by Dr. James Rouse
This is your year to transcend and thrive! The right diet and lifestyle can be a blueprint to build over-the-top, fired-up metabolism, cellular vibrancy, mental and emotional clarity and inspiration. Diet comes from the Greek word diaita, which means, way of life. It is nearly impossible to sustain and thrive with a healthy diet alone; that is, in the absence of a healthy way of living. A healthy diet is integrally connected to a healthy outlook, positive daily rituals and experiences of movement, service, community, intimacy, friendship creativity and purpose. When your world is intentionally full with these practices your diet (almost magically) tends to be full of nourishment and satisfaction. When your life is more ‘sweet,’ you tend to crave less sugar. If you want to make good on your healthy eating intentions this year and beyond consider stocking your day and life with these synergistic forms of nourishment while you stock your fridge and pantry: deep friendships, unbridled play, purposeful work and service, spiritual connection and community (no additives, no preservatives and nothing artificial).
I consider myself an evolving omnivore that is a lifelong student of nutrition. I love good tasting, healthy, and nutritious food! In the last 20 years I have tried and experimented with macrobiotics, veganism, vegetarianism, pescatarianism and today I really know what works for me. I now put energy and intention on eating more locally and sustainably; doing my best to eat clean and consciously. There is no ‘one size fits all’ way to eat. We are blessed with biochemical individuality . To a certain extent you need to be somewhat of an adventurer and investigator to discover what feeds you best. Keeping a food journal along with how you feel physically and emotionally can certainly help you discover which foods really work for you and which ones make you a little crazy, cranky or just plain uncomfortable.
The Mediterranean diet is a great place to start and the diet I personally embrace and clinically encourage. This diet emphasizes non-inflammatory foods including wild caught fish, nuts, legumes, olive oil, colorful vegetables, whole grains, local fruits, and to a lesser extent, humanely raised and harvested poultry, pork and beef; oh, and wine ( love it). Choosing a Mediterranean style of eating is supported by the scientific literature.
Evidence shows that a Mediterranean diet may help lower the risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and certain cancers. Naturally rich in fiber, antioxidants, and healthy fats, going Mediterranean should cover most all of
your New Year’s healthy diet intentions. Calorie–wise, it’s all about portions, no matter what type of diet regime you follow. A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that the Mediterranean diet was more effective for weight loss than a low fat diet. Hopefully you’re feeling hungry for great vitality and well-being and are inspired to make this year the beginning of a sustainable journey towards the ever-evolving you.
To thrive each and every day you have an opportunity to put these empowering practices to work for you:
-Feed your head first, your body second, and your emotions last. Whole-food nutrition naturally creates a chemical expression of confidence, balance and optimism. When your mind is fed well by eating real food, healthy food, and not skipping meals or snacks, your whole being is in a state of greater hormonal happiness. Strive to eat a whole food meal and/or balanced snack approximately every 3 hours throughout the day.
-Become a morning person and eat your breakfast! Breakfast eaters are the healthiest people around. They have lower rates of heart disease and obesity along with greater levels of productivity, energy and positivity.
-Add nutritious foods rather than delete the not so nutritious choices. Your body chemistry will “adjust” and begin to want healthy foods over the junk. For example, instead of snacking on a giant bag of potato chips, consider crunching on some celery topped with almond butter or peanut butter.
-Water your happiness. Our bodies are more than 75% water. Dehydration makes us more tired and hungry and as a result we often crave sugar and caffeine when instead we should be having a glass of water.
-Sweat your prayers daily with mindful movement and exercise. Dance, play, jump or hoola hoop; it’s all good for your mind and body, memory and emotions. Exercise lowers stress, lifts positivity and raises every role you play in life, be it parent, spouse, friend, lover.
-Be grateful. Keep a gratitude journal and be healthier. Research suggests that this practice, combined with healthy eating and exercise, keeps us happier and healthier.
This month you may be romanced by a myriad of sexy and non-sustainable diets that promise results in mere days. Our egos and ‘lesser selves’ love the idea of a quick fix detox or radical interventions to heal bellies and butts gone bad. To realize your greatest mission and life expression get clear about what you are truly hungry for; peace and fulfillment, conviction with purpose and creative connection. These experiences will feed you greater than any one food or diet. Nourish and support your life with a clean, whole and sustainable eating and living plan. Trust that you are ready to take your body and your life from average to amazing. Balance is the path and the journey is most delicious.
Dr. James Rouse is an esteemed member of the Wellness Council for Human Touch(r). To learn about how to achieve balance at home along with a healthy outlook and diet, take a look at a few health and wellness tips here.