1/2 of my work week is spent counseling my patients with diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, infertility issues or hormone imbalances, heartburn, gout, etc. When I graduated a little over a year ago, I NEVER thought I would be teaching nutrition. My husband laughs because we are talking about a girl who has maybe cooked 10 meals in her life. What right and credentials did I have to tell people what they should or should not be putting in their mouth? I have never personally struggled with any of the above diseases and weight is not my thorn in this life. But as always, the Lord's ways are not our ways. In November of last year, I began to shadow Kyra, a nurse practitioner in our office who is passionate about nutrition and has taught me SO much this past year. I am forever grateful for how hard she has worked for hundreds if not thousands of our patients. She will probably never receive the recognition she deserves this side of Heaven.
From the start, this was SO much more than food. It was about relationships. Through food counseling, I am able to dig into patient's worlds. It is so much more than come in, treat you for a symptom, tell you what you should or shouldn't be doing (like you already don't know you shouldn't smoke or you need to exercise :)... It is living life with people. It is finding out that you are working 2 jobs to makes ends meet and you don't have time to cook dinner, or that your identity is in being a "good Southern cook" and you feel like you don't know how to do anything else well, or that food has been tied to emotions for as long as you can remember and you are lonely.
Over the past few weeks, my small knowledge in nutrition has spilled over into other areas of my life... realizing that because everyone eats, it's something that must be addressed. The more I learn, the more I recognize we have been taught SO wrong. Because I have had so many conversations the past few weeks about "clean eating", I wanted to start journaling what i am learning on here so maybe you and your family can benefit too. There is still SO much to learn but I have watched my patients lose weight, come off medications, reverse disease processes, and find the JOY of the Lord over the past 11 months! That's good enough evidence based medicine for me.
I will go into more detail later but the whole idea is moving back to Eden... to WHOLE FOODS! In the 1960s and beyond, the government made some pretty strong recommendations based off poor medical research... Remember the food pyramid you learned in school...
Here's the problem... with these recommendations:
1. Our obesity, diabetes, heart disease, infertility, cancer, and other disease rates have skyrocketed!!!!
2. Low-fat products fly off the shelf because natural fats have become our enemy. Heres the issue. When they took fat out of food, it tasted awful so they had to put something back in... Carbohydrates. As soon as carbs hit your tongue, they start breaking down into sugar. Too many carbs = all those diseases I listed earlier.
Our whole goal is to get back to the foods the Lord originally created for us. I will start with a few goals I give my patients. As I tell them, don't overhaul everything over night. This way of eating is not some diet you will do for a few months and then move onto the next best thing. This is a lifestyle change.
P.S. dont go and cook 2 different meals for you and your kids. One of the best gifts you can give your children is teaching them how to cook and preventing them from playing catch up later in life. Our childhood obesity rates and diabetes go up daily if you havent noticed..
Essentials: (all credit to Kyra Fowler, FNP)
1. Breakfast!! You must always eat breakfast. Breakfast gets your metabolism going. Without fuel, your body is not able to burn fat.
2. 3 meals, 2 snacks. Snacks not only help to curb your appetite throughout the day so that you are not extremely hungry at mealtimes, but they also help to stabilize your blood sugar and keep your metabolism at an optimal level throughout the day.
3. Protein or healthy fat every time you eat. It is essential to get protein and/or healthy fats with each meal and snack. Protein and fat help to slow the rise of your blood sugar. This prevents insulin surges that result in large blood sugar drops which trigger cravings and cause fatigue and hunger. Protein and fat also bring fullness and satiety which will keep you from getting hungry so quickly after meals or snacks. The hormone leptin that is released from your stomach to your brain when eating triggers fullness. This hormone works beautifully in response to proteins and fats, but minimally with carbohydrates. Therefore, focusing on protein along with healthy fats will actually allow your portions to naturally decrease because you will reach fullness and satiety faster.
4. Drink water. You need at least 64 oz of water a day. This helps remove toxins in your body that you will have from the breakdown of fat. Also, if you aren’t drinking enough, your body will hold on to what it has, causing water retention and a bloated feeling.
5. Keep a food journal. This doesn’t have to be for the rest of your life; this is just to get you started. If you keep a detailed food journal you will be much more intentional about what you eat. It will also provide personal accountability.
6. Exercise. The goal is at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity five days per week, along with three days of resistance exercise per week . If that seems like an unattainable goal at first, pick a reasonable goal for yourself, even if you start with 10 minutes a day, three days per week. Start there and keep moving! Always check with your medical provider before starting any kind of intense exercise program.
7. Find an accountability partner. It is always easier to accomplish a goal when you have someone to encourage you and support you. Whether that someone is a family member, spouse, friend, or coworker, find someone to begin this journey with you!
8. Don’t get discouraged. If you are losing weight and find that you plateau at a certain weight, or even put a couple of pounds back on, don’t focus on the negative; think about what you have already accomplished and keep going. Plateaus are to be expected and there are ways to help move past them. Don’t give up! Eating and living right can radically change your life!