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Fool or Fuel?

How are you feeling today? On top of the world or under the weather? Maybe someplace in between? No two days are alike, which can sometimes feel like a blessing and other times like a curse. As a Coach, I help people find the best ways to live a fun, full life through mindfulness and healthy habits. One thing I know for sure ... we all need to find out what works for us as individuals, which might mean trying out a variety of things. I like to think of it as an adventure and I encourage clients to go at it with a sense of curiosity. Something to remember while on your quest -- the last 20 years have seen a lot of research on human health and wellness. Currently, it's a good idea to review what you were told was nourishment. Are you being fooled or fueled?

  • Let's start with cow's milk. Many people still think that it's a "perfect" source of calcium and protein. As Functional MD, Mark Hyman states, "Our American love affair with milk has more to do with good PR and marketing than good science." Cow's milk (which is very good for baby cows) and most dairy can cause weight gain, promote insulin resistance (Diabetes II anybody?), and cause acne and other skin conditions to flare up. A more efficient way to get calcium in your diet is to eat salmon, sardines, broccoli, and leafy greens.

  • Are you still trying to be "fat free"? If so, please stop! Around fifty years ago there was a push to cut down on eating fat. I would like to think that researchers were only talking about saturated fats -- a fat that is solid at room temperature, like butter, or fat found in meats. What happened is that large "food" (as in processed) companies started to make and promote "fat free" items. Certain fats, like olive oil, are good for you and help you feel full and satisfied. Have you ever eaten a whole sleeve of fat-free, store cookies and even though you're uncomfortably full, you still want more? Your body is asking for nutrition and instead, you've just loaded up on sugar, refined flour, and chemicals. All you got was empty calories and a spike in your insulin. When food is "manufactured", without fat, a whole lot of sugar is added in to give it more taste (and make it more addictive). Check out the documentary "Fed Up" and add some avocado to your diet.

  • Sugar -- do I really need to say much about this? Type II Diabetes has increased 4.8% per year since 2002 -- in young people under the age of 20! This is mostly caused by lack of exercise and eating "junk" (full of sugar) instead of real food. Americans consume nearly 60 pounds of it per year. While we all know that soda does nothing good for the body, drinking fruit juice isn't much better. It can cause blood sugar spikes and without the dietary fiber of actual fruit, the sugar hit is immediate.

Those are just three big areas that can apply to most people. Ultimately it's up to us to sift through and refine just what constitutes good nutrition for ourselves. For example, while it's recommended that we increase our intake of fruits and vegetables, I've found that I don't tolerate many fruits very well. I also feel bloated if I eat certain breads, however in Italy, I can eat pasta and bread without feeling that way.

The best thing is to look for whole, unprocessed foods. Develop a taste for them -- after all, we've actually "cultivated" a taste and craving for junk disguised as nourishment. Why not foster and encourage ways to tweak our taste buds?! If you're mindful about adjusting what you put in your mouth, you'll begin to notice how much better you feel. Take note of where that well-being is in your body -- it might be increased energy or less pain/inflammation in your joints. When you feel good about feeling good, you're on the right track. As always, be care-full.

If you've been fooled and would rather be fueled, but you're not sure how ... contact me for a complementary Discovery Session/Consult. In fact, one of the most successful Programs I work with actually calls their food "fuelings". Ask me why.

Happy Healthy Habit Hump Day,


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About the Author




Barbara L Cummings, MS, RN

the Mindful Maven and Mistress of Meditation, is a sassy Queen-ager, mentor, confidante and trusted guide who provides people with everyday life support. 

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