- We need food to survive.
- We cannot stop eating when we want to lose weight.
- We cannot stop eating while focusing on healing.
- We cannot stop eating because we are in pain.
We cannot stop eating.
We need food, nourishment, energy. And yet for many people, food is the source of physical pain, mental anguish and soul-crushing anxiety.
We were created with nutritional needs - namely, we need food and water to survive. Jesus even recognized this physical need when He gave us the bread and the wine to nourish us spiritually. We can’t escape the need.
There is much debate on the topic of nutrition.
Some think we need to eat as close to what the cavemen ate (meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds); others believe we need to lump different food groups together (fats with fats; energy with energy); some believe we need to consume only non-animal products (ie, vegetarian & vegan diets), yet others people believe we need solely to restrict our fat intake, or our sugar intake, or our salt intake, or our caloric intake…
In reality, none of these things is inherently wrong. Our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made. Each person has the capability to feel strong and healthy depending on the food they eat.
Remember, I am not a registered dietician, clinician or medical professional. If you are in pain, seek medical attention. If you have specific medical conditions, please don’t drastically shift your diet without consulting your doctor.
There are a few significant dietary changes that you may want to consider on your journey to healthier eating.
1. Reduce Sugar Consumption
As Americans, we consume too much sugar. Period. Did you know that most jarred pasta sauces include sugar? Peanut butter too. Also, bacon. WHY DO THESE THINGS NEED SUGAR???
Sugar is addictive. When we eat it, we want more. Several studies have pointed to the idea that the same parts of our brain are stimulated with sugar as with illicit drugs.*1
Sugar is also responsible for the sharp rise in diseases like diabetes and the obesity epidemic we have in the US. If you are interested in reading more about this, articles such as http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/37/4/950 are very insightful.
2. Reduce Wheat/Grain Consumption
There are two main reasons to consider eliminating or reducing your wheat/grain consumption.
A. You have Celiac Disease. If you have Celiac, your body cannot process gluten which is in grains such as wheat, barley, rye, triticale and oats. (Oats on their own do not contain gluten but are frequently processed along side gluten-containing grains)
Symptoms of Celiac Disease include diarrhea, bloating, gas, fatigue, low blood count (anemia), and osteoporosis. If you think you may have Celiac, please see your doctor. There are tests that can be run to confirm this diagnosis.
B. Grains, especially refined grains, are too often consumed in larger quantities than our body needs. They are empty carbohydrates that offer little in the way of long-term satiety and may actually increase the risk of Type 2 Diabetes and raised cholesterol levels.
Whole grains, when properly prepared, can be an important to a well-balanced diet, in moderation.
3. Increase Water Consumption
Most people know they need to drink more water. But do you know why? A human body is approximately 60% water. Our bodies use water to help deliver oxygen through out our bodies, lubricate our joints, regulate our body temperature, and is needed by the brain to manufacture hormones and neurotransmitters … just to name a few things.*2
An adult woman should be drinking about 2.5 liters (or 10 cups) of water each day and an adult man should be drinking about 3 liters (or 12 cups) of water each day. That’s a lot of water!! To nail down exact amounts for you, most experts say to drink half of your body weight in ounces. So if you weigh 180 lbs., you should be drinking about 90 ounces of hydrating liquids a day.
The good news is that all hydrating fluids count toward your daily intake, not just water. Things like milk, tea and juice all contribute to your total. It is wise to consider drinking things like fruit-infused water, unsweetened tea and sparkling water to avoid unnecessary calories and sugar.
4. Increase Vegetable/Fruit Consumption
We’ve all heard the childhood saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” The World Health Organization recognizes this: Current evidence indicates that fruits and vegetables consumed as part of the daily diet can help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and certain types of cancer.*3
Fruits and vegetables contain water, fiber, which our body needs for digestion and elimination, potassium, which we need to help regulate our blood pressure, along with many other phytochemicals such as antioxidants that help our bodies in countless ways.
Adding more vegetables to your meals is a great way to save money too! Vegetables and fruits are more inexpensive than meats. Try implementing “Meatless Mondays” to your weekly meal rotation.
If you’re looking for a great meatless summer recipe, this Corn and Tomato Pie made with a whole wheat crust is just the ticket!
I’d love to know if you’ve tried any of these ideas. What works for you? What doesn’t?
Have an awesome week,
- *1 Studies on effects of Sugar and it's addictive properties:
- *2 Water Consumption: https://water.usgs.gov/edu/propertyyou.html
- *3 World Health Org on Cancer: http://www.who.int/elena/titles/bbc/fruit_vegetables_ncds/en/