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One Simple Nutrition Principle To Achieve Optimal Health

I’m doing a mini-series on how to create optimal health.  That’s the goal, right?  

What Is Optimal Health?

An article in the “American Journal of Health Promotion” by Michael O’Donnell, a consultant and speaker in the healthcare industry, explains that optimal health is a balance of five areas of health. These areas are emotional, physical, spiritual, intellectual and social health. The concept of optimal health focuses on having a healthy mindset, as well as nutrition and exercise.

I kicked off the series by sharing the #1 thing you need to focus on for optimal health:  HYDRATION! Then followed it up by talking about how there’s a ripple effect when it comes to your health and your habits.  If you missed those blogs, the links are below.

Most Important Thing For You To Achieve Optimal Health

The Ripple Effect of your Health

Today, we’re going to focus on one simple nutritional principle that’s important to achieving optimal health.

Just Eat Real Food

It sounds simple, but what is “real food,” exactly?  

I define real food as anything thing that’s not processed.  It doesn’t come in a box or a can. Most boxed and canned products contain additives to keep make them last longer.  Those additives are harmful to our bodies and our overall health.  

But they’re so yummy!  I know.  I get it.  They’re delicious, convenient and cost effective. I’m not a purest by any means.  I’ll eat those yummy boxed items every once in awhile.  So I follow the 80/20 rule.

What’s the 80/20 Rule?

The 80/20 rule states that 80% of our results come from 20% of our efforts.  When we’re talking about how we should fuel our bodies, 80% of that food should come from whole, real foods.  That gives us a little wiggle room for the times when we eat some “not-so-healthy” foods, like your favorite cereal, cracker, or potato chip.  

Keep It Simple Strategy

Follows these three simple steps the next time you’re at the grocery store.  

There are 3 areas of the the grocery store:

Area 1:  This is when you first walk into the store.  Usually on the edge of the store.  What do you usually see?  Fresh produce!  This is “real food.”

Area 2:  This is the refrigerated section of the store.  It’s usually the perimeter of the store.  This is where you’ll find fresh meats, dairy, cheese and other items that require refrigeration.  The foods here might be “real foods.”  Some are and some aren’t.  That processed deli meat is not in the real food category, but the fresh meats that need to be cooked at home are.

Area 3:  These are the aisles of the grocery store.  These are your packaged foods that do not require refrigeration and have a long shelf life.  This is NOT “real food.”  Even the products labeled as “healthy” because they’re organic or low fat, sugar free, etc. are not “real foods.”  You want to limit these foods.  

This is a habit that you learn over time.  Pay attention to where your food is coming from (area 1, 2 or 3) next time you shop.  How can you make some adjustments the next time you shop.  It’s a learning process, but it’s a habit that once mastered will help you along the way to achieving optimal health.

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