8 Food-As-Medicine Swaps to Nourish Your Body

food-as-medicine Nov 26, 2019

We're back again with another Food-As-Medicine lifestyle intervention that will help nourish you from the end of your fork, and beyond.

We've talked about why it’s important to use foods before supplements, and we've calmed down with 10 food-as-medicine lifestyle habits to reduce stress. Now, let's get back to the end of your fork with another foundational food-as-medicine principle:

Eat foods and ingredients that your body recognizes and knows how to utilize.

Ok, y’all. I know this one sounds simple.

Eat real food. Whole, single-ingredient foods that are rich in nutrients, simple in their composition, and that at one time were living, growing plants or animals. Foods that are made up of the basic elements necessary for your health to thrive—proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals.

A food-as-medicine plate doesn’t include foods with extra and usually harmful additives like chemical flavors, colors, sweeteners, and preservatives. Your body wants to do only one thing with those foreign invaders—get rid of them! And in an environment with an already burdened toxic load, your liver doesn’t need the added stress!

Real-food intake is the way we humans have been eating for thousands of years. Well, until about a century ago when we got in the way and started creating a whole new species of food-like products. Let's leave that discussion for another day!

Suffice it to say that simple, real-food nourishment still works best with your genetic programming. Your body simply knows what to do with the unadulterated ingredients and basic nutrient building blocks to support your health and wellness.

It’s simple in its concept, but not always easy to implement.

Why? Because the industry has made it so darn convenient for you to grab and go! Your current lifestyle and calendar also practically demand that you eat handheld meals or ones that are at least heat-and-eat. Gone are the days of spending an hour or more on dinner prep and leisurely enjoyment around the table. Anyone? Anyone?

Here’s another (really frustrating) thing. Many of those packaged and ready-to-eat foods are actually addictive. Their ingredients ignite chemical pathways in your brain that make them not only easy for you to prepare and consume, but leave you wanting more and more. That’s definitely a risky combination.

What you eat, how you eat it, the environment you eat it in, and how you buy it have all evolved faster than your body has been able to adapt.

SO, what’s a girl to do?

Let’s talk about some simple swaps that you can make to increase the nutrient content in your day and approach your plate with more of a therapeutic food-as-medicine style.

Now hear me out first!

This is NOT an “eat this not that” list of foods!
This is NOT meant to separate foods into GOOD and BAD categories!
This is NOT to inflict judgment if you’re more in the “instead of…” column right now!
None of that y’all!!

It’s simply a chance to consider other options. Alternatives that provide more overall nourishment to your body with fewer unfavorable additives. Options that are as simple and as quick to prepare as their more processed counterparts.

 

Instead of…

Try

Drive-through breakfast sandwich

Overnight oats with added nuts, dried fruits, or pumpkin seeds

Tip: make a few at a time and keep in the fridge for quick grab-and-go meals

Sugary pastries or “energy” bars

Deli meat and avocado slices

Tip: roll meat slices around avocado slices

Frozen pizza

Lentil pasta and simple tomato sauce with sautéed spinach

Tip: cooks in the same time as a frozen pizza

Fried chicken tenders and French fries

Herbed tenders and roasted (frozen) broccoli over salad greens

Tip: roast tenders and veggies on one tray

Chips or candy bar

Nuts, dried cherries, and dark chocolate

Tip: make up a large bag to keep at work)

An apple

An apple with 3-4 Tbls of seed or nut butter

Tip: keep a jar of seed/nut butter at work

Afternoon PSL pick-me-up

Hot green tea

Tip: keep tea bags in your purse or at work

Ice cream or cookies

Dates stuffed with almond or sunflower seed butter

Tip: fill pitted whole dates with nut/seed butter and store in the fridge

 

When you eat foods like these on the regular, you can:

• Reduce inflammation

• Balance your hormones

• Encourage your natural detox pathways

• Improve your gut microbiome

• Enhance your immunity

• Reduce your overall risk of disease and illness

• Boost your brain function

• Preserve the environment

• Increase fiber

• Reduce your food cravings

• Actually enjoy what you’re eating!

 

Why all these benefits? Because your body has less to get rid of and more to use. The more you take the burden off of your body to detox the added chemical components of processed and preserved foods, the more it will be empowered to work FOR you doing all those great things up there 👆🏼!

Does every meal HAVE to look like this? No! Especially if that adds more stress and anxiety to your day. If you feel like you’re more in the “instead of” column right now, don’t think you have to change everything overnight. Pick ONE thing. Maybe it’s your afternoon snack--that hangry time of day when performing your best turns into releasing your beast! “Just hand over the candy bar and no one gets hurt!”

Spend some time modifying your ONE thing, and move on to another meal once your hangry afternoon beast has been calmed down.

Have you already made some of these changes and noticed a difference? I’d love to hear about your success!

Is your hangry beast still roaring every afternoon? What are your biggest challenges to making some of these swaps? 

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