It’s the number one question my clients ask.
The tough thing is, there is not one answer that is right for everyone!
What is true for everyone is this – we ALL need less:
- processed / packaged foods
Every one of us should be eating more:
- nuts (unless you’re allergic!)
- healthy fats
and drinking lots and lots of water.
How do you figure out the rest? How do you know if you should be eating vegan, vegetarian, paleo, keto, or any of the other eating styles you’ve heard about?
The answer can be complicated for most because it’s not one that we’re used to – you must listen.
You must listen to what your body is saying to you about food. You must become aware of signs that something isn’t right for you or that you need more of something you’re missing.
How do you do this? By sloooooowing down.
Too many of us rush through meals. Not only are we not taking the time to plan healthy meals, we’re rushing around, eating while driving and not taking time to properly chew our food. Did you know the act of chewing is what begins the process of digestion? Chewing releases enzymes your body needs to break down the foods you’re consuming. When you rush through meals, not taking time to chew, you’re inhibiting your body’s ability to properly absorb nutrients!
Here are six tips that will help you get the most benefit from the foods you’re consuming and answer the question, “What Should I Eat?”:
- Think about your ancestral heritage. I know, it sounds weird. But our DNA plays a big part in telling our body what foods we need. Take traditional family favorites and create healthier versions of them.
- Slow down. Chewing a bite of food at least 20 times is a good starting point.
- Pay attention to how you feel after a meal. Not just right after, but several hours and even a day later. Are you dealing with headaches, fatigue, anxiety, bloating, gas, skin irritations, joint pain or other uncomfortable symptoms?
- Keep a food and symptom diary. This will help you begin to see patterns. Write down your meals, snacks, drinks, everything. You may even want to record the time of day that you ate. Keep track of any of the symptoms mentioned above. After a week or two, see if you can find a pattern that connects a symptom to a food.
- Try eliminating foods that you suspect may be causing issues. There is a wealth of information out there on elimination diets and how to properly go about them. This is one of the most reliable methods (in my opinion) of finding out for yourself which foods you may need to remove from your eating plan. (I love the Whole30 plan. You can find info on that here.)
- Last, but certainly not least, don’t get discouraged. Over time, our bodies change, which means the way we eat will probably need to change, too. Learning to listen to what your body is saying it does or doesn’t need means you’ll be setting yourself up for a lifetime of feeling like your happiest, healthiest, most energetic self.
Do you have any tips for learning to listen to your body’s signals about foods it does or doesn’t need? Share them below. Have questions? I love to answer them. Ask away in the comments!