Empowered Health: Using Nutrition to Affect OutcomesJul 29, 2022 09:31AM ● By Alora Frederick
Health challenges, minor or major, alter the course of an individual’s life. What can be most altering is a sense of disempowerment and lack of control. However, a frequently overlooked source of empowerment is using nutrition to affect health outcomes. Though food can’t always be used as medicine in an acute situation, it still undoubtedly makes a significant difference while managing a health issue. Often, honing in on nutrition alone can be the greatest factor in positive health outcomes, both physically and mentally.
The billion-dollar self-improvement industry promotes the narrative that the solution lies outside of oneself, in a particular protocol, product or miracle food. This disempowering narrative can make it hard for individuals to feel like they are making any headway on their health goal and even creates a sense of failure. True health improvements come from consistent daily practices patiently repeated over time. Individuals on healing journeys get caught in a whirlwind of options like keto, paleo, carnivore, intermittent fasting, vegan, and the list goes on. With so much focus on prescriptive nutrition, individuals miss out on simple, tried-and-true nutrition fundamentals.
Pillars of Nutrition
The pillars of nutritional health include, in no particular order, hydration, stable blood sugar, balanced meals and eating hygiene. Hydration needs will vary day to day depending on various factors, but a standard rule of thumb is to consume half of one’s body weight in ounces daily as a minimum. The fluid tally does not need to solely come from plain water. Other sources that contribute to total hydration status include fruit, vegetables, soups, tea, coffee (even with a mild diuretic effect), fruit juice, aloe vera juice and coconut water.
A crucial point in stabilizing blood sugar includes regular meal timing throughout the day. This should begin with a satiating breakfast. The quality of breakfast will influence blood sugar levels throughout the rest of the day, either creating stable blood sugar levels or waves of peaks and crashes. By starting the morning with a balanced meal of carbohydrates, protein and fat about an hour after waking and before a morning coffee, blood sugar levels are optimized. This might look like sourdough bread with avocado spread and a fried egg on top and a side of fruit. This results in stable blood sugar levels, satiation and fulfilled caloric and nutrient needs, all of which are imperative for positive health outcomes.
Lastly, eating hygiene—the method of how we eat, including how we chew, our emotional state and speed of eating—is a game-changing concept when consistently applied. Digestion is greatly impaired when food is not fully chewed, when someone is in a stressed or anxious emotional state and when they eat too quickly. Though these sound like obvious no-brainer concepts, most people do not chew well, relax their bodies before a meal or eat slowly.
Each day is an opportunity to empower ourselves and our health outcomes with these nutrition fundamentals. Individuals can choose the building blocks of a better emotional and physical state with every meal and bite taken. Motivation for nutrition-related change is birthed from taking action; it does not just show up. Self-empowerment and inspiration are the results when even just one of the nutrition pillars is practiced each day.