Oh hi there! Sorry it’s been a while since I’ve written. But I’m so excited; I completed my nutrition program. I am officially a certified health and nutrition coach! WOOHOO

Before I get into my ramblings, let me summarize my first two blogs.

A Review of My First Blogs

Blog 1: Why I don’t diet. Instead of trying out the latest trendy diet, losing weight at first, and then gaining it all back, just eat nutritious food. I follow this guideline to maintain a healthy weight, but more importantly, I eat nutritious food because my body needs it to function. Burgers and fries aren’t gonna keep my strong, energetic, and healthy! But don’t worry; nutritious food does NOT have to be boring or taste bad. I’ll give you lots of tips and suggestions in my blogs and posts!

Blog 2: The first steps for eating healthy food. Prepare your own food as much as possible, so that you have control over what goes on your plate and in your body. You wouldn’t let just anyone put whatever they wanted on your hair or skin, right? So why are we so trusting when it comes to food that we put into our bodies? When eating food, think of the ingredients. What are you really eating? What’s really in that cereal? In those cheese curls? In that can of soup?

And now…blog #3!

You might be thinking “sooooo what SHOULD I be eating?!”

At the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, we follow this general format:

-Notice that HALF of our meal should be fruits and vegetables (with a heavier focus on veggies). And that’s not just dinner. Half of ALL the food that we eat should be fruits and veggies! Only ¼ of our meal should be protein. And we do need some healthy fat to help us absorb all those nutrients. I read a good quote the other day by Dr. Ann Myers. She said “Many say we are what we eat. But I say we are what we absorb.” If you eat vegetables without a healthy fat, you’ll be losing out on some of those vitamins. Just because we eat something doesn’t mean we absorb it.

-Notice that dairy is not pictured here. It should not be thought of as a food group. Many people have trouble digesting it. It might even be causing your child’s recurring ear infections. We don’t actually need dairy; there are plenty of other foods that have calcium (nuts, greens, to name a few.) I do still consume dairy (because cheese is freaking delicious) but soooooo much less than I used to.

-Notice the section for grains. It says whole grains. So important! If you care about your health (and I think that everyone should), try to focus on whole grains and save refined for when they’re unavoidable. Whole grains include 100% whole wheat, quinoa, brown rice and brown rice products, farro, millet, oats, barley, etc. I’ll be sure to write a blog one day solely on grains. I should also note that some people just do better without them. Some health experts believe that those with autoimmune diseases should absolutely avoid gluten, and avoid all grains as well. But if you seem to do fine with eating them, go for it! Just keep them whole.

-Notice the words around the plate? Spirituality, relationships, physical activity, career. We need a strong sense of worth, some connectedness to the world and people around us, and exercise in order to feel well. If we followed a perfect diet but hated our job, we wouldn’t truly be healthy. Mind/body/spirit. It’s all connected!

-Notice the cup of water outside the plate. Our bodies are more than 50% water. We really do need to keep replenishing that water or else we’re gonna feel like crap. Coffee, Miller Lite, and orange juice do NOT count!

Your Food

Think of some of your typical meals. What do you eat for breakfast? What does a typical dinner look like? How do these meals compare to this plate?

So. When you are building a meal, or thinking about your food for the day, please think of this plate if you want to nourish your body. Don’t spend all your time and attention on your meat and potatoes, and then heat up some frozen vegetables as an afterthought. The veggies are half your meal so focus on those instead. Make them delicious and they’ll get eaten! Serve them as an appetizer so your family won’t say “I’m too full to eat my broccoli!”

Thank you for reading! I wish you health, safety, and happiness!

photo by Angela Noblett