I speak of? To put it simply, it's to be consciously aware of the food choices that you are making, listening to your body to find out just what it needs at this time in your present situation. This is not the same thing as an impulsive craving. It's not about what you intellectually think you should eat or would enjoy the most. It's about being present, being focused and simply feeling into your own body.
Being present during a meal will ensure that, if going through patterns of restrictive dieting behaviour, that you will eat enough. Conversely, it will ensure that, should you be a classic overeater of unhealthy processes Frankenfoods, that you make wiser innate decisions from within and nourish your body with exactly the right amount of nutrition that it needs at this present moment. By adopting a present and mindful approach to the way that you eat, you won't feel guilty about the foods that you consume, because you'll know that you have given your body the right fuel to help it fulfill it's daily tasks. You won't have that aching regret for binging on the jar of cookies because you won't have binged to begin with. If you do choose to have a cookie, it will be for the right reasons at that moment. You will enjoy the experience and you will be able to stop at one, not when the jar is empty. Eating disorder sufferers will be able to trust that their body is asking for the dire energy it needs to continue to produce healthy cells in their bodies. They will eat to satisfaction not to a rigid low calorie regime.
It may sound stupid, it may appear overly simple, but the underlying reality is this: sometimes the most clear and concrete things are those that we overlook. Eat mindfully and you'll walk away smiling, not stressing, every time you swallow.
Thomas Grainger: www.thomasgrainger.info
Eating Disorder Recovery Book: www.eatingdisorderbook.info
Photography by: Daniela Brown
Presented by Thomas Grainger