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3.27.2013

Overwhelmed? Who Isn't???

You can find research and opinion, especially on the internet, giving a very convincing argument
NOT to eat pretty much any food... including most fruits and vegetables.  It can be confusing and infuriating, and honestly I feel this onslaught of info it not for 90% of the population.  In general my advice is this:
  •  Eat real food (one or maybe two ingredients, or no label at all, and not GMO).
  • Not too much.
  • Mostly Plants.

Brilliant, isn't it?  Yeah, I didn't come up with that.  It's a pretty well known quote from Michael Pollan.  But if you're wanting to eat better and don't have any specific health issues you want to work on, it's pretty solid advice.

In fact, if you're not into the nitty gritty of nutrition I would strongly suggest avoiding things... but not food (well, avoid processed foods, but that's it).  I would avoid juicing, smoothies (and obviously smoothie/protein powders, which are very processed), supplements (other than a good, food based multivitamin or mineral supplement if you feel the need to add one), and any fad diet or fad food.  Eat a variety of real foods.  That is all.  Why would I say this?  Because a lot of food and diet fads, especially if not executed or followed through properly, can affect the body's balance and actually cause more problems.  Example- juicing greens.  If done excessively and without other foods to balance them or without appropriate gut flora, you can be taking in and not eliminating excessive oxalate, which can cause health problems.

Once you've transitioned to a real food diet you are going to do more for your health adding these three life changes INSTEAD of diving into the abyss (that I am currently lost in) of internet health discussions.
  •  Prioritize sleep.  EVERY ADULT needs 7-8 hours minimum.  There are no night people, nor are there people who can thrive on less than 7 hours of sleep.  If you struggle, this particular area is a good one to read into, but start with these easy tips- Eliminate all light from your room, including alarm clocks, street lights (using black out curtains), etc.  Keep your bedroom cooler.  Avoid looking at LED screens (phone, computer, TV) for a few hours before bed, or get a screen dimmer like f.lux (google it...).  Dim or turn off the lights in your house once the sun goes down, and get plenty of sunlight in the morning.
  • Manage your stress.  I know, easier said than done, but it is SOOOO important!  If you have too much on your plate, take a serious look at your life and cut back.  If you can't cut anything, learn to deal with it and don't do anything extra.  Sleep enough (see above).  Take time to do simple, relaxing things that help you unwind like yoga, meditation, reading, or a warm bath.  Don't play the pity party- everyone has a lot going on.  Learn to manage it for the sake of your health- I don't care if you're a homeschooling mom of 7 or if you work 60 hours a week, you don't have to be stressed all the time!  It will improve your mood and your overall productivity will actually go up!
  • Move.  Don't call it exercise, that makes it sound like a chore.  Just move.  If you have a desk job, get up and walk around at least once an hour, or get up and do some stretches.  If you're a stay at home mom, make sure you don't spend nap time camped out on the couch (unless you need a nap- then by all means!).  Move.  Just walk, dance with your kids, do a yoga video, whatever you like.  Don't worry about how much, just move.  Aim to not sit still during the day for more than 50 minutes at a time.
This post, I think, is a reaction to my own current dietary turmoil.  I feel like I know too much, and I'm trying to work it all out in my head.  There is one other simple thing you can focus on- when you eat.  But more on that tomorrow!


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