You Are What You Eat (and How!)
Lesson 7 Chapter 3
‘Your diet is a bank account. Good food choices are good investments.’ - Bethenny Frankel
Okay, now we have discussed the importance of regular exercise for a good mindset, it’s time to look at the next part of our strategy for getting you thinking (and acting) more positively!
Yep, it’s time to think about how your diet affects your mind and then look at what small changes you can do to make some big differences towards a better mindset.
I just want to state that I’m not a professionally qualified dietician or nutritionist and do not claim to be an ‘expert’ in the field of food. However, I have been interested in the relationship between nutrition and health for over 40 years - and these suggestions are the culmination of just some of what I have come to learn during that time.
My Approach to Food
These recommendations cover multiple types of diets. I am personally not a practising vegan or vegetarian – although I have been both and respect everyone’s choices when it comes to eating (whether for conscientious, religious or health-related reasons). So, if any of my recommendations do not fit in with your specific dietary code, or any of my suggestions in this course for that matter, please feel free to ignore them and move on to any that do resonate and work for you.
Now, with that out the way, let’s get on with the (main) course!
Hippocrates may be one of the most famous physicians ever, but not a huge lot is known about him other than he was Greek, lived in the 5th century BC and has this famous (and one of my favourite) quotes attributed to him:
‘Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.’
Obviously, he probably achieved lots more in his life, but let’s stick with this sound bite for now, because it’s still 100% correct and relevant to how we can move towards making your mind work and feel at its optimum.
The Optimum Diet
‘Hey there’s 3 things I never talk about with people; politics, religion and diet!’ - Daniel Vitalis
As with all the parts of the course, I am not going to prescribe a particular diet for anyone to rigidly follow (for some of the reasons already mentioned). Instead, I am going to make some suggestions which you can follow or not depending on your preferences etc.
Of course, there is an optimum diet for humans. The problem is that we all seem to pretty much completely disagree with what it is!
On top of that, we are all at different stages of our life journey, live in different places with different weather, foods and have varying resources. Plus, we all follow different sets of ethical, religious and personal codes, and have our unique tastes, goals, budgets and criteria we wish to follow.
So, for these reasons (and to try not to upset anyone too much – which when it comes to food can happen very quickly indeed!), I will try as much as possible to avoid preaching and will instead just make the following simple and straightforward 15 do and don’t guidelines that work for me and you might want to consider adopting:
1. Drink lots of good quality water (distilled is best as are glass bottles)
2. Make sure you chew your food and appreciate each mouthful
3. Always eat a healthy breakfast
4. Try and eat fresh organic food when possible
5. Balance your fruit and vegetables with sufficient protein and healthy fats
6. Invest in copper pots, pans and utensils (they have tons of health benefits)
7. Start using virgin coconut, olive or avocado oil instead of vegetable or sunflower
8. Always sit down to eat and remain seated for a few minutes after you have eaten
9. Do plan your meals and cook your own food at home
10. Do wash your food before you prepare it
11. If you can grow your own food (and herbs!), do, and also try to eat seasonally when possible
12. Read the labels on all the ready-made food you buy
13. Keep your vegetables crunchy and always grill instead of fry
14. Try and keep the body slightly alkaline - an easy tip here is lemon juice with water in the morning
15. Listen to your body - learn to identify the difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger!
1. Don’t eat late at night before you go to bed or when you are angry
2. Don’t eat sugary foods or sweets. Sugar is incredibly bad for you (and highly addictive)
3. Don’t eat tinned, processed or junk food (remember – fresh or frozen are better)
4. Don’t eat too much bread, pasta or grains (basically avoid inflammatory gluten as much as possible)
5. Don’t think that brown granary bread is going to be any better for you than white bread – I find it is often the reverse!
6. Never drink sweet fizzy drinks (including diet drinks and energy drinks) or super sweet smoothies or fruit juice
7. Don’t do fad or crash diets (although some fasting and detoxing can be good)
8. Don’t overdo the salt (and start using Himalayan sea salt if you haven’t already)
9. Don’t eat too much soya (the estrogenic isoflavones play havoc with your hormones)
10. Don’t eat too much fruit (fructose is natural sugar – but it's still sugar!)
11. Don’t overdo the inflammatory legumes and beans (they contain high amounts of lectin - which plants use to keep insects away)
12. Don’t eat GMO food (often now referred to as 'bioengineered food') - in my opinion there has simply not been enough long-term independent research on them
13. Don’t overdo the tomatoes, peppers and white potatoes (all are deadly nightshade vegetables!)
14. Don’t use margarine (grass-fed Irish butter is best)
15. Don’t eat anything with aspartame, e.g. NutraSweet (oh and avoid Agave Nectar too)
p.s. If you still smoke - you really need to think about going back to normal i.e. living a smoke free life. As with pretty much everything else, smoking is bad for your digestive system! If you need help, just let me know. I have a 100% success rate helping people break this habit loop.
My 5 Bonus tips;
1. If you like boiled eggs (which I do – especially for breakfast), seriously consider buying an egg boiler – they are fantastic!
2. When it comes to food choices, think of your body more as a laboratory rather than a bank account with calories in and calories out!
3. Don’t forget the fermented foods; sauerkraut, yoghurt and kefir are my favourites. I am not personally a huge fan of kombucha – and would advise being careful and doing your own research before going down this path.
4. Herbs and herbal oils are awesome. My favourite one's are oregano oil, blackseed oil and tumeric powder - all have incredible health and healing properties!
5. The therapeutic herbal plant 'rhodiola rosea' commonly called 'golden root' has for centuries been considered to have boosting mental health properties. These allegedly include; mood boosting, emotional stabilizing, mental fatigue, stress, neurological benefits (include anti-aging) and even mild perception altering qualities.
6. And last but not least, if your aim is just to lose weight - which in many cases alone will automatically improve your health, mindset and physical performance - never forget the golden rule; burn more calories than you eat!
(Note: as with all things diet related, always make sure you get your supplements from a quality source, and before taking anything new like a herbal supplement always seek out medical advice first - especially if you are taking any other medications.)
In the next part, we will be looking at some simple but useful suggestions to help you be more positive by improving your quality of sleep!
Until then, bon appétit!