This season lends itself to what I believe to be the healthiest few months for eating and lifestyle. More and more farmer’s markets become available, pools open, there are outside activities galore (camping, beach trips, evening walks, local races); I am sure I am preaching to the choir.
However, when it comes to food, the definition of healthy varies with many. I bet what I define as healthy is different than the chiropractor or nutritionist down the street. As a dietitian for almost a decade and someone with type 1 diabetes for most of my life, healthy food should be something that makes us thrive, nurture our blood sugar and gut health and make us feel good and happy. All in all, there are solid recommendations that overlap with many health conscious beliefs and practices, from my advice to Dr Hyman’s thoughts, the Wild Diet, pescetarians, paleo/primal folks, the no sugar, no grains crew, etc. Even if you do not fall in the few groups I listed, consider the below with your efforts in being your healthiest this season.
- Give your innards a morning bath
I wish I could claim this metaphor, but I will give a shout out to the awesome podcaster Shawn Stevenson at “The Model Health Show,” for coming up with such. Aiming to drink 20-30 ounces of water first thing is good for your body, mind, metabolism, weight loss goals, blood sugar stability needs and energy. Yet, how many of us start with a cup of Joe? An easy way to do this is to place a water bottle on our nightstand or in a 20 ounce mason jar, so come morning it requires little effort to get the job done upon rising.
- Eat local and seasonally
Think about how much flavor there is in a tomato now verses February. Is your mouth watering just thinking about it? Enjoy all the flavors and colors we have readily available this summer. The sooner we eat fruits and vegetables from when they were picked, the more nutrition the food can have in it. Vitamins such as A, E, C and B vitamins start to deteriorate as soon as the produce is cropped. Another bonus, eating local is good for the environment.
- Focus on real food and fiber
While there are limitations with nutrition/food logging research, there are numerous studies supporting the conclusion that real food, that is minimally processed like fruits and vegetables support health more than any other food group. Being healthy is beyond the idea of eating low carb, low fat, or high protein, etc. Health is an umbrella of consuming needed micronutrients that energize our cells and allow us to thrive. Having fiber with our meals and snacks keep our weight goals easier, allow our food to digest slower, thus buffer the digestion of carbohydrates/controlling blood sugar and is good for our digestive system. Getting most of our fiber from vegetables is goal. Just tonight I had an awesome salad mixed with romaine, kale, red and green cabbage, carrots, fresh chives and basil, toppe dwith cracked pepper, sea salt, Italian olive oil and fresh blue berries. It was heavenly.
- Soak up the vitamin D
Get in touch with nature, and not only have fun with this suggestion, but support your circadian rhythms. Exposing ourselves to nature can allow such things. As well, getting more vitamin D,means getting more sun, which can follow through as more activity. If you find it hard to be active enough in the day, especially during the work week, review some of Dr Axe’s tips on 20 ways to get in more movement. Link here.
In closing, regardless of the season, eat intuitively, seek out activities that make you happy and hang with people who make you feel good about yourself.