Every day, from the day that you were born until the day that you die, your body repairs itself. It does so by eliminating old, not properly functioning cells and replacing them with new ones. These new cells are build from what you eat. Maybe you know the saying, “You are what you eat.” Well, going by this, what you eat on a daily basis actually becomes you.
In order to do this and to build perfect cells, your body needs a couple of nutrients: Enough healthy fats and protein because cell membranes are almost entirely made up of those two macronutrients. Water to help speed up the repairing process and flush out everything your body does not need anymore. And of course a couple of vitamins and minerals that are important for different kind of organs or body functions. Vitamin A for example is great for vision. It protects your eyes from age related decline and night blindness. It can be found in foods like salmon and tuna as well as sweet potato, kale, carrots and bell peppers. Omega fatty acids are important for heart and blood health and can be found in great usable amounts in salmon, freshly ground flax seeds, chia seeds and hemp seeds. Magnesium, calcium and zinc on the other side are really important to build and maintain muscle. They can typically be found in tofu, legumes, avocado, whole grains and nuts and seeds.
You see, to get enough of all of these nutrients, it is really important to eat balanced meals full of a variety of different health foods. To get as little toxins and other added chemicals your body does not need alongside with it, it is best to choose organic as often as you can. You’ll notice a difference in taste too!
So what could a healthy day of eating look like? For breakfast aim for some type of whole grain like oatmeal, with berries, almond milk and flax or chia seeds. You can go all-gourmet by adding a ton of delicious superfoods if you want. For lunch opt for a colorful salad full of everything you like and make it filling by adding some healthy protein like chicken or beans, carbs like sweet potato and a good source of fat like avocado or a light dressing with a little bit of olive oil. Have you ever tried a vegetable curry for dinner? It is amazing! Throw in all the veggies you can find in the fridge, add some tofu, coconut milk, fresh cilantro and wild rice. A great snack are raw vegetables with hummus, plant based yoghurt with fruit or some healthy homemade carrot cake. As long is your diet is busting of life, color and vibrance, you can get as creative as you want and make whatever you enjoy eating.
But what happens when you do not get in all the nutrients you need on a daily basis? Do you get sick? Can you actually see it on the outside? The answer is yes to both. Your body is a highly efficient, smart functioning machine who’s only job is to keep you alive. So when it does not get all the nutrients it needs for important organs like the heart and the lungs to make sure you stay on this planet, it takes them away from the repair of other, less important organs, for example the skin. A lack of nutrients will therefore be visible in the skin first. Noticeable by dry, itchy or flaky skin. Then next up are your hair and nails which can get thinner or chip and break more easily. And if instead of healthy foods, you fill your diet with a lot of sugar and processed foods, your immune system can get a hit too. This is because sugar and everything processed inhibit the white blood cells in your body from killing bacteria and fighting against viruses. In the long term this even means you can get seriously ill.
Since your body repairs and replaces old cells all the time, eating a healthy diet and living a good quality lifestyle for a while inevitably will become the new make up of each of your cells. And after a while you can see and feel this too: The skin looks soft and nurtured with a glowing skin tone, eyes are bright and sparkling. You will feel full of energy and ready to take on each day. After a while your hair can become thicker and maybe you will lose some weight naturally without even having to try really hard.
Something you maybe will not notice unless you are paying attention to it, is the absence of the common cold most people get each winter. The fighting power of our immune system is closely linked to how we choose to eat, live and think each day. So one thing you can do to fight a cough is making sure you are not even getting one. Over the long run you can even prevent yourself from getting age-related diseases like cancer, heart disease or diabetes.
Sounds like a dream? In our ears too! But it is exactly what a healthy lifestyle does and why we choose to share our passion for healthy food with you. Of course we are not telling you to never have a slice of cream cake again, but with 90% of your diet coming from whole foods and unprocessed products you will look great, feel great and can enjoy a little treat here and there too without having to feel guilty about it or making a compromise on your health.
Written by, Maritza Kolenbrander, Food Psychologist at Plantifulplan