Let’s be honest, how many times have you decided to start eating healthy only to find yourself more and more confused and frustrated? The search for healthy foods can feel like an overwhelming journey, filled with confusing buzzwords, conflicting research, and ever-changing trends. That’s because nutrition should be personal and what works for many, doesn’t work for some. This is where this guide to holistic, healthier eating comes in to demystify the world of nutrition and simplify your path towards a nourishing and sustainable diet. This is the holistic nutrition guide for optimal health.
From the benefits of wholesome, plant-based ingredients to the science behind mindful eating and intuitive nourishment, this comprehensive guide covers all the essential elements of a truly holistic approach to food.
What is holistic eating/diet?
Healthy eating. We’ve all heard it before. It’s the mantra of the health-conscious, the go-to statement for diet enthusiasts everywhere. But what does it really mean? Is it simply about counting calories and cutting out junk food? Or is there more to it than that? The answer lies in holistic nutrition.
Let me just start by saying that this is by no means a list of healthy foods to eat. These are merely guidelines that are meant to help you in creating a diet that works for you. Look at this as a comprehensive approach to healthy eating that takes into account not just what you eat, but also how it’s prepared, where it comes from, and how it affects your body. It’s a blueprint for optimal health, a guide to living your best life.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: well-being starts in the gut. Nutrition has such a great impact not only on our physical body but also on our mind and spirit. And it’s not only what we eat but also what our bodies can digest that really makes a difference.
I’ve covered before the role of knowing your predominant constitution, or doshas, plays in our overall well-being. From mental health to physical wellness, what and how we eat is crucial in maintaining the balance between mind, body, and spirit.
How we eat? Yes, you heard that right. Ayurveda holds true the belief that just as important is the way we eat. The holistic diet encompasses all the processes of food, from the moment it is harvested, to preparation and ultimately digestion.
Understanding Holistic Nutrition Basics
As a nutritionist, I always make a point of advising my clients to listen to their bodies and what works for them. Intuitive nourishment is a concept derived from Ayurveda, meaning you eat based on what your body needs. Food is supposed to give you energy and it should make you feel good. That feeling of heaviness you might get after eating deep-fried foods, or the sleepiness you get after indulging in a too-big portion – these are all examples of how food shouldn’t act.
Holistic nutrition is based on a series of simple principles:
- Don’t overeat – that way the digestive process doesn’t overload and all the other processes in your body can function properly
- Eat only when you’re hungry – cravings are easily avoided when you’re balancing all 6 tastes and all macronutrients in your meals. Eating whole and nutrient-dense foods can maintain your weight and keep you energized
- Eat according to your constitution – learn which foods help your constitution and which foods work against your body
- Use the 80-20 rule – eating clean and healthy doesn’t mean you can never indulge in a piece of chocolate cake, or take a slice of that deliciously-looking pizza. The 80-20 rule means you should be mindful of what and how much you eat and don’t overindulge.
Holistic nutrition is so broad that it cannot be reduced to one article (that’s why I’ve written many on the subject). But I’ll do you one better. I have put together the No BS Guide to Holistic Nutrition which is derived from Ayurvedic teachings and includes a rundown on the different types of digestion and what foods balance each doshas, plenty of recipes to choose from, and a dosha test to set you up on the way to holistic nutrition. And the best part of it all, it’s completely free to download here.