04 Oct Being “Healthy” About Health
Everyone has their own idea on how to be healthy. There are so many different variables: age, culture, gender, lifestyle and values. These all create different opinions on what health means. Health is unique to the individual. But sometimes, I feel like people become a little unhealthy about being healthy. Striving to do our best, we often get caught up, losing balance. I don’t believe that counting calories, or balancing ratios of protein, fats, or carbohydrates is healthy either. It’s an unhealthy way to look at food. Food is so much more than a science, just as we are more complicated than a body. If you’re currently living a lifestyle that you aren’t going to enjoy ten years from now, maybe you should reavaluate: What does being healthy mean to you? I always hope people worry about the important stuff: cardiovascular health, digestive strength and improvement, achieving a healthy weight, longevity, improving energy, etc. Counting calories and carbs won’t deliver those results permanently. It’s not the way to live. Here are my ideas on what being healthy should be:
Real food: This is simple. It should be. I don’t care what macros have been met if all you are doing is drinking protein supplements. That isn’t real food. There is a certain power that real, whole food contains that no supplement will ever compete with: synergy. Synergy is the holistic view that whole foods work better than the sum of the parts. What I mean is, that apple you just ate doesn’t only contain fibre, phytonutrients, and vitamin C. The power of eating that real, whole fruit, is greater than a fibre supplement. The body recognizes real food, and absorbs these nutrients optimally. I really like the phrase “if you can read it, don’t eat it”. If you really want to be healthy, start having hemp seeds in smoothies for all the protein you need, and change it up with different nuts and seeds. Allergic to nuts? Eat some eggs. I don’t understand where health became this challenging math equation. Its laughable.
Variety: Often overlooked. I once heard that the average person eats only ten different kinds of foods. Isn’t that crazy! It’s true though. Write down a list of your common meals and snacks to see. I bet 90% of us will have a list under 15! Everyone likes structure. But there needs to be that annoying balance I always talk about. Changing with the seasons is always a great way to go about this. For example, Spring is a great time for “cleansing”. I say it like that because I don’t mean everyone should cleanse. That is a whole other can of worms. But it is a warmer time, meaning we should be opting for lighter foods. Nourishing, light foods include kale, beets, tomatoes, spinach and other greens, broccoli, or cauliflower. Chicken, eggs and fish are also on the lighter side. Summer should bring more fresh and/or exotic fruits and salads. Autumn is a great time for root vegetables like yams, potatoes, squash and zucchini. Winter is a great time to enjoy heavy stews, fresh breads and richer ingredients. Listen to your own body, and try to change it up!
Comfort foods: I strongly believe this is important to maintain health. We all were raised on certain foods that bring us nostalgic joy. It’s crucial to not forget about them! The meal may not be very healthy. Most of them aren’t. But on a rainy day, I could sure go for some tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. Including these meals once in a while will create an enjoyable balance. Be sensible about this.
We always have to use our head and make smart choices with nutrition. But we need to be mindful when we start becoming too structured, or lack variety and enjoyment in our food. Being aware is much different than being too rigid. Nutrition should never become a number game.