Sunday, June 21, 2009

We are what we eat

Hello everyone!
I know I haven't blogged recently, I'm trying to get to the computer more regularly. However, I am a fitness & health professional, so I spend much of my time up on my feet and away from the computer! I am also getting married July 31st. Yeah! and I am super busy! Eventhough that is exciting, today I would love to talk about what we eat today and how it affects us.

So many people just eat whatever they can think of, get their hands on, or what they want, and often their is no real nutritional value to the food. What are foods with nutritional value? Vegetables, Fruits, Whole grains, and lean meats. In that order. You should intake more vegetables in any given day than any other food group. Vegetables are high in nutrients, vitamins and fiber as are fruits. Fruits, however, have a lot of natural sugars, therefore, it is recommended to eat more vegetables.

When we consume the proper amounts of vegetables and fruits (actual ones, not juices, pills, the next packaged fad to help us) we feel better, look better, think clearer and we have no need for vitamin supplements (except for vitamin D). Almost all vitamin studies done by doctors & schools, not vitamin companies have shown that taking a vitamin alone does not give a proper substitute for the vitamins we need and that they are not absorbed and used in the body the way the vitamins should be. I am not saying to not take a vitamin supplement, you should consult your doctor for that especially if you have a condition that creates or is caused by certain vitamin deficincies. I am, although, saying that you should be consuming your vitamins through food first and foremost. You may find that if you do, your doctor will say you don't need to take a supplement.

Food is our energy source for all of our energy. Movement, thought, even sleep. Without proper levels of what our bodies need, we won't have the energy we need. Like cars need gas and oil to make them operate, we need food. Food is our gas! Also, when a car has gas, but not proper levels of oil, it will still break down. So, you can give yourself any food to keep yourself running, however without the oil(nutrients, vitabmins, minerals) you will still break down in one way or another.

Food and exercise affect the level of effeciency we have each day. I know for myself that without the proper food, I can get cranky and tired. If I don't eat well and rest, I usually find myself catching a cold. Food and exercise affect our moods and our emotions. When your spouse or child are cranky give them some healthy food and you will usually find an attitude adjustment. For example, type A personalities become calmer when given a little bit of starchy carb (healthy ones are carrots,corn & potato's) and a little bit of dark chocolate. So when you want to have a discussion with that type A person, feed them first to get the best results. Don't give the calm person those starchy carbs before needed them to focus, they will just want to rest, feed them some lean proteins and green vegetables and they will have energy.

These are just a couple of examples. You can play these out further, imagine if you eat a donut for breakfast or give one to your child before school, don't you think your work or your childs school work will reflect it? Now imagine you don't eat at all, you've just spent 8 plus hours not filling up, there is no more gas in the tank, how with the car(you) manage to go. Just sputtering along barely making it to the next point. Sure, you have some stored fat that you can access, but fat isn't what you need to make your brain and body work, you are better off exercising off that stored fat while putting a healthy energy source into your body.

If you want your children to be bright and happy feed them well so their brains can develop and give them plenty of sleep. The body energizes and the brain develops for children while they sleep. Encourage naps, even just 20 minutes. Not just for your kids, but for yourself. The food and sleep change your brain chemistry. You become a healthier thinker and you make better choices for yourself and your loved ones. It is pertinent to pay attention to what you put into your body and how you take care of yourself!

So, now you say "okay, I understand this. I get it. But I don't like these foods and I don't know where to get them quickly." And, I say to you: Once you start eating better, you will find yourself craving the better, healthier choices. It might take a few months to get over the cravings for that greasy burger or chips or candy, but you can do it. I did.

In my teens and twenties I started eating all the bad fast foods and chips and sodas etc and gained a couple of pounds and started feeling terrible. Slowly I realized certain things made me feel bad and I started just cutting out a few things here and there. First to go soda, then fatty red meats like fast food and so on. Eventually I became someone who actually craves brocoli, and salads, fruits and good cheese. I do still enjoy a lean steak or some ice cream. I like a little bit of dark chocolate and once a month or so I drink an Italian soda. I don't at all feel deprived. As a matter of fact, I love to eat.

When you eat properly, you actually can consume more food with less calories. I don't say throw out everything bad all the time. We must live our lives in balance and there are some things that each of us loves to have as a treat. That is exactly what it should be though, a treat.

Now, go out, live your life in balance. Life to the fullest. Make the changes that are necessary and don't be afraid. Grab life by the horns and make the best of it. It is the only one you have!

Laura Fortino
Bella Body & Mind of Huntington Beach

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