What is the Best Nutrition for Your Body?
Updated: Dec 1, 2021
By Dr. Ann-Marie Regina, ND Eating can be complex. Getting the best nutrition for your body can be challenging, especially with overwhelming and conflicting resources that are being marketed to you. What works for one person, may not necessarily work for you. And what worked for you at one point in your life, may not work for you anymore. There is a lot of information out there regarding nutrition, but it is important to work with your naturopathic doctor to find out what is best for you, your lifestyle and your health condition(s).
The Basics For Building A Positive Relationship With Your Food
When a food disagrees with the body, some of common symptoms experienced include, but are not limited to: gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, joint pain and flare ups of preexisting skin conditions. Here are some of the basics when building a healthy relationship with your food that will help alleviate the above symptoms to some degree.
1. Eat Mindfully! It is important to listen to your body's cues while you eat in order to identify when you feel adequately full, or if certain foods are aggravating. Eating in front of the television or computer distracts you from connecting with your body's signals. You will be more likely to overeat and begin to associate technology with meal time. If you are going to reach for that bag of chips, really make sure that you are tasting each chip. The more time you spend really tasting and chewing, the less likely you will overeat and the more satisfied you will feel.
2. Chew your food! Do you tend to inhale your food? Chewing your food adequately prevents you from overeating. It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to signal your brain that you are full. If you eat your food too quickly you don't give your stomach enough time to send that message, resulting in the misguided sensation that you are still hungry. Also, it is important to remember that digestion begins in the mouth. The mouth has different enzymes that help to break down carbohydrates and protein. Chewing your food gives those enzymes time to take effect and mechanically will assist in the digesting process.
3. Ask yourself why? Do you tend to snack, not because you are hungry but just because you feel you "need" to have something? Try to explore the emotions behind why you reach for food. Overeating can be rooted in anxiety, stress or depression. Food can be used as a reward for many people and the brain really does see it that way. The more you feed those emotions, the more the brain associates that emotion with "needing" food to soothe.
4. Enjoy your food! Do you like the foods that you are eating? Do you eat certain foods only because you think they are "good" for you? Developing a healthy relationship with your food also means that you enjoy what you are eating. This doesn't mean that you can eat whatever your heart desires. Remember moderation is key. But finding recipes that you like can make healthy food easier to eat and enjoy. If you live a busy lifestyle, focusing on making better food choices at restaurants can be another option. 5. Be sustainable! Creating strict do's and don'ts when it comes to food can be taxing emotionally. Learning what your body is able to tolerate is more useful and sustainable than completely cutting out a certain food for the rest of your life. Unless you have a specific illness that precludes you from consuming a food (for example, celiac disease and gluten), there is no reason that you should feel like you are "not allowed" to eat that food. In saying that, this is where dose comes into play. Make sure that if you do decide to eat a food that may not always agree with your system, the food is of good quality, you have only the amount that your body can handle and you enjoy it! 6. Moderation! There will be times when the food choices you have are not ideal, but are out of your control. For example at a birthday party or a wedding. Unless you are going to weddings every week, it is completely fine to have a slice of cake! Again, try to stay within your body's limits and enjoy what you are eating! Enjoying your food, no matter what it is, helps to nourish healthy emotions associated with foods.
Why Is It Beneficial To Get Personal Advice?
Have you seen advertisements categorizing certain foods as "bad" or "good"? The kind of language used when talking about food, creates an emotional connection with those foods. When food is labeled as "bad," there is a preconception that it should be avoided and, if consumed, there is an associated feeling of guilt. Foods labeled "good," tend to be over-eaten, leading to intolerances and sensitivities. It is true, food can be medicine or poison, but learning what is the right dose for your body is part of creating a healthy relationship with your food. Naturopathic doctors are the most trained medical professionals in individualized nutritional advice. All health begins with the digestive system. To achieve optimal health, it is necessary to address nutrition. Ideally, the easiest and most sustainable program will maximize the nutrition you get from food. The goal is to increase the variety of foods you eat while also taking into account your limits and lifestyle. Diets that you may see in the media tend to be aggressive and not sustainable, which can result in low compliance and ultimately make you feel guilty for not following through with them. Naturopathic doctors have the time to spend with you to teach you the skills to eat foods that make you feel good and at your own pace. If you recognize that you tend to emotional eat, it is important to seek support and the proper tools to address the underlying reasons for the emotions. If you experience guilt, anxiety, depression or shame leading you to over consume or under consume food, speak to your naturopath to create a plan to work through it together. Remember, you are not alone.
Why Work With a Naturopathic Doctor on Food?
The basics are important in order to build a good foundation. However, everyone's challenges are different. Naturopathic Doctors can provide you with individualized care and can meet your nutritional requirements at any stage in your life. Part of maximizing your nutrition is identifying food intolerances through specific testing or food challenges and learning when they are appropriate to avoid and to consume. Further, naturopaths have the knowledge and training to integrate your health concerns and nutrition. Age, hormones and other conditions will be always be taken into account when prescribing nutritional advice. It is imperative to address health holistically and comprehensively.
Dr. Ann-Marie Regina, ND focuses on individualized nutritional counselling and helping patients make healthy lifestyle choices that are specific to them. Dr. Ann-Marie is now offering 30 minute nutritional consults focused solely on creating sustainable and effective dietary adjustments that address your concerns. During the nutritional counselling visits, Dr. Ann-Marie will assess your nutrition with an assessment tool which investigates your water, protein, fat, starch, vegetable, fruit and fibre intake. The assessment will also take your health concerns, activity level, hormones, food intolerances, age and sex into consideration. To learn more about nutritional counselling and which foods work best with your body, please book an appointment with Dr. Ann-Marie Regina or schedule a complimentary 15 minute "meet and greet."