I have been taking courses at The Institute of Holistic Nutrition for two months now and since some readers asked me to share what this is all about and my experience, I would like to give a little update here on the blog.
When I sometimes mention that I am studying holistic nutrition, people either give me the sad, puzzled look of, “poor thing, you cannot eat anything” or they ask me “what can you eat? Is this a raw food diet or vegan?” Well, none of the above. First, I would like to elaborate on the perfectionism around food and what people associate with eating, being healthy, self-love and self-care. I also want to share how to find that balance between to indulge happily for the sake of mental health while at the same time kind of simultaneously being strict about what you eat for physical health.
Studying nutrition does not make me perfect in the sense of I do not eat perfectly 100% of the time. I certainly do allow myself wiggle room once in a while because I think this is really important. That nutritionists eat perfectly all the time is somewhat a misconception people have. I definitely put an emphasis on eating and appreciating good, healthy whole food but the reality is different. We live in the real world. We go out with friends, we socialize, eat and drink wine and beer. I believe allowing yourself this wiggle room is really important which means this is also some type of “food freedom” that we all enjoy. Getting into a dogmatic way of thinking about it takes the joy out of eating delicious, good food.
I learned recently that peanuts are not the best type of nuts to eat since they tend to mold easily; especially when they come in plastic containers. Even though I know this, I love peanut butter once in a while. My options here are to get the “freshly made” type for example at Whole Foods. You know these peanut butter machines: peanuts in, bring your own container, place it below and press the button. This peanut butter tastes so delicious. I want some now.
I drink wine; I love wine. When I spend time camping or at a cottage I roast marshmallows. We have to stop getting rid of the idea to reach perfection, especially when it comes to food. Nothing is ever perfect. The only thing that happens is that we get discouraged, lost and stressed out about it all. What we can do though is, we can find the perfect balance for us. The goal is to be as happy and healthy as I can be – finding a balance for ME (and my son).
One important thing I learned is that there is no diet that applies to everyone and no food that applies to everyone because everyone is so different. We just have to experiment what foods are good for us and which ones are not. For example, when I am constipated all the time, I cannot sleep at night, I am overweight and I have dark circles I may want to consider the way I eat and live.
A couple of tips that work for me are to listen to my body by eating food as an opportunity to listen to my body. To understand what feels best for me, what I digest the best or things that react strangely in my system. Listening to symptoms you may have and then making the necessary shift in your diet is key. I know that a glass of wine or 3 is worth it tonight but I will most likely end up with a headache the next day. You have to ultimately decide if it is all worth it for you; food freedom, remember?
FYI: Alcohol is a diuretic (meaning, it makes you pee a lot) and B Vitamins are water soluble. When you pee a lot you are depleting your B Vitamins. So, to avoid a headache, drink water before and after sleeping, take a Vitamin B1 complex and drink fresh beet juice the next morning since it flushes the liver via increased bile production. Please be aware of recommended doses and amounts of use. I am not held responsible for any crazy side effects that may occur! Please supplement responsibly. 🙂
One more point I would like to add is that we learn how to make healthy alternative food choices without having the feeling of missing out. For example, my son loves Nutella and I let him eat it of course but he also eats the Nutella-version I make (Recipe will follow soon!). I enjoy simple home-cooked meals and I enjoy the preparation. When I learned one thing so far it is that healthy eating is so easy when I keep it simple. I also learned from my friend to just go the store, buy some items that are healthy and seem to go well together and throw them in the pan. Throw in some salad leaves too while using a simple wrist movement. Just create things without following a recipe all the time. There are just so many trends and recipes out there that distract from the simplest dishes. Overall for me, food should be real, whole and simple without a label or expiration date attached to it.
For more information on the school click here or send me an email if you have any questions.