The field of nutrition is a treacherous area to cover. With constantly changing ideas and research coming forward every day, there is so much conflicting information to sort through and critically analyse. Legally I need to announce that I am not a qualified nutritionist however through my own personal struggles with health and a passion for holistic living, I have put countless hours into researching nutrition and the link to both performance and vitality (in particular to females.)
My overall consensus on nutrition is that it should always be based on bioindivuality. How insane is it to promote “paleo” or “high fat” or “ low carb” to the population when we are all made up differently? And not just a little differently, very differently! We all have different genetics, metabolisms, intolerances and physiques which will determine how our bodies respond to food, and this should always be the top consideration of anybody promoting advice on nutrition.
My biggest advice for you all is to find out what works for you and answer to how your body feels. If you have tried going vegan yet you are always exhausted, don’t do it. If you are feeling really awful after a coffee even though your mate feels great then stop drinking them! Listen to your body, experiment and find out what works best for your unique composition.
Though I strongly preach a bioindivual perspective there are a few cornerstone guidelines I personally like to follow to help me feel my best, keep my blood sugar levels stable and help me get the most out of my days.
We should be drinking a whole heap of water, and I mean a lot. 80 percent of people are walking round in a chronic state of dehydration. Spending as much time in the elements as we do, our water consumption should be maximised above the average persons if we want to function well and keep up our immunity. You can read more about this here if this interests you.
Our diet should not focus on deprivation, rather an introduction to foods that are equally attractive and nourish our bodies. I aim not to cut tim tams out, but to provide a healthy alternative which is equally as delicious (if not more) and packed with nutrients that replenish our body after all that work it has done for us.
Performance and nutrition go hand in hand. A person will never perform at their best if adequate nutrition is compromised.
Refined sugar throws a real spanner in the works with both moods, energy levels, and mental and emotional responses. Try and slowly lower your consumption of refined sugar to really reap the benefits of good health.
Something that I am passionate about which falls under the nutritional section is the ethics of the meat that you are sourcing. By lowering our consumption of animal products (meat, dairy etc) we can make a huge change for the environment, the wellbeing of the vulnerable (animals) and even our health.
Our society is not designed to adopt a plant based diet. Everywhere you go, terrible food is thrown into our faces. The media tells us that we need meat and dairy to be healthy and strong. This is a misconception. Economies depend of dairy (for example my country New Zealand) so the media pushes dairy for its financial gain. Are they thinking about your wellbeing? No. Are they thinking about money? Yes
Am I saying you must go completely vegan tomorrow? No, not if your body can’t seem to handle it. Am I suggesting to reduce the amount of animal products you consume, in particular from non organic and non free range sources? 100 percent. If any change is to happen in this world we need consumers to be mindful, and that starts with you.
If you buy meat…
Ensure that you know where this is coming from. By buying organic, free range meat you are giving a vote for animals to at least have the right to move around within their own space. Though in an ideal world, you would catch your own kill from an animal that was roaming around completely free, a vote against factory farming is a vote worth counting.
As well as ethically, it is important to consider that animals that have been produced purely for the production of human consumption are basically artificially manufactured. They are pumped with growth hormones, antibiotics and are fed with genetically modified grains. They are crammed into tiny areas, a breeding arena for bacteria and are not only badly treated but absolutely tortured.
Not only am I talking about meat…think milk
Think about this. If cows are being pumped with growth hormones and antibiotics, what does this mean for the milk? Although milk does provide a lot of very useful nutrients for our body, they can be found in other forms. The best way to lessen both cruelty to animals and potential junk entering our system is to buy milk that comes form an organic and free range source, preferably from your local area (if you have one.)
Tricks of this trade
Often packages say things such as “natural” or ” freshly farmed” but do not be fooled. Natural does not mean that chickens are not horrendously tortured, that cattle have their basic needs met, or that they are living lives free of fear and horror. In fact realistically, even products that claim to be “free range” or “organic” can skimp around ethical guidelines that I believe we should all be demonstrating. If you go to an organic butcher don’t be afraid to ask for answers. If you are too afraid to hear what has happened to an animal you are eating, how are you alright with putting a tortured and mutilated being into your body?