What is nutrition? We will give you a hint: it’s about much more than reaching a certain weight. While weight loss is what is typically thought of when the word “nutrition” is heard, it goes far beyond achieving the weight that is right for you! We think it is important to understand exactly what nutrition means in order to understand its importance.
For starters, nutrition is defined as “the process of providing or obtaining the food necessary for health and growth” as well as “food or nourishment.” Nutrition is all about determining which foods to eat and how we can use them to help us attain our optimal health, allowing us to feel our best each day. Reaching a certain weight might be included in the goal of optimal health, but we cannot overlook all the other components that define our health.
One key goal of nutrition is to focus on preventative health measures. We like to say that “genetics loads the gun and environment pulls the trigger.” What does this mean? Our genes are not our destiny; the environment we live in and surround ourselves with has a drastic effect on our genes. Simply because we are predisposed to a certain disease or condition, does not mean that is what the future holds! Through diet and lifestyle changes, we are able to prevent the development of diseases and health conditions.
When thinking of health, think of it in terms of GENES + ENVIRONMENT = HEALTH STATUS. The second part of the equation is what we have control over. We have the ability to either improve or worsen our health based on our lifestyle choices that make up our day to day lives. Factors that affect our gene expression include all aspects of diet and lifestyle – food, exercise, stress, emotions, sleep, relationships, pollutants, etc. The list goes on! This is why we believe all components of health are important; they all affect our health. But, of course, we primarily focus on the lifestyle factor of food…after all, it is our passion!
When following a health-promoting diet, one can expect all of the following:
- Improved sense of overall well-being
- Ability to manage a healthy weight
- Maintain and support a healthy immune system
- Delayed effects of aging
- Improved energy
- Increased positive moods
- Reduced risk of chronic disease
- Increased focus
- Money saved in the future (being unhealthy gets expensive!)
The world of food and nutrition has become overcrowded with different trends with many tall promises. No wonder why many people feel confused on what they should eat in order to reach their best health! Our main focus: eating the correct amounts of REAL food that is right for each individual’s needs. Real food as opposed to what? Well, non-food substances that have been made to resemble food. In saying this, we are referring to the highly processed, packaged foods make up much of our current grocery store aisles. The goal is to stray away from letting these make up a majority of the diet. Quality foods are what will help us achieve quality health.
The effect of food on our overall health, specifically our gene expression, is often underestimated. There seems to be a large disconnect in the understanding of food’s true effect on the body. A study was done to show just how much food and lifestyle affects our gene expression – further supporting the fact that our genes are not our destiny.
Dean Ornish, MD, carried out a study with 30 men who had low-risk prostate cancer. In 18 of these men, their cancer-protective genes were down-regulated (i.e. turned off) and 388 of their cancer-promoting genes were up-regulated (i.e. turned on). Over the course of three months, they changed their lifestyle to a more health-promoting one. This included changes to diet, exercise, stress management, and spending time with a support group – having a sense of community is important to our health! After three months of carrying out these changes, results showed that a significant amount of cancer-protective genes had been turned on and the amount of cancer-promoting genes that had previously been turned on had now been turned off. We hope we aren’t the only ones who are impressed by this!
So, when we say we are ready to help you achieve your optimal health – we are speaking beyond the number on the scale, we are seeking health all the way down to the cellular level. We are big supporters of non-scale victories; all those signs of progress that come about after improvements in diet have been made – progress that the scale doesn’t show. We believe good health starts on the inside and the way to achieve that is primarily through food, with the addition of other health-promoting lifestyle factors.
Eat healthier and BE healthier!