Not only is the month of March Colorectal Cancer Awareness month, but also a month to focus on nutrition! National Nutrition Month, created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is celebrated every year in March. The goal is to create awareness for healthy eating and ensure consumers are educated to be able to make mindful choices about the food they eat. Chronic illnesses are on the rise, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc. many of which are linked to poor diet. You often hear the phrase “food is medicine,” and it sure can be! Food can be healing as well as harmful when it comes to our health. A diet full of excessive sugar, saturated fats, and lack of fruits/ vegetable consumption, is often detrimental to your health versus a diet rich with fruits/ vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats.
Take a second and think about your diet, on an average day, what does it consist of?
· Is your diet colorful? (variety of fruits and vegetables?)
· Do you consume whole grains?
· How often do you have fish?
· Do you frequently eat out?
· Are you a big sweets/ dessert person?
· Do you consume a lot of greasy fried food?
· How much water do you drink?
When you take a step back and look at your diet, how does it look? Do you eat healthy the majority of the time, or do you need to clean up your diet a bit? Next, let’s talk about a few important considerations when it comes to adopting a healthy lifestyle.
Mindfulness- the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
Being mindful of what you put in your body, when, and how much, is important for a healthy lifestyle. Do you often think about the foods you eat or do you just grab what is quickest and most convenient? Do you consider the nutrition value of what you eat before you eat it? Do you stop when you’re full or eat until your plate is empty? Starting today- practice being mindful. Consider what you put in your body, will it benefit your health or be destructive? Eat slowly. Listen to your body. Stop when you’re full!
Intuitive eating- Eat till full
Intuitive eating is a mind- body health approach. Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. Have you ever just eaten because food is in front of you and looks tempting? Of course, we all have! You’re at a party and there’s a huge spread of delicious foods, you’re not truly starving, but you eat like you are. We need to stop this, stop the overeating, stop eating when we aren’t hungry, and start listening to what our body needs. Trust your body!
Eat to nourish
Nourishing your body is huge, food is fuel! You want your body to run like a well-oiled machine. Eat plenty of whole grains, lean meats, nuts/ seeds, fruits, and vegetables. Eliminate and only eat processed, fried, sugary foods, in moderation. Eating balanced meals every day will give you energy, reduce your risk for disease, slow the aging process, and help you to maintain a healthy weight.
People tend to choose drastic diets to follow and get frustrated when they don’t succeed. It’s so important that you choose a healthy lifestyle, not a DIET. A “diet” seems short term, something you only follow until you lose the weight you want, or fit back into the jeans you once did. What happens after you stop your ‘diet’? Unless you work to maintain it, the weight comes back and the frustration returns! Create a healthy lifestyle for yourself that isn’t miserable, one that you can maintain, and one that ultimately keeps you healthy.
Creating a sustainable lifestyle means- always being mindful. Conscious decisions of what you put in your body, understanding that you don’t need to restrict foods. Everything in moderation is okay. Get moving every day and get plenty of physical activity in each week. Once you get in a routine of making health conscious choices and being active, it’ll become second nature and easier to stick to.
It’s all about balance- a balance between a healthy, nourishing lifestyle and still enjoying life and the sweet treats that come with it!