The Foundation Of Nutrition The Foundation of Nutrition “Let Food be thy Medicine” -Hippocrates There are many factors that come into play when it comes to health. Firstly, each person is a unique individual with a specific biochemistry. In addition, factors such as environment, age, gender, lifestyle, mental and physical activities, health history, career, and daily levels of stress all play a critical role in our nutritional requirements. Additionally, for every culture and climate, there are a variety of diets that would best suit the people of that particular land. Thus, it is not advisable to recommend one diet plan for everyone without first considering their individual needs, requirements and ancestry. For example, a person whose family has lived for centuries in Southern Asia will have a very different reaction to certain foods than someone from the Scandinavian countries. One diet definitely does not fit all. Foods can also be used as tools to help protect us in our environment. For example, in some areas of the world, people depend more heavily on fats to keep their bodies warm, to protect their skin, and to store energy for the colder months. Other societies may depend more on fruits and various exotic foods to supply the type of energy needed to replenish their bodies in warmer climates where people sweat excessively. Your ancestry plays a role in your diet plan due to the fact that your body, digestive tract, and DNA imprint are all familiar with and accustomed to a specific type of diet. Thus, it’s important to consume foods that are available in our natural environment while they’re still fresh and filled with vital nutrients. Now, let’s highlight some important facts about different foods and steer you towards a nutritional program that will work for you. My hope is that you will learn the basics of good nutrition, and will allow yourself to stay away from all those yo-yo dieting patterns or “quick” diet plans, and instead, choose healthy food options for the rest of your life. In general, people like the nutritional component of health because it is something tangible and within control. The discipline to diet or lose weight is also related to control. However, for lasting results and a balanced lifestyle, you must view your relationship with food as a tool to achieve good health, and make the correct choices day in and day out. In short, my general belief is that people should consume foods that are provided by nature and that have been the least altered by man. These foods are generally healthy for the majority of people, and it is best to limit or avoid anything that is packaged, manipulated, or made by man. Yet still, even this general rule doesn’t apply across the board for everyone, as some people cannot handle some of nature’s provisions due to sensitive digestive systems, intolerances and allergies. General Eating Guidelines The following guidelines are meant to enhance your nutritional excellence, and provide tools that are helpful to most people under normal circumstances. If you suffer from illnesses relating to your liver, colon, blood sugar, if you are pregnant, or have otherwise afflicting conditions not yet in remission, please seek the advice of your healthcare practitioner. A good suggestion is to only when you are hungry and your previous meal has been fully digested. Furthermore, make sure you are drinking enough water throughout the day for proper hydration. False hunger signals are often a call for water. Do not eat while angry, upset, or stressed as the proper amount of energy will not be available for digestion. Never snack out of boredom or to fill an emotional void. Meals should be eaten in a relaxed atmosphere. Do not rush your meals or eat while standing. Avoid listening to the news or watching TV altogether while eating. Don’t engage in negative conversation at the dining table. All of these factors only serve to make you tense and upset your digestion. Be thankful for the food that has been provided to you as you eat. After all, it is nourishing your life. Study the eating habits of your ancestors. See what worked for them and apply those. Avoid extreme food temperatures. Do not eat anything that is too hot or too cold. Refrain from heavy physical activity a half hour before, and two hours after eating. Whenever possible, eat locally. Foods grown in your immediate area are in season and have limited travel time. Nutrients are highest when the food is fresh and consumed as a whole food. Food shipped around the world loose nutrients essential to your health. Eat more raw foods in summer and more cooked foods in winter. The best way to harmonize your meals is to follow the pattern of the sun. When the sun is rising, have light, cleansing foods such as fruit and warm beverages like water with lemon or herbal tea. Follow with a light breakfast. Take your lunch from noon to 2 pm, when the sun is at its peak.Your heaviest meal of the day should be at this time since as your body produces the most enzymes and digestive juices to break down food. As the sun sets, the digestive tract is not working so hard, so have a light meal that does not require a lot of digestion. Do not eat 2 -3 hours before bedtime. Sleep is your body’s time to heal and detoxify, so don’t put an extra burden on it by having heavy dinners and late night snacking. As mentioned earlier, drink sufficient amounts of room-temperature, clean, fresh water daily. Don’t drink a large amount of water right before or during your meal. Combining protein and carbohydrates is not a good idea for elderly people, or those with weak digestive systems. Eat several small meals rather than 1 or 2 large meals throughout the day. Include a variety of colors in your diet. Consuming foods with a wide range of colors will offer a vast array of phytochemicals and essential nutrients for your body. The road to optimal wellness not only requires dedication, but self-awareness. Recognizing what you eat, learning about proper nutrition based on your own individual needs, and applying them will be your greatest tool on your journey towards well-being and optimum health.