If you google the word “nutrition” you will get over 514 000 000 hits… That is over half a billion! The Wikipedia definition of nutrition is: Nutrition is the science that interprets the interaction of nutrients and other substances in food in relation to maintenance, growth, reproduction, health and disease of an organism. It includes food intake, absorption, assimilation, biosynthesis, catabolism and excretion.
Fact is we all need food daily. Making choices around food every single day… whether for health, social or even emotional reasons …. WE NEED TO EAT. Eating can be much of a blessing but it can also be a curse. What we choose to eat or drink can either do us harm or good. Healthy eating is a daily conscience decision to choose what is good for us and best moderate or avoid what we know may be harmful.
To be able to know what is good for you, one must be able to understand the basics of nutrition and know how your body works with it (or against it).
Understand the 5 basics of Nutrition here:
1. There is no one size fits all approach
All of us have our own relationship and connection with food. Your diet can be uniquely healthy and fitting for you. There is no one size fits all approach when it comes to good, healthy nutrition. Cultural, habitual, current health status and even genetics require alteration of your food intake… Just think of the perfect dress or the perfect suite tailored to fit your body and shape perfectly. You would rather choose the perfect fit.
2. Dump the word “diet”
Eliminate the word “diet” from your vocabulary…
The way you eat should become your lifestyle. I know this is a loaded statement… and probably the single worst reason why “diets” fail.
Let’s look at it this way: Compare a diet that you would follow with and action like getting onto a train that is going to an unknown destination (would you get onto a train you don’t even know where it’s going?) And when they cheat (cheat: eating something “wrong or not listed on the diet” aka FAILING; this ghost train comes to an abrupt halt throwing you off, making you feel even worse than first the time you got onto it.
The process is a journey that becomes your lifestyle and can be seen in two segments: 1) Establish “good” new habits and 2) Drop old “bad” habits. It can start with just dropping the bad ones. One by one. And daily focus on that one thing you need to do or not do to get you closer to a better lifestyle for you. Focus on the process not the outcome… the outcome will take care of itself, if your process is right.
3. Your body is a machine
Understand your body. Know your HEALTH! Go for regular check-ups, have yourself tested!!! Know your numbers. Know your body’s strengths and limitations. Write them down. Ask questions, learn about your body. Your body is an amazing vessel made to digest, absorb, transport and excrete whatever you give it.
Made up of millions of tiny engines aka body cells, your body uses whatever fuel you give it. Listen to your body. It will tell you if its receiving goodness or not.
4. Food has meaning
Understand food, food groups, calories, carbohydrates, proteins, fat, vitamins and minerals. Okay okay this is where it can get tense. As dietitians, we are trained to adjust these for you, for that perfect fit. But it is important to understand the following basics:
a) Not all calories are equal, but food does provide us with it. We measure the energy that food gives us in calories. Like we would measure the distance in meters or the weight in grams. Carbs and protein each gives us about 4 calories per gram, fat provides us with 9 calories per gram, oooh and alcohol although not a nutrient provides 7 calories per gram.
b) Carbs, proteins and fat is known as macronutrients (macro means BIG…. Aka the big three; they come in large quantities in food) Vitamins and minerals is micronutrients (micro = small quantities in food) We need all mentioned here, daily.
c) We divide food into groups because they bare the same characteristics regarding their calorie and macronutrient content. There are 6 basic food groups: Dairy, Fruit, Vegetables, Starches, Proteins and Fat. Some might say this is a bit old school, but it is easier to quantify and qualify foods into your daily lifestyle.
5. Nutrition is but one ingredient in your overall health
Nutrition is NOT the only important factor here! Nutrition can be the starting point for you, but by addressing other factors in your life that add to a better you, are equally as important. Mental and physical well-being in the form of stress management, regular exercise, getting enough sleep and good invested relationships add up together with optimal nutrition to create your unique and healthy lifestyle.
People who are in unhappy situations frequently act out by dis”nourishing” their bodies with unhealthy choices. The ongoing process of identifying these key barriers and working through them cannot be separated as “I will deal with them later” – entities. Make peace with it, so long as you can see the progress in the process.
These are the basic principles toward the 4Life Living journey. Kick start you journey now!