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Naturopathic principles towards eating, for greater health.

'Our eating habits are as important as the food choices we make in achieving and maintaining health'.

Healthy Habits ~ Mindful Eating

Including healthy eating HABITS in your life is essential if you want to support your overall well-being. While trendy diets and lifestyle overhauls are all the rage, the truth is, that simple changes and a more mindful approach, can lead to BIG results in the health department and your overall wellness in both body and mind.

My 10 positive tips for healthy eating habits are as follows;

1) Chew food adequately, take smaller bites and do not inhale your food.

The mouth is the first stage of digestion. Breaking down food and mixing it with some enzymes aids in what is to follow. The main purpose of eating is to consume and ABSORB the nutrients our bodies need to stay healthy. Chewing your food well, will support this and the breakdown process.

2) Eat regularly, don’t allow more than 4/5 hours between meals through day.

This will stabilise blood sugar and energy levels, and will keep your metabolic rate up and prevent cravings. Our bodies follow a circadian rhythm and studies have found that it’s important to keep a regular schedule for your meals to allow your body to follow a ‘meal clock’, optimising your body’s nutritional intake. A faster metabolic rate and better efficiency when we follow a regular meal intake is a positive step.

3) Avoid over eating. Listen to your body and the signs of fullness.

Overeating comes with many harmful effects when done on a regular basis. Promoting excess body fat because of calorie surplus. May cause excessive bloating, gas and nausea by upsetting the digestive system due to overload of food, a major burden on the GUT. May disrupt hunger regulation by affecting the major hormones of ghrelin (which stimulates appetite) and leptin (which suppresses appetite) not to mention insulin and its affects on blood sugar regulation. Don’t eat if you’re not hungry.

4) Eat with awareness, practice mindful eating, and eat positively.

Do not eat if you are feeling stressed or anxious, during these states your blood flow is diverted away from digestion and to your extremities this will lead to poor gut health i.e. bloating, flatulence, stomach cramps, and pain. Eating when stressed and anxious is not beneficial, neither is watching a scary or sad movie at the same time as eating your meal. Sit, observe your food and enjoy the meal :)

5) Achieve fluid balance, get enough water. Stay hydrated.

Drink at least 8-12 glasses of filtered water daily, in-between meals, with that being an important note, in-between. Too much water while eating can dilute your stomach acid and digestive enzymes, causing all sorts of gut problems. Ensure you are getting enough water by drinking a glass or two on rising, mid morning, mid afternoon and later afternoon/evening.

6) Prepare and shop for fresh food regularly

Making sure the food you are eating is fresh, leads to a higher nutritional quality and also tastier meals. Enabling you to enjoy more home cooked foods. Make a shopping list so that you remember what you need to pick up. If available personally and physically eat organic and seasonally whenever possible. Also home growing food is truly rewarding and revolutionary, from garden to plate one of the highest nutritional content and also extremely satisfying. Start with a simple herb garden on your window sill.

7) Increase your raw food intake and dietary fibre to around 35g daily.

This can easily be maintained when diet is whole, unprocessed, unrefined, and plant-based. High Fibre and antioxidant rich foods prevents many diseases and keeps the digestive system and bowels healthy. Eating the rainbow is not a trend, its a simple way of ensuring a good variety of healthy food is eaten.

8) Exercise as part of your healthy eating plan.

Exercise will massage your insides helping with digestion and maintain a healthy weight. Particularly yoga and the twisting poses. Be mindful not to exercise straight after eating allow at least and hour for the bulk of food to be broken down before committing to strenuous movements.

9) 90% for the body 10% for the soul

Ensure the majority of food consumed is within the healthy range, allow the odd treats for your mind, soul and social life. Don’t deprive yourself the foods that light you up, just remember its 10-15% of your diet. That way you get to enJOy it even more once you’re eating it ;)

10) Biggest take in this busy world, is MEAL PREPARATION!!!

I cannot express this enough, especially living in our modern fast paced-world. With fast food chains becoming so accessible and we have become so time poor with 9-5 jobs, family, busy lives, meal preparation is where it’s at. On your day off cook up batches of food, which can be frozen, when you make your dinner, make your lunch at the same time.

Aim for a healthy lifestyle – make positive choices and take control of your health. Look at ALL areas of wellbeing and don’t just focus on your weight. Feel good about yourself for making small changes – these can lead to big improvements. If you think of eating as something enjoyable and something you do without guilt or without judging yourself, and you stay active, you're less likely to overeat, have a better diet, and maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.

Don’t count calories, count chemicals, go fresh, organic and start preparing your food, chew with awareness, this process will activate your digestive system and prepare your body for the beautiful food it’s about to receive. Amen to that!!

Yours in GoodHealth Kerry Caudwell founder of Natures Connection

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