..... is important for health and well being and yet can seem difficult to achieve. There is a great deal of conflicting advice about what we should and shouldn’t eat, good foods and bad foods, naughty foods and nice foods.
It makes knowing what, or what not to eat, a challenge and often takes the joy out of food. Knowing what to look for when buying food and finding out which foods suit you can help you to enjoy food and feel better.
Some important aspects of good nutrition are how suitable certain foods are for you, the quality of the foods you eat and the ability of your digestive system to properly break down these foods so your body can use the nutrients in them. Modern lifestyles, processed foods and antibiotics can all wreak havoc with the beneficial microbes in your gut that are vital for good digestion. The following information looks briefly at food quality, good digestion, how we can test for food which suits us as individuals and a brief look beyond nutrition.
The myriad of information and advice about food can seem conflicting and confusing, however it can start to make sense when you look more closely. The nutritional value of food can depend on how it is grown or reared, the health of the soil in which plants are grown and the quality and type of food fed to animals. The fresher the food the better as processing can destroy and denature nutrients. For example, bread is not always what it seems. Wheat grown in healthy soils, stoneground and turned into bread using long rise sourdough methods is very different to wheat in a modern factory loaf. Stone grinding helps retain nutrients and the sourdough process helps to break down many of the substances we find difficult to digest. However the average factory loaf which has been sprayed, treated and bleached, then mixed with preservatives and conditioners before being accelerated to a fast rise is often difficult to digest and lacking in nutrients.
It also depends on what we are trying to achieve as, for example, some foods are eliminative and help the body rid itself of toxins, but if the body’s elimination systems are not functioning optimally the toxins being released can end up traveling around the body and eventually being re-absorbed. Some foods are more nurturing and easier to digest and these may be more beneficial when trying to heal the body’ tissues, especially the lining of the gut. Equally important is our ability to digest and assimilate the nutrients in the food we eat which relies on the health of the digestive system.
Although having the right food and nutrition for us is important, it is not the only thing that affects how we feel, and changing your eating habits might only be one part of what you need to do. It may be that there are several other things that are affecting your health, and how much better you feel by adjusting your diet will depend on the extent to which food and nutrition are involved. Stress, lifestyle and environmental factors can all play a part in how well we feel, and dealing with problems on other levels can help us to make the changes we want to see.
Our nurtirionists can discuss and work out how these additonal factors relate to your diet issue and work out solutions that suit your lifestyle. They may also carry out functional testing or refer you onto one of our kinesiologists for additional testing.
Using kinesiology, we can also help you to address these issues, strengthen your energy system and increase your tolerance to a range of items. As every person is unique, the amount of work will vary depending on your present state of health, how long you have been ill, how keen you are to feel better and what you are prepared to do for yourself.
Diet Plans and Food Testing
EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT - Individual Diet Plans and Food Testing As food is so much a part of how we feel, its important to know that what we are eating is helping us feel good. Although there are some simple principles that apply to everyone - such as eating fresh, unprocessed foods as near to nature as possible - every body is different and what works for one person, doesnt necessarily work for another especially as everyone is starting from a different place of well-being. Knowing what works for you personally can be important in keeping you healthy. An Individual Diet Plan will provide you with a booklet which lists the major food groups along with some information about what to be aware of when choosing and cooking food. Through testing it highlights those that are most appropriate for you and how often you can eat them. It may suggest foods to reduce or avoid, or some to increase or include if that is important for you. Generally the body will choose to get as many nutrients as possible, including vitamins and minerals, from food. However if you need to take a particular supplement, the plan will include which specific one may be best for you. For Food Testing we use a whole range of test kits for many different kinds of foods, food additives, food phenolics (the compounds that give food colour and flavour), preservatives, drinks, chemicals, pollens and over 560 substances to test for foods and chemicals that you might be reacting to. The procedure is non-invasive and suitable for all ages, including babies and children. Bio-feedback from kinesiology is used for both Food Testing and to create the most appropriate Diet Plan for you. Knowing which foods you need and which you dont can help you to feel better, feel more relaxed about food, and even save you money on supplements that you might not need.
Digestion and Gut bacteria
Good Bacteria - Good Digestion - Good Health Although the thought of bacteria may send you running for the antibacterial spray, many of them are not only beneficial but also absolutely vital for good health. The estimated 1.5 - 2 kilos of beneficial bacteria and microbes in a heathy gut, help with digestion, keep the gut wall healthy, produce vitamins and keep tabs on any bad bacteria which might cause problems if left to get out of control. These beneficial bacteria can be depleted by antibiotics and other drugs as well as by poor diet, long term stress and environmental factors. It is very important to establish good gut bacteria (or gut flora as they are sometimes called) so that you get the maximum benefit from your food. The link between Good Bacteria and the Immune System The function of the bodys immune system is to tackle invaders and destroy unhealthy cells. Your intestines contain more immune cells than the rest of your body and it is thought that the beneficial bacteria in the gut play a role in stimulating the immune system when necessary. The food we eat and the condition of our digestive system can have a profound effect on both physical and mental health, and has been linked to conditions including autism, dyslexia, depression, dyspraxia, ADD, ADHD, and schizophrenia . (1) Food can affect how we feel and create physical and mental reactions What we eat can affect how we feel, and how we feel affects what we eat. For example, the body biochemical serotonin is said to be linked to depression and many anti-depressants are designed to target the way serotonin works. Most of the serotonin in the body is found in the gut and just as certain foods and vitamins affect serotonin levels, it is a two way process and serotonin levels affect the foods we want to eat. This is just one example of food and feelings being entwined. Another is where reactions to certain foods lead to developing a range of symptoms, often not realising that food may be at the root of them. There have been many documented case histories where both physical and mental illness have been shown to be caused by susceptibilities to certain foods and to chemicals.These include hyperactivity, alcoholism, headaches, arthritis, fatigue and depression and can include everyday foods such as corn and wheat, food additives and flavourings, or pesticides and preservatives. (2) Re-establishing good gut flora - the millions of microbes that live in our gut that we rely on for help with properly digesting our food - and making changes to support these important and beneficial residents can help to make a difference to how we feel.
Food, Compassion and Body Respect
It is possible to be very knowledgeable about food, deeply committed to personal, social and planetary wellbeing, and still struggle to put our ideas and ideals into practise. Sound familiar? If youre someone for whom efforts at self-care around food and wellbeing turn your body into battleground you could benefit from an approach to nutrition science that starts by understanding our relationship with food, and is grounded in compassion. Anyone who has spent time on and off the diet rollercoaster knows how dispiriting it is to alternate between the hope and relief of feeling in control around food and the despair and self-blame of feeling out of control - again. Exploring the links between personal behaviours and social attitudes to eating, weight, appearance and health can be an important step for people of all sizes and identities in making peace with food and their body.