What is healthy food?

Before you start on this hopefully lifelong journey let me first ask you this: What does healthy food mean to you?

Stop for a second and really give it a thought. What comes to your mind when you think of healthy food? Is it an image of different foods, a feeling, an association with a societal status or something we SHOULD all strive towards? This is an important exercise, as it can give you some clues about your preconceptions and your emotional response towards food. Take the time and write down your thoughts on paper. It would be interesting to do this exercise again at the end of the course and compare your answers.

Food For Thought

It is funny when you think about the fact that we humans are the only species on this planet that are so deeply preoccupied with the food we eat. We constantly change our mind about what food is healthy and what is not, we research its effects on our body, we try different diets and we even fight amongst each other about the food choices we make or don’t make. Meanwhile the sheep is peacefully grazing on the grass and herbs as she always did while the lion keeps hunting the same animals.

True, the way we humans eat has changed over the years. Our environment and the way our food is grown and produced has changed as well.

So what is a healthy diet? It mostly involves common sense. The body sends us messages to change the diet to attune to its real needs; the internal biofeedback system is superb when we cooperate with it rather than override it.

Consuming fresh, whole foods that contain predominantly plants, eating simply prepared foods to ensure better digestion and absorption are a great foundation. Being in tune with nature and the seasons also helps to feel and be more energized. Eating local and seasonal food, and adjusting our diet as the weather changes are two important aspects of a healthy diet that should not be ignored as we are all part of Nature.

A healthy diet also means eating according to our individual needs. We are all individuals and thus each of us has unique nutritional needs. These depend on your current health state, your age and stage in life. If you are pregnant you have different nutritional needs than if you are a male training for a triathlon. This is obvious but oftentimes is not followed by many.

Yet many of us follow our desires and taste buds, eating the richer, sweeter, or saltier foods that industry promotes and packaging/processed solutions it provides. It may not seem to matter a great deal in the short term that we follow our passions (or addictions) rather than common sense. But this does affect how we feel and function now, and it does make a difference over the long run, both in our health and in our economy.

Healthy diet and the weight challenge

Obesity is becoming increasingly a concern even amongst children, which is alarming. To many people a diet means a special program developed to lose those extra kilograms that we carry around, followed only until we lose the weight and can then go back to eating the foods that produced the extra fat in the first place.

The condition of the body, including one’s weight, is and end result of how a person lives: a reflection of the food a person eats and his or her activity level.

Therefore, when we wish to change our weight permanently, we must change our lifestyle.

Emotions

Eating and weight have also a lot to do with one’s emotions, psychological nature,  and fear of creativity and change. Many of us, very early in life, develop body shapes, dietary habits, and specific eating patterns that become deeply ingrained. Family tradition and individual upbringing influence all of us. This connection between love, emotional bonding, or acceptance with eating and food are common in most cultures.

Another emotion that influences us ever more is stress. When we are under stress we may not digest and absorb our nutrients as well, and at the same time we may need higher amounts of vitamins and minerals. Many of us don’t take the time or make the proper space to eat their food, don’t chew thoroughly , and eat too much and too many foods at a time.

Feeding yourself well, naturally, wholesomely, and in balance will provide all the nutrients that you need to nourish your complete self. This is the purpose of this program.

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