Foundations of Health

May 22, 2017

In life we can get carried away with minor details, following the latest trends, keeping up with the Jones’ and just ultimately trying to achieve greater results and successes.  However … it is all about the foundations.  If we don’t start with great foundations then nothing will last, nothing will work longterm, and inevitably will negatively impact your life.  Nutrition is one of these things.  There are so many food trends, fads that come and go, crazes that are in the media and it is easy to want to try to stay on top of it all.  However, the question I ask is have you got the fundamentals of your nutrition right?

It is crucial for our health to get a good balance of your macronutrients, to maintain a healthy blood sugar level, keep energy up, support your microbiotica, provide your cells with nutrients to perform their thousands of functions and promote overall longevity.

What are these macronutrients? 

Many people think that this category is made up of all grain products such as breads, rice, pasta, cereals etc.  This is certainly true, however it expands to all vegetables, fruits and simple sugars such as sweet treats.  Essentially all carbohydrates break down into a form of sugar which is then ultimately broken down and utilised as energy, and what isn’t used is then stored for energy later in on the form of fat.  

For quality carbohydrate consumption it should be plant based products ie vegetables and fruit.  Anything that has had to be stripped/processed/baked/manufactured for our consumption should be eliminated and is generally too high in carbohydrate leading us to blood sugar imbalances and excess fat storage.

Protein is in most foods but is high in mostly animal products and eggs.  It is also available for vegetarians from legumes, soy products, nuts and seeds and some grains like quinoa.  Protein is broken down into amino acids and is the basis for all building blocks in our system, from immune cells to muscle to hormones to hair and skin cells.  

For optimal protein consumption choose good quality ideally organic or at least pasture raised meat, organic eggs, sustainable fish and ensure to soak legumes before consumption.  I tend to not recommend soy products due to the variability in its quality and due to its estrogenic compounds it can have negative hormonal effects for some people.

Fat is derived from plant foods such as avocado, nuts and seeds, coconut, olives, as well as oily fish – salmon, tuna, mackerel and also animal fats from meat and dairy.  Fats are essential for maintenance of healthy hormones, nervous system function, brain tissue, blood sugar balance and overall cellular integrity and communication.  Your fat consumption should ideally come from your plant fats – avocado, nuts and seeds, good quality oils.  You certainly can consume good quality animal fat as well but just not as high amounts, and you definitely want to avoid any processed fats such as margarine, hyrogenated oils, processed oils such as canola and safflower oil as these have had many negative health effects in our body.

Your food should be in its most pure form, from what nature intended.  Nothing that has had to be manufactured for your consumption.  Not only do we need your macronutrients but Micronutrients are essential.  This is your vitamins and minerals and are in their most absorbable form in their whole parts ie the whole plant.  Consuming processed foods with fortified nutrients is never a good way to consume your nutrition.  For example, all macronutrients although they essentially break down to similar parts are not equal.  Consuming your carbohydrates from either broccoli or white bread – one provides a heap of minerals, phytonutrients, detoxifying compounds and fibre and the other, well, strips your body of nutrients due to its acidic nature, causes constipation from its lack of fibre, high carbohydrate load leading to fat storage and energy depletion.

When shopping you want to shop ideally from a farmers market and butchery to ensure fresh produce (and support local suppliers) or if in a supermarket the outside aisles.  

Your diet should be plant based with adequate protein.  There should always be an abundance of colour from a variety of vegetables/salad/fruit and should be in season ie eating salad in winter goes against the grain and your body does not respond to eating cold food in cold weather.  

Everyone has different requirements when it comes to their ratios of each macro profile. For a basic idea though, and the average person for good health should be having – Carbohydrates (vegetables/salads/fruit) should be about the size of your hand, Protein (meat/legumes) should be about your palm size and thickness, and Fat (avocado, oils, nuts and seeds) should be 3 fingers worth.  If you are wanting to trim down, bulk up, are an athlete, child, elderly or have any health disorders these ratios may need to change to give you the right breakdown to work best with where you are at.  

If you are looking to change your health and diet and looking to follow the latest fad, please get your nutritional basics first.  Just Eat Real Food. From there you can tweek it further and experiment but please don’t try fit the fancy trimmings on the house before you have the foundations of it laid solidly.  Find the right balance to suit you and if you need help to adjust it for your needs seek help from myself or another health professional to tailor it for you as google often doesn’t get it right.

For some ideas of different types of meals using real foods, please flick through the recipes section on our blog for some inspiration.


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