What does being “Healthy” mean to me?

One of the most common questions I get asked is “What’s the best diet” or “what should I eat.” These questions always erk me a bit. People are too focused on eating a certain way that we’ve forgotten to eat just for our own health and enjoyment. So when I was asked to speak to a group of women last month, I wanted to show them what my perception of being healthy meant.
These are a few of the notes I spoke about.

  • Eat Real Food- Get away from pre-packaged food and focus on whole foods that nourish our bodies. It’s all too convenient to grab fast food or heat something up in the microwave. Jamie Oliver says it best “Real food doesn’t have ingredients, real food IS ingredients.” Real food is full of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals and is completely natural to our bodies. We know how to digest it and store the nutrients. Processed food is typically laden down with excess fats, high amounts of sugar and sodium, additives, and preservatives. So where does it start?
    There’s a rule that I highly recommend and follow myself.
    – 80:20 rule. If you can eat “good” 80% of the time, you can typically eat whatever the other 20% of the time. Let’s break it down: 21 meals per week = 16 healthy meals and 5 “cheat” meals per week. This is the key to successfully changing and sticking to any dietary plan.
  • Avoid Toxins- What is a toxin? Any substance that can cause harm to the body. Toxins come in many forms and from different sources.
    Food sources: sugar, pesticides, preservatives, additives, GMOs, chlorinated water.
    Cosmetic sources: make-up, deodorant, shampoos. Our skin absorbs all of these toxins.
    Environmental sources: pollution, cleaning supplies, pesticides.
    People: thoughts, images.
  • Eat lots of Good Fats- Yes, we need fat – the right kind – in moderation. There are different types of fat. The good (monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, omega oils, etc.), the bad (saturated), and the ugly (trans fat, hydrogenated). Fat is needed by many things in the body, such as, hormones, vitamin synthesis, cholesterol, organ cushioning, hair, skin, and nails, etc.
  • Don’t Count Calories- this is why most diets fail. It’s just unrealistic and hard to maintain. Think quality over quantity. The value of the food is so much more important than being low calorie. Typically, low calorie foods are higher in sugar. So would you rather eat something that has no substance or nutrients to it or consume a nutrient dense meal that will satisfy you and your body’s needs.
  • Try to Eat Local & Organic – It’s important to eat foods that are native to us. Support local.
    Organic does make a difference, especially with certain foods. Peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries, spinach, apples, etc. are some of the most heavily sprayed produce. This goes back to avoiding toxins.
  • Listen to your body- tune in; ask your body how it feels. Do you notice how certain food makes you feel?

Other tools to live by:

  • Give Thanks
  • Laugh Lots
  • Live Enthusiastically

Agree or disagree. This is my personal opinion of what being healthy means to me and it is how I try to live my life.
-H

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About Hannah Pidgeon, RHN

Graduated from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition in 2011. Consulting in Charlottetown, PEI. Mama to a beautiful baby girl.
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