To supply with what is necessary for life, health and growth; to cherish, foster the development of, to strengthen, to keep alive.
To be well nourished is to learn how to source and transform whole foods into simple, delicious, satisfying meals to share and savour. There is simply no greater gift in life than to provide what is necessary for optimal health, vitality and well-being.
A common sense guide to nutrition and healthy living tips
The simple knowledge of what we need to eat, to nourish ourselves and our family, has for many become somewhat of a complex issue. With so much nutrition information available, you’d think that making nourishing food choices should be straight forward. However, confusion abounds, much of which has arisen from conflicting and ever changing reports of what actually is ’good’ for us.
I have studied health and nutrition for many years now and have seen nutrition research and basic health recommendations change and evolve, even though ironically the human body has not altered at all. It seems the more food science changes food from its whole and basic form, the more diet related diseases develop. For example, we have a growing number of diet and low-fat foods and drinks available which we are told are good food choices, yet the rate of obesity and the diseases associated with being overweight continue to climb.
The basic requirements for optimal nutrition and nourishment, like the human body, has not, and will never change. By eating a wide variety of seasonal whole foods, you will provide your body with the perfect balance of the nutrients required for growth, optimal health, well-being and vitality. Becoming well versed at analysing nutrition panels, counting calories or following food fads does not hold the key to sustainable, lifelong good health. Processed and refined foods offer little nourishment, no matter the health providing claims of the manufacturer. In fact, they generally offer nothing more than empty calories, enough for us to survive – but at what cost to our health and well-being?
Getting back to basics and eating a variety of foods in their pure, unprocessed states is the only way to sustain good health. Endeavour to eat S.L.O.W foods – that is Seasonal, Local, Organic (or sustainable), Whole foods. Eating this way is the most simple though significant way to nurture not only your own health and well-being, but also the health and well-being of our precious planet. For more about why I choose S.L.O.W foods, click here.
What are real or whole foods?
Real or whole foods are foods that are eaten as close to their natural state as possible – unrefined and unprocessed, low human intervention foods. Eating a variety of these foods provides a perfect balance of nutrients to heal and thrive… just as nature intended. Whole foods are the staples – what we would eat if no supermarkets existed. Seasonal and local vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, meats, poultry, eggs, fish, whole grains, and yoghurt. Eating seasonal, local sustainably grown produce ensures you are eating foods at their freshest and their most nourishing so that you derive the most nutrition possible. The pantry list on this site has a list of ingredients to transform these staples into delicious food memories. My ingredients page will help you to understand the essence of a food, tips for preparing it and where to source it. The recipes guide will provide all the inspiration you need to do so.
Where to shop and what to buy
I would encourage you to shop as locally as possible which is often cheaper, fresher, more nutritious and more sustainable. Personally, I source the majority of my produce from my local farmers market and other local producers. I always buy nuts, seeds, legumes and grains in bulk as it is cheaper that way.
Ultimately it is up to you to ask your suppliers about the source of their produce, how it is grown, harvested and transported. Ask questions especially of meats that are advertised as ‘free range’ (they are not always as free as you may think), or if ‘grass fed,’ ask if the animal has been grass fed for 100% of its life (not just the first few months). Remember ‘organic’ does not automatically mean ethical or sustainable. I know when it comes to sourcing meat, for example, I would choose to eat fully grass fed nonorganic beef, over an organic grain fed beef. Ultimately the choice is yours, and one which shapes the food industry.
Yes, it may take a little time to ask the questions and source the best produce available to you, but once you have been through the process, you can relax in understanding what you are consuming. See my resources guide for a list of local suppliers and producers in your area. Maybe you can contribute to this list also?
If your primary resource for food shopping is a big supermarket chain, then don’t despair. Just consider shopping for most of your food from the outermost aisles. By that I mean get your fruit, vegetables, fish, meats, dairy produce, cleaning products and toiletries (all from around the perimeter of the supermarket), and briefly, duck down the isles to top up any pantry items (such as oils, condiments, nuts etc). Make note of the source of the produce which should always be disclosed (often around the price tag) and stick to Australian produce which is fresher, less contaminated and much more nutritious than overseas produce. Also, choose ‘new season’ produce if possible which is fresher. Meat should, at least, be free range, grass or pasture raised.
Water. Lots of clean, filtered (if possible) water. I marvel at how fortunate we are to have this life-sustaining fluid literally ‘on tap’. So remember if you actually feel thirsty, you are already very dehydrated! You need to drink around 2 litres of water each day, and more if you have exercised or consumed caffeine.
Think of how a plant looks if it hasn’t enough water – droopy, sad, old…need I say more? You should sip water frequently rather than guzzling large amounts infrequently. Another plant analogy; if you pour a large amount of water onto a pot plant, most of it just overflow and only a little is absorbed into the soil. It’s the same with you. A little water frequently is best so you absorb every drop rather than overflowing and running to the toilet every ten minutes. More on water here.
For the pleasure of eating and sharing
Being well nourished is not just about filling your stomach. It’s also about warming your heart and soul. Past generations shared food acquisition, preparation, and consumption. Families and communities ate together sharing the food experience. They integrated, celebrated and worshiped with food.
Sadly, the everyday social aspect of food has become largely absent in many households, probably due to the modern day schedule and the pull toward technology (TV and other electronic devices). Few families share eating experiences, rather kids and parents often eat at different times and often even different meals. It’s no wonder there’s no time for preparing one good wholesome meal and food fussiness is endemic! If you follow only one piece of advice from this website, then I urge you, not only for your physical but for your social health, share at least one meal a day with loved ones. Through food, lifelong bonds and social structure are nourished too.
Eat in the spirit of embracing the health and vitality available to each and every living thing – the nourished soil – which feeds the plant – which feeds the animal that eats the plant – nourishing the person that eats the plant and animal. By nourishing yourself, you nourish the whole world.
Take small steps
Once you decide to make improvements to the way you nourish yourself and your family, make a commitment to change, but take it slow. Some things may be easy to implement like eating dinner each night together as a family. Others may take a little effort like sourcing S.L.O.W produce or changing a dietary habit. Choose just one or two things to focus on to begin with. Small steps for a life long gain.
Move your body in ways that feel good (for some this may be strenuous activity for others a gentle walk, for me it constantly changes). Listen to your body and be kind to yourself.
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