When was the last time you sat down happily and relaxed to eat your simple but delicious home-cooked meal? Do you plan time in your schedule for cooking, eating and sharing your meals?
If you do, you are more likely to be healthy, stay in good health and maintain a healthy weight. Because it is finally official: the healthiest diet plan is less about which of the different food groups you consume and more about how you buy, prepare and eat your food.
The saying “You are what you eat” can be revised into “You are HOW you eat”.
Healthy Eating is Simpler Than You Think
Healthy eating can be summarized as follows: Eat more slowly and with attention, buy fresh foods and cook your dishes from these fresh ingredients. It makes common sense that this way of eating would be healthier and now the science is confirming it.
In fact, stress has a detrimental effect on how the body digests and absorbs foods, and even the healthiest ingredients can become toxic as they are transformed into free radicals when stress is present. On top of the stress on eating, numerous studies have shown that eating on the run, or eating when your attention is on a computer screen or other task you are trying to accomplish, makes it almost impossible for the body to know it has eaten and to give signals when enough food has been consumed.
Food Pyramids are No Longer the Benchmark for Healthy Eating
Brazil is the first country to let go entirely of a food pyramid and recommendations for portions of each food group. Instead their recommendations focus on all the traditional foods of the Brazilian diet. They recommend buying these foods fresh and in places where there are little or no ready-to-consume products, to take time to cook and make freshly prepared dishes as the basis of your diet, to limit the consumption of ready-to-consume products, eliminate the ultra-processed ones, to moderate the use of oils, fats, sugars and salt and to eat regular meals, in appropriate environments, while paying attention, and in company whenever possible. [see below].
In Canada, the University of Ottawa Heart Institute published their 10 Tips for Healthy Eating which also focused more on behaviour than on the number of portions of the food groups. It was interesting and re-affirming to me to see how similar these guidelines are to the ones I have been providing to my students and clients as a nutrition teacher and naturopath/homeopath for the past 15 years.
10 Healthy Eating Guidelines
1. Prepare meals from staple and fresh foods.
2. Use oils, fats, sugar and salt in moderation.
3. Limit consumption of ready-to-consume food and drink products.
4. Eat regular meals, paying attention, and in appropriate environments.
5. Eat in company whenever possible.
6. Buy food at places that offer varieties of fresh foods. Avoid those that mainly sell products ready for consumption.
7. Develop, practice, share and enjoy your skills in food preparation and cooking.
8. Plan your schedule so that meals and eating get proper time and space.
9. When you eat out, choose restaurants that serve freshly made dishes and meals. Avoid fast food chains.
10. Be critical of the commercial advertisement of food products.
Clearly, all the studies indicate that we have to change our habits. And now we have to set our intent to go back to the healthier rhythms of life of our grandparents and great-grandparents, which is not easy to do in this age of busy schedules and eating on the run.
How Homeopathy Can Help
Each of us experiences stress in our own way. Learning to identify what triggers our stress allows us to consciously and purposefully move through a trigger which leads us to the ability to act instead of react in situations we find stressful.
The homeopathic case taking process provides the most specific and individualized support for identifying triggers and our response to stress. How to Work with Our Emotions and The Lure of Addiction are two recent articles about how the homeopathic process brings to light the individual experience. The matching homeopathic core remedy then caters to supporting you specifically in making changes.
For more tools to support your transition through daily habits, read A Wholistic Approach to Your New Year’s Resolutions.
If you want to read more about how stress links to chronic disease, read more here.
Carla Marcelis, ND, DHom
Carla brings dedication, passion and expertise as mission leader to the MICH Honduras Clinic and to her role as Director and teacher at the Montreal Institute of Classical Homeopathy. Visit her webpage to learn more about her and to read all of her blog posts.