Jan 15, 2011

Health through (not just) Nutrition

I got an email from a long-time family friend this week that got me very excited! Excited just to hear from her but also excited about what she was writing to me about - her health.

The very thing I want to do is EDUCATE, HELP and INSPIRE people towards optimum health, nutrition and a life they LOVE.

So when this friend was outlining some struggles she had experienced and wanted to know any suggestions I had or, anything she could try, I was thrilled!

So it got me thinking - when we are not at our best and feel like we've gone astray for some time how can we successfully come back to our true selves to live harmoniously? To walk, talk and BE HEALTH?

Health. One little word that most probably has a different meaning to everyone on the planet. Is health eating fruit and vegies more? Is it riding your bike instead of driving to work? Is it sleeping 8hrs a night? Is it drinking 2L of water a day? What about healthy relationships? Exercise? Spirituality? Mental health? It goes on and on and on...

I think we all have one "thing" we turn to first when we need to get "back on track". For me, nutrition is "my thing" so I usually (correction - I always) look there first. It's the easiest thing for me to tweak/change/improve to start me in the direction I want to be heading in (again).

I bought a book called "Eating Well For Optimum Health" the other day and so far I LOVE IT. Within the first few pages I read:

"Diet has special significance among lifestyle factors in that people have total control over it, at least potentially. You cannot change your genes, control the quality of air you breathe all the time, or avoid stresses of everyday life, but you can decide what to eat, or what not to eat..."

And that resonates so strongly with me.

For myself, the past month has been kinda tough. I've been experiencing some difficulties in my personal life and this filters out into everything else - including what I'm eating. So once I spot this and decide to make changes and eat the way my body feels best doing so, alot of other things seem to start looking better also.

Now that all might sound easy in the scheme of things but I know too well that it's not always the case. So baby steps are key. And taking one day at a time. Dont worry yourself with tomorrow, or the weekend. Just focus on today. Or even better, the next meal and the next meal only.

Start with breakfast. When I'm lying in bed about to doze off for the night I think about what I'm going to make for brekkie the next morning. I'm usually up very early, off to the gym or work so if I decide ahead of time it saves me thinking time and space as well as preparation time.
As I lie in bed I think about what's in the fridge, what I'll be doing all morning to know how much energy I'll need, and then begin to get a sense of how GREAT I'll feel from the healthy choice I have made.

Quick and easy smoothies or chia-gel ceral are the 2 top favourites that I usually alternate between. If I've done a weights session I'll also thrown in a raw protein drink immediatley after and eat my brekkie when I get to work.

My lunch break is between 1130am and midday so I know not to have much at morning tea or I wont look forward to my lunch - and for that reason I make sure my packed lunch is something DELICIOUS, colourful and tempting. That always stops me from munching too much mid-morn.

BIG kale salads with tomatoes and a coconut oil, dulse flakes and nutritional yeast dressing is my latest must-have. Having something you really enjoy, know you'll hang out for and that get's you excited just thinking about (whilst being high in nutritional value of course) is key here.
A handful of nuts works well for me with lunch as it staves off any hunger pangs that might crop up before I finish work mid-arvo. Otherwise I'll delight in a little raw ginger bar at work or a few bits of choccie for something sweet (I'm a big believer in making sure you eat those yummy pleasurable foods as well as loads of fruit and veg or you'll never achieve "balance" - which like the word "health", is very controversial in my opinion)

The rest of the day I'll be munching on fresh fruit, chopped up vegies, herbal teas, lots of pure water, and dinner is a big salad again most nights.

There are also a few things that I try to make sure are in my diet each day (or close enough too).

- chia seeds (for me the greatest thing they do is move through my bowels. I eat these for brekkie like a pudding with added bits n pieces for extra yumminess. They are also very high in omega 3 fatty acids - lubricating joints, maintaing brain health, warding off depression - protein, irona an calcium)
- cold pressed oils (aldo high in essential fatty acids, GOOD FATS, I'll make sure to mix it up between olive oil full of vitamin E, flax oil with omega 3, or to excite a meal I'll use sesame oil or another nut oil)
- pure water (the Source, for more fascinating info on water go here)
- herbal teas (I'm a big fan of green tea for many reasons but due to my adrenals at the moment I'm tstaying off it, and bumping up other teas such as peppermint, passionflower, skin teas, licorice tea)
- dark green leafy's (do you want a seperate post of dark green leafy's to tell you why you should try eating more?)
- nuts and seeds (high in proteins, calcium and other vitamins and minerals depeding on the nuts and seed)
- colourful fruits (different colours = differnt nutrients)
- cheat foods (these are vegie juices where the nutrients are going straight into your blood stream withint 15minutes as there is no digestion required, or coconut water where your body is hydrated twice as mcuh as water, your blood is getting an instant beneficial kick, and being supplied with electrolytes and potassium at the same time)

There are a few other things I have recently added to my diet to get me back on my path sooner rather than later. I mentioned here that my iron levels were low last blood test so I've been cranking up the greens and spirulina each day which feels great. I'm also taking a zinc supplement again to help with my immunity, and only this past week have brought some homeopathics into the mix along with some high strength adrenal herbs (in addition to maca and licorice which I already consume - both great for your adrenals).

But it was confirmed to me during a kinesiology session I had this week that I need to do more about my health. Another bit in the book I'm reading mentioned:

"Just as diet is only one factor influencing health, so dietary change is only one therapeutic approach, never recommended in isolation. Exercise, relaxation training, dietary supplements, botanical remedies, as well as referrals to both conventional and alternative practitioners for further diagnostic evaluations and treatments are all recommended..."

So I'm seeing a kinesiologist who is fantastic, and a facialist who specialises in lymphatic drainage for my acne issues. These two are the main people I see at the moment, but in the past I've regulalry seen colon hydrotherapists, naturopaths, counsellors and coaches, as well as personal trainers.

So in addition to my diet, to regain my optimum health that I know I have experienced before and can again, I need to rest and do some relaxation work. A self-confessed stress head that covers it all so well at times, it scared me but didn't shock me to find out that I'm one small step away from getting chronic fatigue syndrome. Where your adrenals have have enough wear and tear over time that they decide they're taking time off. 6 months, 12 months, 2 yrs. Who knows. Something I definatly do not want to experience ever. And I'm not going too. So that's where my adrenal herbs come in (and in high doses mind you), as does rest, relaxation, saying NO to myself more than to anyone else, and trying (my very best) to not do so much.

So far I'm feeling alot better. Day by day. Eating well. Supplementing where I feel I need too. Exercising where I can whilst being very aware to not do too much. Communicating with my partner (a BIG part of my health). Journalling. Resting. Reading and educating myself more. Looking after me. Baby steps.

I'd love to know what you guys do to keep your health in check?


  1. My boat is starting to rock, too, so it seems... With ACIM I'm questioning more and more what effect any external situation has on my wellbeing. I'm starting to change my view and it is not easy to let go so many things I have believed in... I still believe, though, that whatever you THINK is supposed to help - helps!

  2. Being healthy doesn't just mean having enough vitamins and minerals in the body. It's all about your whole life style. It's how you maintain what you are right now.