What You Eat and Drink is Just As Important As How You Eat and Drink

Everyone has heard (and maybe lived through) the intense focus of how much you eat.  This has gotten way too much attention because while this does affect your weight and energy level, it’s certainly not the “holy grail” of health.

Let’s focus a bit more on the often overlooked benefits of what you eat and drink and how you eat and drink it.

What You Eat and Drink, Counts!

The “calories in, calories out” philosophy (i.e. how much you eat) is being drowned out with research on other factors that may be just as important.  Don’t get me wrong limiting calories, carbs or fat can certainly help you lose weight but that’s simply not the only factor for long-term weight loss and maximum energy for everyone.

While counting calories, carbohydrates, proteins and fat can be helpful, don’t forget to also pay attention to what you are eating! Ideally, you need a varied diet full of minimally-processed foods (i.e. fewer “packaged” or “ready-to-eat” foods).  This simple concept is paramount for weight loss, energy, and overall health and wellness.

Every day this is what you should aim for:

A colourful array of fruits and veggies at almost every meal and snack. You need the fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

Sufficient protein intake. Making sure you get all of those essential amino acids (bonus: eating protein can increase your metabolism)!

Healthy fats and oils (never “hydrogenated” ones). There is a reason some fatty acids are called “essential” – you need them as building blocks for your hormones and brain as well as to be able to absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins from your healthy salads.  Use extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, eat your organic egg yolks, and consume grass-fed meats, when possible.  You don’t need to overdo it here.  Just make sure you’re getting some high-quality fats.

How You Eat and Drink, Counts!

Are you rushed, not properly chewing your food, and possibly suffering from gastrointestinal issues? Do you drink your food? The interplay of stress, digestion and mindfulness have an the ability to affect your GI health and functioning. If you don’t know where to start, a naturopathic approach to care can help.

When it comes to how you eat let’s first look at “mindful eating”. Mindful eating means to take smaller bites, eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and savour every bite.  Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture.  Breathe. This gives your digestive system the hint to prepare for digestion and to secrete necessary enzymes.

This can also help with weight loss because eating slower, often means eating less.  Did you know that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full? More thoroughly chewed food is easier to digest and it makes it easier to absorb all of those essential nutrients.

And don’t forget about the quality of your beverages!

Smoothies can be healthy and a fabulously easy and tasty way to get in some fruits and veggies (hello leafy greens!) but drinking too much of this can contribute to weight increases. If you notice this, you may need to shift perceptions and consider a large smoothie a full meal, not a snack. Pro-Tip: try adding 1 tbsp of ground flax and chia to increase the plant protein, fiber and omega-3 fatty acid component of your smoothies!

In Short – Consider not only how much you eat, but also what and how you eat it.

Let’s connect! We are here to help you have a pleasant in-office and virtual naturopathic consultation. Please call our North York Clinic or Waterdown Clinic, or email us at naturopathiccare@drjudynd.com. Let us know what times are best to connect with you. We will be in touch with you within 24 hours.

Dr. J. Ancheta Goguen, Naturopathic Doctor 2023

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