The Chōsen nutritionist, Elisa Haggarty, is a New York City-based health coach. She knows better than most that food is one of the best preventative medicines we can use. Our diets are often a reflection of our lifestyles, Elisa believes, and what we eat can lead to transformational change in other areas of our lives. We must consider seven key factors in our diets if we are to change our relationship with food – for the better and forever!
Can there be a one-size-fits-all list of principles for improving diet? I am not one for following strict rules and meal plans, let alone ‘diets’. Instead, I believe that SEVEN food-related guidelines can naturally put us on the right path to health. Fortunately, these home truths remain constant across the planet. So whether you’re in a bustling city or an idyllic country retreat, the same simple, practical thinking applies.
- Think local
Choosing locally produced food is where a transformational diet begins. In fact, if you do this, the six points to follow will become a whole lot easier. Local food doesn’t have to mean from your own garden, or what is grown in your town. Think regionally! What is being produced within your region that you can include in your daily meals? If you’re not sure, the best place to start is your nearest farmer’s market or produce swap. Avoid supermarkets, even those focused on organics (an organic supermarket will still sell packaged, processed and imported foods). Once you start seeking out local food, you’ll be surprised at what you find – community gardens and farmers markets can be closer than you think, even in big cities.
- Be in synch with the seasons
Your circadian rhythm is like an inner clock that’s tuned to the sun. Eating seasonally supports your immune system and circadian rhythm, which improves every part of your life, from sleep patterns to appetite and mood. A seasonal diet is also more likely to be grown locally, and therefore fresher. What’s more, seasonal foods have fewer miles to travel before consumption, so they’re better for our planet, too!
- Yes, fresh is best
Dull, limp and lifeless-looking fruits and vegetables are telling you something. They’re saying it has been some time since they were harvested, and they have lower nutritional value than foods picked that day. Choosing food with more ‘life force’ makes a meal more nourishing. It will be tastier, too!
- Go organic for the ‘dirty dozen’
Eating organically isn’t always possible. Because pesticides and herbicides mess with our endocrine systems, however, we should avoid them when we can. If you can’t go the whole hog, choose organic for what we call the ‘dirty dozen’ – 12 foods that are most heavily sprayed with chemicals due to their susceptibility to pests. Among these are leafy greens, berries, coffee beans and animal protein. Because these foods are more likely to contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals, make the effort to consume them organically.
- Eat it whole
Whole foods are inherently and implicitly beneficial, and contain all the balanced elements of nature. Highly processed foods contain a heap of negatives that we usually try to avoid, including additives, preservatives and fillers.
- Make it nourishing
By following the first five principles, it’s highly likely you’ll nail the sixth without trying. The meaning of a nourishing meal will vary with the individual, of course, so your unique needs should be weighed up. If you have specific allergies, or nutritional requirements due to age, pregnancy, exercise routines or health conditions, make sure your food meets your particular needs. A nourishing meal is also an enjoyable one, so choose meals with a sense of creativity.
- Be mindful
Food is a gift. At least three times each day, you have the opportunity to take deep breaths, to connect to your body, and to connect to your mind. The way in which you eat is usually how you relate to the world. Fast eating is often connected to fast living – so slow down!
Elisa will be hosting the Chōsen experience week in Bali, starting this week on August 5, 2017, and will share her latest research on optimizing nutrition for the ultimate lifestyle balance and performance. Follow on Insta for live action from the week https://www.instagram.com/chosenexperiences