The best way to focus on being healthy…always.

If you’re reading this blog it’s very likely that you have an interest in your health. Do you exercise? Take supplements? Do gluten-free? Avoid dairy? Avoid sugar or refined oils? What is actually the most effective way to prevent disease? And it’s the same thing our forefathers would need to have focused on for robust health.

Focus on getting more nutrients from your food.

In Washington and Lincoln’s time, avoiding processed food was not a concern. Neither was getting gluten free products at the grocery store. The biggest concern for ill health back then, was nutrient deficiency. Not the excess sugar, processed food and toxic additives that we are concerned about today. But one thing remains true, if you focus on getting as many nutrients from your food as possible, your body will not only thank you, it will work much better. It will be better able to handle the garbage that we try to avoid. Our immune systems will work better. Our detoxification systems, our skin, liver, and kidneys, will work better. And if these systems can work better, we will better be able to handle viruses and bacteria, food additives and other toxic things to which we are exposed. 

Some quick tips for getting more nutrients from your food? 

  • Eat a rainbow of vegetables (heavy on the veg) and fruit (light on the fruit) every day.
  • Increase the amount of vegetables that you eat every day. Try new things. Look up new recipes for making them. Make a vegetable smoothie AND have them in a salad or cooked. Aim for 6-9 servings a day.

When you focus on getting more of something healthy, your cravings for unhealthy things decrease. You also end up eating less of other things because you feel more satiated from all the nutrients and fiber. I can remember a 20 something woman when I was a student over 20 years ago, working in the Bastyr University Clinic. She remarked at a return visit, that she was so glad that I had focused on asking her to have more vegetables rather than telling her not to eat cake. She ended up having a few bites because it wasn’t as appealing because she had been eating so much more of the good stuff.  Let’s focus more on real foods that nourish us than avoiding the bad stuff. The bad stuff often falls away when we satisfy our true hunger.

***I do ask my patients to avoid certain things when we are trying to fix an issue quickly, but when we’re just trying to focus on being healthy, sometimes harsh avoidance can backfire when we don’t have ongoing support to cement in healthy habits.