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.