March 2023 | Wellness Connections
By Linda Wilcox
National Nutrition Month is celebrated this month to bring awareness to the importance of making informed food choices and developing healthful eating and physical activity habits. In our everyday world we are overrun by messages surrounding diet, weight loss, and ideals of how our bodies should or shouldn’t look, which foods are good/bad/or even super, and what our relationship with food should be. All these complicated messages can leave us feeling confused, guilty, and ashamed of ourselves, our will power, and our bodies. Food and our relationship to it doesn’t have to be this complicated. Discovering all of the ways food can and does fuel and nourish our bodies can lead to a healthier perspective and relationship with food and fuel our future healthy selves.
Food can and does fuel and nourish our bodies
- Food can fuel lifelong healthy living or quick weight loss.
Focusing on fueling and nourishing our bodies with a variety of nutritious and delicious foods allows us to be the best and healthiest version of ourselves at any life stage. Extreme dieting and restriction may help you loose weight quickly but in the long run ending up with nutritional deficits, health concerns, and even gaining the weight back.
- Food can fuel a calm mind or anxious mind.
Foods that are high in anti-inflammatory properties including colorful fruits and vegetables, omega – 3 fats found in salmon, nuts and seeds, eggs, and lean protein fuel our bodies with micro and macro nutrients that fuel and nourish our brains and help create a calm mind. On the other hand, sugary foods, highly processed foods, caffeine sources, and alcohol all contribute to symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- Food can fuel our energy or keep us feeling low.
Keeping our blood sugar balanced is vital to our energy, attention, and ability to be productive. When we eat highly processed grains, sugars, and carbohydrates without balancing them out with quality protein and fat sources, our blood sugar spikes then drop’s resulting in fatigue and brain fog. Choosing to balance out our food choices with protein, healthy fat, and less processed carbohydrates gives us the energy our brain and bodies need to think clearly and to do the things we want or need to do.
- Food can fuel movement or inflammation.
Food culprits that are commonly associated with inflammation are highly processed and sugary foods. Inflammation can cause pain and limit our ability to move. Choosing to eat a wide range of fruits and vegetables, quality protein sources, and healthy fats while limiting processed and sugary foods can help keep chronic inflammation in check and allow our bodies to move the way we want them to.
- Food can fuel healthy digestion or constipation.
Choosing to include foods in our diets that are minimally processed and high in fiber like whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and staying hydrated with water helps our bodies to eliminate properly and often enough. Highly processed foods tend to slow the digestion process down and prevent regular bowel movements that we need to have to remove toxins and be well.
- Food can fuel deep nourishing rest or exhaustion.
Balancing our blood sugar throughout the day by eating nutrient dense foods regularly can help us get better sleep at night. A light and nourishing before bed snack (fruit, nuts, oatmeal) can be just the thing we need to help our body work through the night and help us sleep better too. Caffeine and alcohol can work against our body’s ability to sleep restoratively, as do high glycemic and sugary foods which cause a blood sugar spike and then a crash causing a middle of the night wake up and leaving us feeling exhausted the next day. Our bodies are all unique and have different needs but they all need food as fuel to nourish them well so they can function at their very best.
Registered Dietitian Day – March 8th
With Registered Dietitian Day being in March, you might ask yourself, “What is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist?”. Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) are nationally recognized food and nutrition experts who have met the education, training, and certification requirements to be uniquely qualified to provide medical nutrition therapy for specific disease conditions and general nutrition counseling for optimal health. So, what can YOU expect from nutrition services? You can expect to develop a trusted relationship with an expert in nutrition who will come alongside you and help you with your health goals. The first session is a time for you and your registered dietitian to get to know one another and to discover what you are wanting to accomplish. The number of follow-up sessions you choose is entirely up to you. To get the most out of nutrition and wellness services, follow-up sessions are recommended. Schedule a call to get your services started!
Fuel Your Workout
Written by Your Friendly Bootcamp Instructor
Have you ever started a workout and just tanked? You spent all that time to get to that point, you are motivated and ready to go but your body says not today… Our bodies function best when they are fueled up and ready to go – just like heading out on a road trip. Here are 5 ways to fuel up before your next workout so you don’t run out of gas:
- Banana with peanut butter
- Chocolate milk and granola bar
- Fruit smoothie
- Egg your way – fried, hard-boiled, etc. and whole wheat toast
- Handful of nuts and berries
(Notes: The two main nutrients you want to consume before a workout are carbohydrates and protein. How much you eat before a workout will depend on your body and the amount of time you have before working out -play around with what works best for you.)
Linda is our Registered Dietitian Nutritionist that uses a balanced approach to health and wellness, focusing on nutrition, movement, sleep, and connecting you with other appropriate health resources.
Linda understands and recognizes the courage needed to take the first step in caring for yourself and starting your own health and wellness journey. Learn more about Linda’s services like individual wellness and nutrition consultations, ministry and church wellness consultations, and group presentations here!