For my first food post I’d like to go over the basics of food with everyone so we’re all on the same learning page 🙂 From here we can grow together!
First off: food is meant to be a source of energy and fuel to your body. Seems simple…..except when our minds get in the way and crave stuff that is more ‘mind candy’ than food (ex. pizza, cookie dough, coffee, etc.). On the simplest level, any food we eat will be broken down by the body into the tiniest components of fats, carbohydrates (sugar/starch/fibre) and proteins. The body then turns these components into energy for our cells, via the liver. We want to provide the body with the best, cleanest sources of energy so that it runs as smooth as possible and we have a long healthy life.
FATS: fats are important in keeping us warm (literally fat insulates our organs!), making hormones, carrying fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K, for keeping our skin plump, forming the cells of our body, and providing an energy source. Examples of natural fats are: avocados, nuts, seeds, oils, fish, animal and dairy foods. Examples of non-natural fats are: trans-fats, margarine, hydrogenated oils.
CARBOHYDRATES: Carbs consist of sugars, starches and fibres. Carbs provide the body with the best source of energy – glucose! Our brain’s #1 choice of fuel is glucose. That’s why when we experience blood sugar fluctuations (i.e. haven’t eaten in a while) the first thing to get affected is our brain – we experience irritability, dizziness, and fatigue. Sugars and starches are easy quick sources of glucose for our body. Fibre, however, is NOT used as energy – rather it is used to clean our colon wall, and help bind with cholesterol and sugar in our meals for slower, steadier absorption. This means we stay fuller longer and our body gets a nice steady source of energy, rather than tons of glucose at one time. Examples of carbohydrates: grains, beans, fruits, skins of fruits, vegetables, flax seeds, maple syrup, honey.
PROTEINS: Proteins make up 20% of our body and create our hair, muscles, eyes, skin, organs, red blood cells…..basically anything you can think of. We need it to grow, build antibodies, and transport minerals. Our body is able to make proteins itself, but some proteins we need to eat through our diet – these are called ‘essential amino acids’ and can be found in meats, soy, eggs, chlorella, quinoa, even goji berries! Other examples of proteins are: whey protein (from cow milk), nuts, seeds, animal meat, beans, legumes, pea protein, hemp seeds, brown rice, tempeh.
Once we understands the basics of what “food” is, we can start to apply this knowledge to our daily life and the foods we choose to eat. Later I’ll go into more detail about which foods do what in your body, different types of food lifestyles, and dispel some myths about what people consider “good” and “bad” foods. Happy learning!