We can live a healthy and vibrant life if we eat a variety of quality plant-based whole foods. In a perfect world, all the foods we eat would be rich in nutrients from luscious, vitamin rich soil. We would absorb all the minerals and goodness from our food and would have boundless energy. However the truth is, our soils are more depleted than ever before. The same carrot today doesn’t even resemble the same carrot 50 years ago. Fruits, veggies, and the foods even animals eat are lacking in crucial minerals (like zinc) for optimum health. Most Americans are pumped up on caffeine, stimulants, prescriptions, and are eating meat that was fed hormone ridden “food.” Our sweet bodies need some support; and not in a “quick fix” type of way. True health does not happen over night. This is true whether we are eating a plant-based diet or include meat and dairy. When people blame avoiding meat as a cause of feeling tired or illness, I like to remind them that the hospitals are full of people who eat meat in their diet and they are still sick… perhaps even more so. Studies show plant-based diets actually decrease the risk of many illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer. Check out: How Not To Die
WHERE SOME VEGANS/VEGETARIANS GO WRONG
Being plant based or even vegetarian is easy than ever. I am so grateful that going green and non-toxic is now a trendy thing. With this being said, there are dozens on “plant based shortcuts” like, mock cheeses, meats, and dairy-free sauces. Don’t get me wrong I love these foods. I absolutely indulge in vegan ice cream, cookies, and meatless pizzas. What can happen however, is sometimes when people decide to go vegetarian or vegan, but don’t do it mindfully. They load up on large amounts of empty processed carbs. Oreos and potato chips are great, but are not pillars of the optimum diet. No wonder these new vegetarians/vegans complain they are sick and tired. They didn’t focus on nutrients.
Whether vegan or transitioning to eat less meat, for great health and energy we want to make sure we eat the best quality live foods.
Fill your plate with vegetables, grains, seeds, nuts, good oils and fruits.
Eat a variety of different plants.
Eat as organic or pesticide-free as you can.
Don’t kill off all the good stuff with microwaving and/or overcooking your food.
THEN THE STRESS…
There is no avoiding stress completely. There are more demands on us than ever before. Whether its trying to be the perfect parent, the demands of meeting that sales quota, or being constantly connected to our devices. Work is harder than it ever has been, hour are longer than ever before, and the work-life balance is nearly non-existent.
While modern communication has increased the ease of our life, it has also significantly increased in speed. Exchanges that would take weeks by mail can now happen on the other side of the world in seconds. This can lead us to feel like we need to “do more.” But is doing more really the answer? We take pride in “grinding,” being “productive,” and adhering to the latest “productivity hacks.” In my opinion, when someone is exhausted from their work, they are doing it wrong.
We underestimate our need for adult play time. Where we calm our nervous system and simply chill out. Mediation, yoga, turning off your phone, and taking a walk is literally is the best medicine you can give your body. Our state of mind greatly influences what hormones the body produces. If your hormones are out of wack, illness can set in. The more stressed you are, the more nutrients your body uses and therefore requires. Stress kills.
Stress also comes in the form of what we put into our body. We want to avoid the foods that put more pressure on the body.
Foods – you know the ones; sugar, processed carbs, soft drinks, too much caffeine, alcohol, artificial flavors and colors. All of these “foods” put more pressure on our systems. For example tannins found in caffeine inhibit the absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium and B-vitamins. Alcohol inhibits the absorption and usage of vital nutrients such as Vitamin B1, vitamin B12, folic acid, and zinc. I am all for having a little sweet treat or enjoying a good cup of coffee, but don’t have them be staples in your diet.
Lastly we want to really be true with the state of our body. Breathe more, feel your heart beat. Ask yourself, “What is the best thing I can do for my body right now?” “Body, do you want to move, rest, eat?” “Am I truly hungry right now?” Acknowledge weaknesses like eating when you are bored, drinking alcohol when you don’t want to, eating that sugary or fried food when your body is screaming at you to stop. Our bodies are so intuitively intelligent. The human aspect of our physical selves can often be our greatest teacher, IF we are willing to be in conversation with it and listen. Our bodies show us signs in the forms of a stuffy nose, head ache, irritability, and lethargy. All are strong signals say, “Hey! Give me what I need; nourish me. I am running on empty!”
SUPPORTING THROUGH SUPPLEMENTATION
I don’t believe we want to blindly swallow a plethora of supplements, hoping one will heal you. There are innumerable causes of why an individual may be feeling a certain way. Seek out a Naturopath who can run some tests and help you with a program of herbs specific for your situation.
With that being said, a good across-the-board look at often-needed supplements whether eating plant-based diet or not include:
A deficiency of B12 can show with a foggy mind, memory problems, and fatigue. If you are on a strict plant-based diet, this is the number one supplement you should be taking. I love this Non- GMO Vegan Spray
Zinc is essential for our immune system, cell division and growth and wound healing. A few ways our body communicates that we are lacking in Zinc is: the little white spots on your nails, having constant infections, over-sensitivity, irritability, and even acne. If you are a mama to a child who gets angry easily, is a fussy eater, tires easily and is majorly reactive to the little things, your child could very well be in much need of some zinc too! Listen to your children’s bodies, their signals are even louder than ours.I recommend Garden of Life’s Raw Zinc.
What are we without a healthy gut? Everything from mood, weight loss, good skin, and better digestion starts in the gut. What is sad about most probiotics is that they break down before reaching the stomach. Most companies claim “1 billion cells” but only a fraction don’t get broken down in our digestive tract. So they overpopulate their formulas which is never the right way to go about it. I am so grateful I found these travel sized probiotics. They are sugar free and taste like a sweet cucumber. They have an encapsulation process too that guarantees 5 billion cells. I have tried dozens of probiotics and none beat this one. Plus, they are great for kids too!! Start their health journey young.
Essential oils need to be consumed and they are essential for providing the building blocks for cell membranes. When we are lacking in essential oils we may have hormonal imbalances, arthritic symptoms, learning difficulties, or skin problems like dermatitis. Consume foods like flaxseed oil, chai seeds, hemp seeds, plus supplement with algae. Udo’s Oil is the best bang for your buck.
We need iodine for a healthy thyroid. And when we have a healthy thyroid, we have a healthy metabolism. So many more woman are suffering from hypothyroidism these days, with symptoms such as unexplained weight gain, bad skin, tiredness, concentration problems and sensitivity to the cold.
Iodine is abundant in sea vegetables, such as dulse flakes, nori, wake and kelp, so including these in your diet is important and a tasty treat. I personally love these dulse flakes and choose to supplement with Spirulina. If you really want a good bang for your buck when it comes to packed green nutrition, try out Green Qi. I put a few drops of this liquid Iodine in my water every morning and don’t even taste it.
Magnesium is needed for so many functions including nerve and muscle reactions, bone health and energy production. If you are getting the funky eye twitches or restless legs when falling asleep you need some magnesium! In times of stress or physical exertion, magnesium supplements can be very beneficial. Try an epsom salt bath and rub on Ancient Mineral Spray or even transdermal creams these days. Otherwise some magnesium powder at night before bed will also help you rest well! I personally love Calm right before bed.