What makes a diet ‘healthy’?
Is it eating only organic, antibiotic- and hormone-free foods? Is it eating high fat / low carb? Is it a plant-based diet?
I see a lot of comments and articles about nutrition and what constitutes a healthy diet. Many of these sources of information are either biased (i.e. the writer works for a food producer) or they’re based on some misconception (i.e. that to eat healthy, you ONLY eat organic).
In my world – the holistic nutrition one – eating healthy means a few different things.
While, yes, organic foods will be better for you because they contain fewer or no chemicals than commercial foods, I understand that eating everything organic is expensive. And, unfortunately, our society still puts a high price on the ‘good stuff’ while making the crappy food super affordable.
And this is because the crappy food out there is controlled by big food manufacturers and huge agricultural conglomerates. And, these guys ‘buy off’ the food regulators, too, so we’re given a lot of false information on what’s good for you.
If you’re just starting out and want to eat healthy, I have a few tips to make this easier and totally affordable. Don’t stress over whether or not your foods are all organic or all grass-fed animal products…at least not yet.
How to Start
You’ve probably heard that the best way to eat healthy is to shop the perimeter of the grocery store. And this is an excellent way to start!
By shopping the perimeter, you’re essentially skipping over all the middle aisles with the junk and processed foods. Which is what you want for a healthy, whole foods diet. Right?
So, fill up your cart with whole foods – meat, poultry, fish, eggs, fruits and vegetables, raw nuts and seeds from the bulk section, and maybe even some full-fat dairy on a small scale. Choose sprouted grain breads over regular grains, even whole wheat.
When you do need to buy from the middle of the grocery store, look for packaged whole foods with minimal to no sugar or additional ingredients. For example, all-natural peanut butter, full-fat coconut milk, sugar-free tomato sauce, etc. These are okay to eat.
Start here, learn to cook with whole foods for at least 80% of your meals. Avoid processed, packaged foods, especially snacks, granola bars, grains, and junk food.
One Step Further
If you’ve mastered shopping and cooking the perimeter (because the shopping part is easy, it’s figuring out how to USE the whole foods that the real challenge), you can take this healthy eating plan one step further.
Now you can start to adjust your foods to veer towards a more holistic, healthy approach.
First, swap out some of the more pro-inflammatory foods with less inflammatory ones. For example, cut back on cow’s milk dairy products and start trying goat’s milk cheese, coconut-based yogurt, and unsweetened nut milks. Always check for the sugar content on the food label, too. You don’t want to swap dairy out for a highly sweetened alternative because sugar is nasty stuff!
Second, try a few organic fruits or vegetables. Check out the EWG’s Dirty Dozen and start here. Not all fruits and vegetables need to be organic. It’s the produce with the thin skins that we typically eat – apples, grapes, berries, lettuce, bell peppers – that are most likely to contain chemicals. Start with these, even if it’s just one fruit or vegetable at a time. (If you can’t afford or find organic, buy or make an all-natural fruit and vegetable wash and just give everything a really good scrub when you get home.)
Third, try a higher quality animal product. Free range organic eggs. Grass-fed antibiotic-free beef. Antibiotic-free chicken. Do what you can…if you can’t afford it, remember that a chicken breast is still better for you than a frozen, breaded, or flavored piece of chicken.
Your Health Plan
If you’ve mastered the art of shopping and cooking the perimeter AND you’ve been able to incorporate a few ‘upgraded’ food items into your diet and your budget, you’ve still got room to grow.
Holistic nutrition is all about teaching you how to eat for YOUR unique health concerns. Which is where I come in!
To really get down to business and zero in on what’s bothering you, you can work with me to get insight into which foods your body needs to support your health. And find out which foods, healthy or not, may not be right for you.
Because you have unique nutritional needs, working with a holistic nutritionist is a great way to learn more about your body and how it works. Plus, it can save time and money in the long-run because I’ll give you the foods and support you need to improve your health conditions. Without you doing trial and error for months and months.
Still Have Questions?
Because my mission is to help every single woman who need my help figure out how to eat for her body and health, I offer a free 30-minute consultation. This call gives you and I the opportunity to dig into your health concerns and roadblocks and provide you with a bit of a game plan to approach food.
Book your free call today if this seems like the next best step, if you’re ready to start feeling great, alive and healthy again. And if you’re sick and tired of trying to navigate the grocery store and world of nutrition on your own…I’m here to help!
Healthy eating doesn’t mean eating the most expensive and exotic foods you can find. It doesn’t mean following a crazy diet plan either. It simply means eating whole foods at least 80% of the time and focusing on the foods that YOUR body needs. This is the missing link between what you’ve been doing up until now and finally feeling healthy…you need to find out what your body needs.