This is officially my first blog on this new website, so thanks for taking the time to check it out! I want to take this time and share with you how food affects us and why we should take the time to care about what we put into our bodies! Really, this may just be a long rant of my personal crusade to help others see the truth behind food, haha. Maybe I should have started blogging earlier because my big old mouth has so much to say! Before we dive in, let me make this one fact clear:
Even if that well-read nutritionist on Instagram swears to you that “health” is really only a game of calorie counting. Even if that fitness model swears that the only way to get her abs is with 1,200 calories a day. Even if some self-educated “personal trainer” says you can only eat these ten foods to lose weight and get healthy.
In our culture, there is so much information available to us at the click of a button or the turn of a page. It is seriously an information overload! How do we know what’s truth and what should be dismissed? How do we know what will be best for us and our individual needs? How can we track progress? What’s the first step to being healthy? I hear these all the time and people really just want to know the one or two simple things they need to do to get on track to “good health”. But what even is good health? Is it really even a tangible, measurable thing? I put good health in quotation marks because I believe it is a very misleading term. Health looks different on everyone.There is no blanket definition that everyone can be grouped in. There is no one diet that will yield the best results for everyone. What even is the baseline to compare to good health? Death? Okay then yes, we are all in “good health” because we aren’t yet dead….Wait, what?
Do you see how these labels we create can be counter productive?
Bad news is the people like that Instagram model and those in the multi-billion food and marketing industries know that we LOVE those flashy words that hit all the right buttons. We search out phrases that feed into exactly what we are looking for. We see these labels everywhere. On our food, on tv, online, on billboards, EVERYWHERE! Here’s a few examples of some labels/phrases we see daily:
“Healthy for kids”
“lose fat fast”
“eat what you want and still lose weight”
What do these even mean and how do they relate to our health?
No wonder so many people are so confused and completely overwhelmed about making any sort of nutritional change. One week, a certain food is deemed “good for you” and the next week, it’s been hung up on a cross to be crucified and banned from our diets by whichever ‘health guru’ has deemed it off limits.
Now, before I go off my rocker and drag the rest of you into my rant about the societal issues with food culture (stay tuned,maybe another blog topic?), let’s just talk about why food matters. Because for me, this was one of the turning points I had that completely shifted my inner dialogue about food and how to feed myself. Knowing the WHY’s of what foods to eat and how they affect us is such an important step to understanding how we can nourish ourselves from within.
How food works with your body
Let’s start at the smallest units in our bodies. Cells. They make up every single piece of us and form this magnificent vessel that we all call our body. These cells need nutrients to form and maintain themselves. They need to be able to communicate with other cells and perform functions either by themselves or within a group. Vitamins, minerals, fats, hydration are just a few elements that allow all these things to happen from within. So where do we find these elements? Yup, you guessed it, food.
Our body takes in these nutrients, distributes them to the cells, organs and body systems that need them and in theory, we should be able to support a thriving, well functioning body.
But what if we’re not consuming what our body needs?
Cells break down. They’re unable to form properly and support life. Dysfunctional and damaged cells lead to dysfunctional and damaged organs. When our organs aren’t functioning properly, entire body systems can’t function correctly: digestion, blood sugar regulation, lymphatic system, immunity etc.
This dysfunction begins to affect everything in the body and degeneration begins to occur. This is when we are usually able to feel or see the effects, whether it be through disease, chronic illness, inflammation, aches, pains, skin issues, you name it. The body will ALWAYS show us where it’s struggling and where dysfunction has occurred. So we feel less than great, we suffer and wonder what on earth caused us to feel like this. We question what we did wrong and begin to accept this new “normal.”
The Dysfunction Mentality
I beg of you, do not accept a life of feeling like shit. It is not normal but more importantly YOU HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE IT.
You are empowered to make educated, loving decisions that are best for you. You are empowered to ask questions about things if they relate to your well being. You are empowered to know what your body needs and how you can obtain that. You are empowered to cook the way you want, even when others look at you funny or disagree. You are empowered to want more for yourself and want to feel the best you can feel.
The best place to start is with food. This is where we can lay the foundation to healing and better overall health. How? Think back to our cells. Food feeds our cells. If we can learn how to nourish the smallest unit within our bodies, we can learn how to nourish the bigger parts and systems. It doesn’t have to start as a giant, total overhaul of your diet. In fact, I encourage others to not do entire overhauls. It can be overwhelming and unsustainable. We can start small, create consistencies and eventually create habits. Habits build upon one another and before you know it, all these tiny changes begin to accumulate and become a part of a bigger picture.
Phew! There’s so much more to discuss and so much I hope to share, which I completely intend on doing by keeping up with these blogs. If you take away anything from this first one, take away this…knowledge is so powerful and you are completely capable of any change you desire.
Until next time and in good health, Meredith