It is very common for many of us to eat solely out of convenience. Food can become repetitive and our diet restrictive. Often when we don’t have a large understanding of food we stick to what we know or what we think the stereotype “healthy” plan should look like. This tends to result in someone embarking on a healthy eating program and it quickly becoming very repetitive. Often you see ‘healthy’ food plans or diets that consist of these foods:
- Green Beans
Of course, this might not be identical for everyone (obviously!) but you get the idea. It becomes very repetitive with eating the same foods over and over. If you look at a plan like this, there are only about 11 different foods in total this person is eating during the week. This food focus is geared to expanding this to not only boost the results you achieve but improving your gut health too.
So how will eating a diverse amount of foods help your goals, and help decrease bloating as well as help to push further with decreasing body fat, increasing energy and lessening mood swings?
Our gut holds 70% of our immune system and affects much of our hormonal balance, energy, mood, and body fat levels. It’s now accepted that the number of bacterial cells in our body outweighs that of our own human cells. This means if we ignore them and don’t give them some credit they will give you a warning to tell you to take care, just like any other system in our body.
Your body is a survival machine, and it WILL change the way it works to survive. It will hold onto body fat if you don’t feed it enough. It WILL bloat when you are feeding it too many foods that irritate it. It WILL conserve water and keep your body bloated and swollen when you don’t drink enough water.
So, knowing that our gut holds the key to 70% of our immune system, and there are more bacterial cells in our body than human cells, we really should pay more attention to it. These bacteria are in constant communication with our immune system, which really, means that it is these bacteria that are a major controller of our health. So why would we ignore them?
Our digestion system is a long tube that runs from mouth to anus. But, although we view our digestive system to be inside us, it is actually on the outside…in the pursuit of health and body goals, and bearing in mind that a healthier body paves the way to a healthy, fitter person, with a longer shelf life, the best place to start looking is on the outside – and this means what we eat!
Eating a larger variety of diverse foods can better body balance.
I have heard people before say “oh you want to eat different foods because your body gets used to them”. And although this might be true to some extent, it all comes back to making your diet beneficial and supportive to those bacteria, more than your body getting used to the foods that you are eating.
Your gut doesn’t hold just one type of bacteria but many. So, when it comes to gut health, the diversity of the bacteria which reside primarily in the colon seems key. If we think about this – if you eat a diverse diet, it will support the bacterial diversity within your gut, as each type of bacteria thrive on different foods. The more diverse the diet, the more we support a larger amount of gut flora. With a larger bacteria diversity, your body is increasingly supported which means better health. Better health means more balance, a decrease in energy dips, a decrease in bloatedness, and better body fat levels. A repetitive food plan that you eat over and over again is not supporting good gut health. If you are focussing on eating to get leaner, what you really want to be doing for leanness long term is ensure your gut is healthy.
Many of you may already be thinking…
“this is going to take you lots of time, and energy trying to think up new recipes? “
For most of us we have very busy lives, so we need to make sure working on getting a diverse diet does not interfere or cause a problem for us time-wise. I would love an ideal world where all our clients have lots of time to really think about this, or plan, prep and shop, but we live in the real world where we try our best, and often give up as the option or way of doing something doesn’t fit the life we lead. We need to survive, live, work, earn money, and look after our children and often looking after ourselves can be put on the back burner.
So how can we help you increase the diversity of foods within your diet to ensure that you support your bacteria diversity?
When we consider this idea of diversity what we are looking at is a diversity of plant based foods. Plants contain vitamins and minerals, but they also contain phytochemicals which are natural chemical substances which may offer health benefits. One of the reasons plants contain chemicals is for their own protection. Part of this protection is against damage from bacteria, insects or the sun. One of the reasons we want to consume these phytochemicals is because they offer our body antioxidant protection. Additionally, they offer protection against free radical damage.
- Juices: Juices are a great way of incorporating a broader food base than you would normally have in your week. It is easy to swap the veggies in your juices and add diversity in these.
- Rotate your days to make it more efficient with cost. Double up your meals and put them a day apart. Use a Monday and a Wednesday with the same foods, then Tuesday and Thursday and so on. You can make a 2 week recipe list and simply do this on a 2 week rotation, making it easier for you to plan and quick to make!
- Mix up your proteins. Many people always reach for salmon, eggs and chicken. Try to mix it up and see if another fish can be slipped into your diet, or another meat type! This is a very simple way to diversify.
- Change your salad bases. Mix up the base you use for salad and add coloured veggies; swap spinach for rocket and kale, or change peppers, tomatoes, and onions up for beetroot, green beans and cabbage!
Now, get out there this week and get diversifying your foods!