Updated: Jan 3
Food is medicine! Every time we eat we are either supporting our body's ability to fight disease and illness or promoting cellular fatigue which can lead to disease. It is not your fault that you did not know this. We are not taught how to live a healthy lifestyle, which includes foods for healthy eating.
We learn how to eat from our families. Did you family focus on eating vegetables more than eating meat? Probably not. I know mine didn't. When I was growing up, meat was the primary focus. Meat was always served with either potatoes, pasta or rice. The very last food at dinner was maybe a vegetable or a salad.
Organic foods and grass-fed meat were a foreign concept. The bottom line was anything that could be microwaved and prepared fast were the type of meals I ate growing up. I don't blame my parents. They did the best they could. The truth is we know more today about how food impacts our health compared to 40 years ago when I was a growing child.
It wasn't until I was an adult, much later in life, that I started paying attention to food choices. I started reading about how eating a lot of meat isn't healthy for our bodies. I started reading about how increasing vegetables and reducing meat significantly helps our body stay healthy. Especially as we get older.
There is a very important part of our cells that is critical to good health - the mighty mitochondria. You may not have heard of the mitochondria unless you took a biology course in school. Even if you did learn about the mitochondria in school, you've probably forgotten what you have learned!
The mitochondria are the powerhouses of our cells turning what we eat into energy. They are also required for everyday functions of our cells and when they are damaged, the mitochondria may not be able to keep us healthy. (Source: Medical News Today)
What is unclear is if the mitochondria are damaged, do they cause disease or are they the victims of disease? What is clear is keeping the mitochondria healthy follows the same recommendations as the key to overall, healthy living: eat foods that are nutrient dense, move your body regularly, drink plenty of water and reduce stress as best as you can.
I started eating plant-based and cut meat out of my diet 3 days a week more than 10 years ago. I was shocked when about 9 months later my cholesterol dropped 20 points by making this simple change. My cholesterol wasn't even high!
After I had a measurable test result showing that I was doing the right thing for my body, I was hooked. Not only was I eating more vegetables, but the variety of what I was eating regularly grew immensely. There are so many more vegetables to choose from compared to just eating meat, chicken, pork and seafood all the time. I am definitely not bored!
When I went plant based, I also noticed that my digestion started to improve. I was like most people, my bowel movements were every couple of days and I would suffer from constipation. Growing up, I was told this is normal. That everyone has their own schedule. What a lie that is!
Studying Holistic Nutrition gave me a whole new perspective about digestive health. If we aren't pooping everyday, something is wrong with our gut! Think about it, poop is waste that is sitting in our colon, just waiting to be released.
When we don't get rid of the waste our body has accumulated, it ferments in our bowels and can cause bad bacteria to creep back into the body. While not having a bowel movement every day is one way to know our digestive system is not working properly, there are others.