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Healthy Lifestyle Basics

Nutrition counseling is not a specialist just telling someone, “eat this, don’t eat that”. It is a comprehensive approach to working on all the lifestyle and dietary factors effecting your health. Then we work as a team to come up with solutions together. Areas of consideration include time management, the quality of food, portion control, stress, exercise, cooking, convenience, and of course, general food and diet education. Some individuals also need guidance on proper supplementation which is also provided in the nutrition consultation.

Addressing your time constraints, in relationship to eating, is another topic to address. It is a lot easier to grab junk food on the go than to prepare your food in advance. These junk foods are often full of sugar, refined flour, and food additives that have been shown to increase the risk of disease and obesity. Instead of the snacking and junk, try to plan your meals to incorporate a variety of new foods in the company of loved ones or friends, thereby making it a more enjoyable experience. You are more likely to stick with the routine if you enjoy the process. Prepare extra and freeze some of your prepared meals/sides for later to save time. You can also make large portions plain then add a different sauce or seasoning when you re-heat it. This is an efficient way of eating healthy with variety while keeping your cooking time minimal.

Portion control is imperative. It isn’t just important to know what foods are healthy and what foods are not. Too much of something healthy is also bad for you. For example, a sweet potato is great for you as it is high in beta-carotene and fiber. However, if you eat too much, it will spike your blood sugar which will increase stress on the body, cause weight gain, impaired immune function, and increase inflammation. Learn proper portion sizes and meal frequency based on your age, size, how physically active you are, and medical condition from a licensed dietitian with an integrative approach.

Diet is only part of the equation. What people forget to remember is the constant bombardment of toxic substances we face on a daily basis. Pesticide use is rampant and leaks into our homes from the treated outdoor environment. Toxins from power plants as far away as China are soiling our air and water. Drinking water also contains chlorine and fluoride which are toxic to the body. Personal care products, such as shampoo and skin care products, should be free of parabens, hormones, sodium laurel sulfate, and other toxic chemicals. Your skin absorbs anything you put on it. Therefore, if it’s too toxic to eat, then it shouldn’t be on your skin.

Everyday stress impairs the immune system, causes free radical damage to our cells, and increases inflammation. Exercise, tai chi, meditation, dance, or listening to music are all great stress reduction techniques. It is important to be adamant about carving out a little time for yourself on a routine basis. There is now available saliva testing to check for stress hormones, a great diagnostic tool, thus leading to custom nutrition and supplement programs to optimize health.