“The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine
or the slowest form of poison.”

Ann Wigmore

You’ve heard the expression, ‘you are what you eat’! Well, although you may not actually be a huge sausage roll or giant banana smoothie, it is certainly true that the food we consume is broken down inside our body to form the building blocks which make up our new and regenerating cells. So, of course, what we eat really does have a significant impact on who and what we are! In addition to the kind of food, how much we eat, when we eat it – and even how we feel as we eat it can have a huge impact on the effects of our diet on our health and wellbeing. ‘Nutrition’ is a huge area of potential experience (indeed, one a whole industry is now built on!) and so it’s a really important piece of the Optimum Health Jigsaw.

However, where do you start? If you start to explore theories and recommendations for diet and nutrition, you can easily find a wealth of information and advice. However, without searching too far, you will readily come across often contradictory recommendations. For example, if one followed all the advice about which foods one should avoid, for one reason or another, dietary options would soon become incredibly limited! In today’s complex world, full of so many people keen to share their personal experiences and opinions about health and diet that ‘everyone should follow’, it’s easy to forget that we are all unique individuals, with unique genetic make ups, bodily experiences and needs.

So how do you go about finding the ‘optimal’ nutritional practices for your own body? One way is to explore the myriad of dietary offerings available online or in books or workshops that catches your eye and hope for the best… Another way is to pay close attention to the issues your body is currently experiencing, or what you want to change, then focus on what you currently consume in the way of food and drink, particularly noticing any acute (i.e. immediate) effects or impact different foods have on you, read up about your particular health requirements in terms of what the body specifically needs (and doesn’t need!) and then put together a personalised dietary plan that meets those needs as well as affording you enjoyment of your meals! This can either be done by yourself, or in conjunction with a professional nutritionist.

Be aware that sometimes the draw of ‘short term gain’ (e.g. for weight loss aims) can actually result in potential ‘long term pain’ if some of the so-called ‘fad diets’ are followed. If you recognise that your nutritional intake could improve, it’s important to acknowledge that it will be long term, lifestyle changes in it that will bring about the significant and sustainable health changes you’re seeking.

Some Questions:

  • Do you have particular ‘energy crash’ times during the day?

  • Is Sleep an issue for you?

  • Do you rely on certain foods or drinks to ‘keep you going’ during the day?

  • Are you suffering from fatigue or excessive tiredness that affects you on a regular basis?

  • Do you have problems with your gut, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, frequent indigestion or constipation?

  • Do you feel you are ‘overweight’ or ‘underweight’?

If your answer to any of the above questions is 'yes', it's highly likely that examining your diet and optimising your nutrition in relation to your unique needs and unique situation could make a significant difference to your health and wellbeing!

From my personal experience (having tried numerous ‘diets’ and nutritional implementations in attempts to recover and then maintain my health), in addition to all the learning I have done in this area over the past ~10 years (we had a 2 hour ‘Nutrition seminar’ at medical School, I don’t remember receiving any more training than that at that point in my life…) I have come to the conclusion that there really is no ‘one size fits all,’ ‘perfect’ diet or nutritional programme for Optimal Health. What I have learnt, is that there is a general formula for finding the right or best way of eating and drinking for YOU – and also that this may change during different stages in your life and in your health. The four steps to working towards YOUR Optimal Nutritional Intake can be broken down as follows:
1) Minimise or avoid intake of foodstuffs and drinks that will cause damage to the body or prevent it functioning optimally.
2) Maximise intake of nutrients which the body can easily access and utilise for optimal functioning.
3) Supplement any nutrients that are insufficient in your diet for your body’s individual optimal health needs.
4) Create your personalised nutritional plan (i.e. meals and snacks) according to the above as well as your personal preferences and tastes – it’s important to enjoy what you’re eating as much as is possible!

I know these are very much the ‘headline’ steps – if you’d like more detail, consider subscribing to our NUTRITION Optimum Health Jigsaw Piece, which provides you with a more in-depth guide to formulating your own unique diet and nutritional intake, plus monthly delivery of some of the best quality supplements necessary and useful for nearly everyone in a state of chronic fatigue (Magnesium, Probiotics and Vitamin C). Click here to find out more!

Other ways to work on your NUTRITION Jigsaw Piece and ensure optimisation of the nutrients reaching and being used by your cells for life reactions:

  • Conscious Eating: Become conscious of everything you are putting into your body, eat with attention and regularly assess your portion sizes – are you eating ‘enough’? ‘Too much’? It can be really helpful to work with a knowledgeable practitioner in this area, though often your intuition (untainted by favourite foods or ’emotional eating’) will be a good guide!

  • Go Natural: Aim to minimise the processed food in your diet and look to eat as ‘natural’ foods as possible. When you pick up a food to eat it, consider how many processing steps it has taken to get into that state, compared to its original components growing out in the sun somewhere… (that works for meat products as well as plant-based produce). Click here to download ‘7 steps to an Optimal Health Diet – Harnessing the Sun’.

  • Eat Regularly: A healthy body should be able to go several hours without eating, without causing any symptoms (the liver adapts to how long ago we ate to ensure blood sugar levels are balanced and hormones remain stable). However, when dealing with a chronic illness, this may well not be the case. So many individuals suffer from blood sugar dysregulation and other metabolic issues – so if you’re working on recovery to full health, don’t miss meals (unless you’re practising safe intermittent fasting) and do snack when you need to (just choose your snacks carefully!) Our bodies can work much more efficiently processing smaller meals more often than a couple of huge meals a day.
    Also, if you’re undergoing any kind of detox programme, it’s important to ensure a light diet so that your resources can be focused on elimination of toxins and healing rather than digesting piles of food!

  • Try Organic: Eat organic produce wherever possible to further minimise intake of toxins and chemicals. If this is not possible due to budget constraints, see if you can purchase organic varieties of the following and buy non-organic of others: Apples, Cucumber, Celery, Tomatoes, Carrots, Spinach, Strawberries, Peaches, Nectarines and Grapes. This list was compiled by the Environmental Working Group as produce demonstrating the highest levels of pesticides and herbicides when non-organic.

  • Personalise It: Finally – and perhaps most importantly, avoid foods that seem to affect YOU badly. This does not necessarily mean you should avoid any food you don’t enjoy the taste of (sometimes we need to retrain our tastebuds if we’ve had a time of high-sugar or high-salt flavourings etc), it means that if you truly tune in to your body and notice how you feel for the few hours (or even days) after consuming certain foods, you can then make a conscious choice about whether to continue including those foods in your diet.

“If you’d like to discuss which aspect of the Optimum Health Jigsaw should be your priority, or which implementation(s) would be most appropriate for you personally, please contact me via our contact form or on 01743-718-324 or email here. I look forward to working with you!”