Using food as medicine – the basics
For many of us, eating healthily is something we do as part of general self-care. For some however, nutrition can be much more than this – it can be medicinal.
Whether you have a condition that may benefit from nutritional support, or you simply want to learn more about nutritional therapy – the following basic principles are a great place to start.
Eat the way our ancestors ate
This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to follow a strict Paleo diet, but the guidelines it suggests (i.e. eat the way our ancestors ate) will help you eat in harmony with your genetic programming. Ideally this involves eating fewer grains, little dairy, lots of cold water fish like salmon and sardines and more intestine-activating fibre.
Use foods in place of supplements where possible
Whole foods contain a variety of substances that work synergistically and are often more effective than a supplement that delivers just one. Of course, if there is a food you do not (or cannot) eat, supplements can be useful. Where possible though, aim to eat whole foods instead.
Consider how you eat too
As well as considering what you eat, part of nutritional therapy is about considering how you eat. Understanding your habits and motives behind your eating patterns can help you think of ways to overcome any unhealthy behaviours. Try to eat more slowly and mindfully to help ease any stress on your digestive system.
Understand that we are all biochemically unique
Even if you are the same age, gender, ethnicity etc., as another person – it doesn’t mean you use the same amount of vitamins and minerals. Everyone is different and has different nutritional needs. To find out what your body needs, consult a nutritionist.
Don’t become obsessed
While these guidelines are useful when considering your diet in a more holistic way, don’t become obsessed with every mouthful. We all deviate from the plan from time to time, so don’t beat yourself up when this happens – learn from the experience and move on.