Real Food Challenge
Real food and nutrition play an important role in our health. We’ve been posting about ways to reduce overall stress load during this extremely stressful and uncertain time. We’ve covered mental stress with things like social connection and gratitude. In addition, we’ve touched on physical stress with encouragement to get outside and move your body.
Next, we address a third kind of stress that tends to get ignored, which is chemical stress. This is basically what we’re eating and putting in our bodies. It falls into two categories: toxicity (too much of the bad) and deficiency (too little of the good). Our goal is to lower toxicity level and increase the good stuff that we’re putting in there.
Why Real Food Matters
One of the reasons this is so important is that 70% of your immune system lies within the lining of the gut. So, if you are just creating a constant chemical assault to that system, our bodies just don’t have enough to thrive and keep us healthy. However, when we provide that system with the vitamins, nutrients, and food we were meant to eat, we have a better chance of a thriving gut, building a stronger immune system, and just being healthy.
One of the things that many people don’t think about is that we are largely unchanged from our hunter/gatherer ancestors. And if you think about it, they were eating what was available to them out in nature. If you walk into our grocery stores these days, there is just a lot of this “stuff” on the interior of grocery stores.
One of my favorite nutritional guidelines comes from author Michael Pollan, who is a big name in the food industry. In his book, In Defense of Food, he recommends that we don’t eat anything that our grandparents wouldn’t identify as food. Now that sounds funny, but think about it. If you walk into our grocery stores, a lot of items there are stuff that’s not actual food. So, I would encourage you to start trying to make sure you’re eating things that are actually food.
Many of us are currently in a position to have more time and opportunities to plan our meals, to cook, and be with our families with less opportunities to eat out. So, during this time of quarantine, I would challenge you to get a little creative with your nutrition. Start paying attention to eating things that are actually food without a lot of chemical fillers. Try to make it a fun game with your family to plan a meal or two a week where you’re really focused on having a good nutritional meal. A good rule of thumb is to check your ingredient list and choose only things with 5 ingredients of less per item and to be able to pronounce all of them.
This is just another tool to try to lower that overall stress load while everything else seems so stressful. It’s also kind of a fun mission that can change the overall trajectory of your health. I challenge you to get out there, try some new recipes and experiment with new foods you aren’t familiar. You may just lower that overall toxicity in your body and improve your health.