8 Key Ingredients To A Health Supportive Diet

Ingredient #1: Eat Whole Foods

  • This is the core to a healthy diet. A whole foods diet means a diet that has been minimally processed or altered from its natural state. The food is usually one ingredient.
  • For example: a potato pulled from the dirt, and a freshly picked heirloom tomato picked from the vine vs. ketchup flavour chips.

Ingredient #2: Eat a Rainbow and Switch it Up

  • A.K.A. Variety & Rotation of foods
  • This is important because you:
    • Avoid food boredom from eating the same foods over and over again! For example: instead of having eggs & toast for breakfast every morning try a green smoothie, overnight oats, granola+berries+almond milk, vegetable frittatas, sweet potato hash the possibilities are endless!
    • You provide your body with an array of nutrients, since each type of whole food offers different nutritional benefits. Go for color. Explore new foods, and excite your taste buds!  
    • You reduce the likeliness of food sensitivities. Note: sometimes the foods we crave the most, and eat daily are more likely the foods we are sensitive too.

Ingredient #3: Eat Clean Foods

And by clean I mean organic!

Ingredient #4: Eating with the Seasons and From Your Backyard

Eating with the seasons keeps in harmony and in balance with Mother Nature’s patterns and the foods that are available at different times of the year. By eating like this; you’re eating as close to the garden, field, or orchard as possible!

  • Spring:  A time to purify and cleanse. Also, a transition to a lighter diet. Cooking methods may be lightly steaming and more raw foods.
    • Food Examples: sprouts, leafy greens, fennel, radishes, asparagus, artichokes, and fresh herbs like dill and chives
  • Summer: We crave crisp, bright raw salads for a reason. The body will be supported through the hot months with cooling foods that are water-dense. As our activity levels increase we may even shed a few pounds.
    • Food examples: cucumber, celery, melons, berries, fruits, and leafy greens.
  • Fall: Big shift of energy. Harvest time! The abundance of nourishing foods helps prepare us for the colder months. Cooking methods may be roasting and more cooked foods, since more of the starchy complex carbohydrates like tubers and squashes become available. When you come in the door from a cold, fall walk, how good does a baking apple crumble with cinnamon and ginger smell?!
    • Food examples: carrots, beets, parsnips, turnips, yams, squashes, and pumpkins
  • Winter: We need more fuel to feed our furnace! They diet will be more building with heartier fattier meals. We may gain a few pounds for some extra cushion to keep us warm. It is important however to not over-eat, since we might be expending less energy as we settle indoors, recharge, and relax. Stews, soups, and slow cooker meals feed our souls.
    • Food Examples: brussel sprouts, cabbages, kale, leeks, squashes, potatoes, onions

Seasonal eating is health supportive for these reasons:

  • Food tastes better because it’s fresher! It doesn’t have to travel across the world on a boat, plane, or train too your plate
  • The food is more nutritious since it can ripen on the vine vs. being picked early and cut off from its nutrient supply (the soil and plant)
  • It’s easier on the wallet since there is an abundance of one type of food being harvested. Also, shorter travelling time means it costs less (tip: stock up on BC blueberries when they are in season, or other seasonal foods, and freeze them!)
  • You support small local farmers who can educate you on their growing methods
  • Allows for us to have a connection with the food we eat. A disconnect happens when we eat processed packaged foods and have no idea what’s in it, or where it came from.

 Ingredient #5: Mindful Eating

  • One of the most important components to a healthy diet & digestion is mindful eating!
  • Mindful eating is when we actually pay attention to the food we eat. The textures, flavours, how it smells, when we are full, and how it can either be nourishing our soul or filling an emotional void.
  • This is the opposite of shovelling food into our mouths, without much thought, as we run out the door with a bagel in hand!

Ingredient #6: Your diet supports your current health state

  • "One man's food is another man's poison"
  • The body wants to heal, we just need to give it the attention and nourishment it needs. If you have symptoms such as chronic fatigue, digestive upset, hormonal imbalances, mood swings, headaches, sleep disturbances, skin issues, etc. get to the root cause! Im here to help you.
  • A therapeutic diet isn’t forever, once your body has reached homeostasis (meaning in balance), then you can go back to a more flexible diet.
  • Be patient. Healing & wellness doesn’t just happen overnight. Also, it’s important to recognize that symptoms may get worse before they get better.

Ingredient #7: Getting back to eating your Ethnic and Cultural Foods

  • A healthy diet as stems from our genetic makeup. In other words, what our great great grandparents ate is also ingrained in our dietary roots.
  • Studies show that when indigenous cultures transition from their traditional diets to a more Americanised way of eating, they become at higher risk of western diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Visit: http://www.westonaprice.org for more information.
  • Diets have evolved for different reasons such as: location & climate, religion & beliefs, what the prominent food staples are, and food practices like using chopsticks in Asia and wining and dining in Europe.
  • For example: Alaskans enjoy a high-fat diet and eat foods such as seal blubber, which is health supportive in negative 40-degree weather. While some eastern religions believe in vegetarianism. The point here is not to be judgemental of what others are eating because its what makes them feel good.
  • Homework: Explore your heritage and make a dish that has been passed down in your family, or is a dish that steams from your dietary roots. See how this feeds your soul when you eat it.

Ingredient #8: Your Diet has “no off limit foods” or in other words is not restrictive!

  • No one diet is perfect.
  • Food is not our enemy. Love food, celebrate food, and most importantly, food should taste good.
  • Count nutrients, not calories.
  • Consider the 80/20 rule. Nourish your body 80% of the time with quality wholefoods, and leave the 20% for treats. A “treat” however doesn’t need to be on the extreme end of the scale and leave you feeling sick! Opt for healthy alternatives. Make a batch of cookies and use a wholefood sweetener instead of refined white sugar. Have a fair trade, organic dark chocolate bar instead of a milk chocolate candy bar. Or instead of treating yourself with food, treat yourself to a massage, movie night, or some other fun activity! If you’re going to have the birthday cake, love every bite of it! Stressing about it 2 days after is emotionally draining.

Congratulations! Now all you need to do is get a big bowl, and mix all these ingredients together! Whether you are a raw foodie, vegan, vegetarian, lacto-ovo vegetarian, paleo, an omnivore, or are following a therapeutic diet all these components are key to developing a long term, healthy diet that is personalized to you. Just remember, eat foods Mother Nature has provided us with, focus on quality, and get in your own kitchen.

 Be kind to your body and it will be kind back. 

Here's to being your most vibrant you, 

Lauren