Owning your nutrition is part of the overall picture when it comes to health. Your body is a system of many parts working together! For this installment in our #OwnYourHealth series, Certified Health Coach and founder of Healthy Chicks Rachel Kaczynski weighs in with her 6 tips to taking control of your nutrition.
6 Tips to Own Your Nutrition
With New Year’s resolutions in full swing, now is the perfect time to truly own your health & focus on you – and that can start with food.
1. Eat According to the Seasons
One of the simplest ways to eat a more nutritious diet is by following Mother Nature’s lead by eating what’s currently in season. This takes all the guess work out of it! Go for what’s fresh, local & currently growing as much as possible (i.e. no watermelon in the winter).
Some of my favorite hearty winter eats are sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, beets, blood oranges, parsnips and kale. Try roasting or sautéing your veggies in a little olive or coconut oil, or tossing them in a heart-warming pot of soup! Sustainable Table is a great resource to see what’s currently in season in your area.
2. Rock Your Gut Health
Your gut supports almost everything in your body, and many scientists have even begun referring to it as our “second brain.” Some simple habits you can start doing right away to promote a healthy gut are eating a whole foods diet (as processed foods can lead to unhealthy gut flora and leaky gut), upping your healthy fats like coconut oil (which contains anti-microbial properties to ween off “bad” bacteria) and adding in more good bacteria through fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi and probiotic supplements to rebuilt healthy bacteria levels.
3. Listen to Your Body
One of my favorite topics while studying at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition was bio-individuality, which is the concept that we are all different and what works for one may not work for another. This couldn’t be more true when it comes to nutrition! That’s why it’s so important to truly understand what works for your body by eating the foods that make you feel good (not your best friend.) I like to keep a food diary to note any symptoms that may arise from certain foods, like how eating gluten can make me feel bloated.
I took a WellnessFX test to see what’s going on inside, to provide an accurate starting point when the time comes to meet with a nutritionist or doctor. For example, someone who has a thyroid condition (especially those with Hashimoto’s or Grave’s Disease) may want to consider trying a gluten free diet as studies have shown your immune system can mistake the thyroid for gluten. Discuss with your doctor to see what the best protocol would be for you!
4. Crowd It Out
Many New Year’s resolutions involve going on a diet. Because restrictive diets can lead to feeling guilty, bingeing or overeating in the long run, instead I suggest something called “crowding out,” which is simply loading up on good-for-you nutritious eats (real, un-processed, whole foods) that helps crowd out the not-so-good stuff. When your body gets the nutrients it needs, you’ll feel nourished and in turn crave less packaged, junk food.
5. Beware of Scams
Just because a product says “healthy” or “all natural” on the label doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for you, as these labels aren’t heavily regulated. I’ve seen candy bars labeled “all natural” even when they’re loaded with sugar or even high fructose, and fat-free snack foods packed with artificial ingredients. Many packaged snack companies tout eye-catching claims such as gluten-free, low calorie, or 0 grams of fat to grab your attention. And while the claim may be true, that can also be deceiving since it doesn’t also grab your attention to show you what’s actually in the product (and what you’ll be putting in your body).
My go-to trick is to get in the habit of reading the ingredients first, as that actually tells you what’s in the product without all the extra noise. At the end of the day, real, whole food (that which isn’t processed and comes from nature like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and eggs) doesn’t come in a package anyway!
6. Plan Ahead
Often times, people go for junk food or takeout simply because there are no other options. An effective way to prevent this is by planning ahead and stocking your fridge & pantry with whole foods as much as possible. Bookmark, pin and print recipe ideas during the week so you’ll have some inspiration while at the grocery store or farmer’s market. I like to keep a list going on my iPhone’s notepad so I can easily see what I need and which things I already have in the house. This makes meal-planning and grocery shopping a piece of cake (uh, kale).
What are some other ways you can own your nutrition this season? Which of these ideas can you implement?
How WellnessFX Can Help
This blog post is part of our Own Your Health series. We’ll be sharing tips and thoughts on wellness that are actionable and easy to bring into your everyday life.
To get these posts as soon as they’re published, subscribe to the WellnessFX blog. We won’t spam you (we don’t know how to do that) but you will get information on the latest updates we make + fun and healthy content, straight to your inbox.
About Rachel Kaczynski
Rachel Kaczynski (Chemerynski) is a Certified Health Coach and founder of Healthy Chicks, a wellness blog inspiring women in their 20s to live happier, healthier, more vibrant lives (without dieting). Kaczynski received her training from the world’s largest nutrition school, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and is certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners as a Certified Holistic Health Coach. She’s been rewarded Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution “Blog of the Month,” as well as a Move100 Ambassador, and her wellness writing has been published all over the web including The Huffington Post, MindBodyGreen, BostInno, and SpaFinder. Rachel currently resides in Boston, MA.
The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.