The amazing variety of food products offered at our local supermarkets and restaurants obscures an essential fact. Food is, first and foremost, supposed to nourish the cells of our bodies so that we grow and stay strong. Taste and texture are important, but not essential. These days, though, we have that equation backward.
Flavor, texture, color, and binegability are emphasized in ads, tantalizing us with photos and videos of delicious looking — and tasting — foods that ultimately leave us undernourished. Consuming high-calorie, low-nutrient foods bogs down your digestive system, diverts energy away from your brain and triggers inflammation that leads to weight gain and disease.
Dana J. Rockey, DMD, founder of South County Sleep Solutions, practices a healthy lifestyle and eating plan himself and is passionate about sharing those principles with his patients. As part of his commitment to teaching good eating habits, we offer whole-food nutrition consultations at our Newport Beach, California, office.
If you’d like to feel more energized and experience greater mental clarity, consider changing your diet. Here’s how.
1. Stop eating processed “foods”
Most supermarkets feature aisle after aisle of nutrition-poor mouth entertainment that masquerades as food. Make no mistake, though, almost all processed foods are empty calories, even when they sport misleading labels such as “low fat” or “all natural.”
Although convenient foods are convenient, and may temporarily stave off hunger, they do nothing to actually feed your body and nourish your cells. Instead, they contain ingredients that make it harder for your body to function optimally, including:
- Trans fats
- Seed oils
- Too much salt
- Artificial colors
- Artificial flavors
Even when these products contain natural ingredients, they’re usually so overly processed that there’s no nutritional value left in them. Many of the ingredients in processed foods also trigger inflammation, a condition that underlies or accompanies many acute and chronic diseases, including cancer.
2. Avoid sugar
Sugar is — literally — addictive. When you eat a food that’s high in sugar — whether that’s cane sugar, corn syrup, or processed honey — you get an immediate surge of energy and well-being. That’s because eating sugar makes your body release opioids and dopamine, just as addictive drugs such as heroin do. That’s why sugar is so addictive.
Though sugar makes you feel good temporarily, the high glycemic load spikes your blood sugar and triggers the release of insulin. Insulin carries the sugar into your cells for energy.
When this natural system goes haywire, you can develop insulin resistance. Your body doesn’t respond normally to insulin anymore, so the sugar stays in your bloodstream, leading to diabetes and eventually damage to your blood vessels and nerves.
For better health, avoid sugars, such as:
- Cane sugar
- Brown sugar
- Pasteurized honey
- Corn syrup
- High-fructose corn syrup
Avoid drinking fruit juices as a beverage, but citrus juices used in cooking are fine.
If you crave something sweet while you change your eating habits, treat yourself to fruit, such as fresh or frozen berries, apples, or oranges.
3. Indulge in fresh vegetables
As long as you’re choosing vegetables that don’t trigger sensitivities, you really can’t go wrong. In terms of sheer number and the space they take on your plate, fresh veggies should be the primary food you eat. Properly prepared through light cooking or fermenting, they’re filled with the vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients your body needs to build healthy cells.
Vegetables and other plant foods, such as nuts and beans, form the basis of many healthy cuisines around the world, including the Mediterranean diet. Paired with healthy fats, such as olive oil or grass-fed butter, vegetables are filling and satisfying, too.
Transform your life by transforming your diet with healthy, whole foods that feed your body’s cells from top to bottom. Call us at 949-558-0554 to schedule a whole-food nutrition teleconsultation today, or book an appointment online.