Does our nutrition really matter?
There is so much sickness going around these days. And for those of us with chronic illnesses, it can be difficult to navigate the best ways for us to take care of ourselves. Our immune systems need balancing, not boosting.
I know I don’t want to be hit with any of the crazy crud that has been circling around me so I’ve been reading a lot about natural ways to support my health and to help my immune system function the way it is supposed to.
Number one is diet. Yes, I “preach” about diet all the time. It really is the foundation of everything though. How we fuel our body effects how every single body system functions. Not getting proper nutrients can break down immune function, leaving us vulnerable to catching many types of illnesses. Basically, malnutrition paves the way for infections and their complications. (1)
What happens when our nutrition is off?
When we are deficient in macro-nutrients (fats, carbs, proteins) or micronutrients (vitamins/minerals/etc), our body systems are unable to function correctly. Adequate nutrition, most especially protein, vitamin, and mineral intake help improve our body’s resistance against infection. If you’re like me, the word malnutrition causes images of the severely malnourished to pop into your head. But unfortunately, much malnutrition exists that isn’t visible until serious damage occurs. And much of it has nothing to do with poverty but rather food choice. (yes, we do need to address the issue of hunger in the US and around the world, but that isn’t the point of this particular post)
On top of immune system issues, our invisible malnutrition due to poor diet can cause increase inflammatory levels, low energy, inability to focus, skin issues, auto-immune conditions, Type 2 Diabetes, osteoporosis, cardiovascular issues, and a whole lot more. Often we just don’t connect the dots between our bag of junk food and our health concerns. (2)
Many of us make poor food choices because it’s easy, because we don’t feel well and something packaged is SO simple. Or maybe we’re busy, or picky, or we think its too expensive or any number of reasons. But the bottom line is we need to take our nutrition seriously.
So what does a healthy diet consist of?
It can depend on who you talk to (Paleo, Keto, Whole30, gluten free, vegetarian, vegan…..and it goes on and on) I’m a believer in listening to your body to narrow down what is good for you, but here are universals:
- Water (hydration is crucial)
- Healthy fats (like avocado, oil, salmon, nuts)
- Healthy proteins
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- NONprocessed carbs – if it has ingredients you can’t pronounce, then skip it
As spoonies, we do need to pay attention to foods that trigger inflammation. For many that is wheat and dairy, but you may have others that trigger. Keep a food diary and note how you feel each day to help identify the foods you need to avoid. Also, don’t fall for the Low-Fat trap. We’ve been programmed to think fat is bad – but we need it for our brains to function, for our immune system to work right. Just stick to the good fats, and you’ll be good.
My mom used to menu plan based on color of the foods. She wasn’t wrong. You don’t need to spend time tracking calories or macros unless that’s really your thing – just eat a wide variety of real foods in a wide variety of colors and you’ll go a long way towards being healthier.
What do I eat?
I eat basically Paleo – with a little cheese here and there. But I still feel like I fall short so I take supplements to bridge the gap. My favorites are doTERRA’s LifeLong Vitality. They are food based and easily absorbed by your body. They definitely help me fill in the gap. Many of my clients & members of my oil community love them too. Here are some of their experiences. If you’re interested in more info, I’d love to give you more deets.
Bottom line though, while it won’t prevent us from ever getting sick, the right diet can keep our immune system on better track, it can reduce inflammatory levels, give us more energy and better focus improve the appearance of our skin, and a whole lot more.
We have adapted our grocery shopping habits over the years – menu planning, prepping veggies and fruits for easy snacks and lunches, watching ads to shop sales, eating seasonally – all of those things has made it easier and more affordable to have a better diet. No, it’s not easy and YES sometimes we eat junk, but over all we do a good job and by making up the difference with our Lifelong Vitality supplements.