Why self-improvement needs to begin on the inside

We do many things for self-improvement, including studying, exercise and meditation. We may even try different diets to lose weight or generally improve our physical health. Sometimes we stick with them, sometimes we don’t.

But how often do we really stop and think about how our bodies respond to food?

You are what you eat

Eating is one of the main ways we interact with our environment. We consume plant and animal products in various forms each day so we need an effective system to sort out the nutrients and energy from the toxins and waste. Luckily, we come pre-loaded with a highly efficient system at birth.

This system is made up of trillions of bacteria found in our gut. These microscopic life forms have their own gene structure and are known collectively as the ‘microbiome’. This is an integral part of our overall health and actively manages our digestion. It even communicates with our brain and other parts of the body.1

One way it does this is by converting the foods we eat into energy and sending it via the nervous system - in the form of neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) - throughout the body, especially to our glands and organs. Changing the supply of energy to our glands changes the amount of hormones they release.

This domino effect results in changes to things like our:
·      Sleep patterns
·      Digestion
·      Mood
·      Cell regeneration and
·      Brain function.

Looking after your internal engine

We all know that using poor-quality engine oils in our cars leads to poor overall performance and using high-quality fuel increases performance. The same goes for our body. When we give it the best quality fuel, it gives us optimal performance on all levels.

Ok, I can hear you saying, ‘We know this already, healthy food is good for us, blah, blah, blah!’

Fair enough – you’ve heard it before, but are you acting on it? To what extent? Are you skipping breakfast? Are you eating lots of fruits and vegetables but also lots of sugary snacks? What about your portion sizes? Or caffeine? Alcohol?

I’m not judging you here, I just want to help you be aware of the effects of every morsel you eat.

Strategic analysis

At work, we often review systems, products or teams to see if they are still working well and to highlight areas that can be improved. You can do the same thing to get a true picture of your diet.

Try keeping a food diary for a week. Be honest with yourself and record every single thing you eat and drink. That includes things like lollies, biscuits and late-night snacks. When you’ve finished, go back and look for patterns; both good and bad.

What did you find? Even if you are eating reasonably well, is there anything you could do better?

Tips and tricks

You don’t need to overhaul your whole diet to start seeing improvements in your overall. Try these simple ideas to get started.

·      Avoid eating on the run. Sitting down to eat and chewing slowly helps your digestion. Paying attention to the texture and flavour of your food is also a great way to calm and focus your mind, especially if you’re feeling stressed.
·      Eating well doesn’t have to be boring or time-consuming. It is just as convenient to snack on a banana than it is a chocolate bar. If you don’t have time to make your own soup, many tinned soups are still very nourishing and their varieties are endless. Grilling fish fillets at home and adding some oven-baked potato chips is faster than getting fast-food delivery.
·      Don’t skip meals or cut out entire food groups. It’s better to have smaller, more frequent meals, if that helps and eat a bit of everything in moderation. (Yes, even chocolate is fine in small doses.)
·      When you go to the supermarket, stick to the outside aisles as that is where the fresh food is. Avoid highly processed foods, especially those high in salt, sugar or unhealthy fat.

Changes like these often show results within days. You might find you deal better with stress because you’re not as tired as you used to be. Maybe you won’t crave caffeine or sugar as often. Maybe you’ll have more energy to spend on doing the things you love to do after work, instead of collapsing in a heap.

Think of all the amazing outcomes that could arise from your ‘fuel change’. Aren’t you keen to find out what possibilities await you when you give it a go?

Call to action…

For more inspiration to help you optimise your intake and improve your overall health, make the time to listen to The Mentor List podcast interview with Udo Erasmus. Udo is the founder and creator of the Udo’s Choice® range of health products.

Udo is an international authority on fats, oils, cholesterol and human health. His best-selling book, “Fats that Heal – Fats That Kill” has been a major influence on the world’s understanding of how important Essential Fatty Acids are for human health. His passion is to help people understand the importance of good nutrition for optimal health

In this in-depth interview, Udo outlines his amazing personal journey from studying science and psychology to overcoming pesticide poisoning through nutrition when none of his doctors could help him. He is a firm believer that when we take responsibility for our health and look after ourselves on the inside, everything else falls into place. Udo’s philosophies are both profound and easy to follow. Tune in today to reap the rewards of his extensive experience.

Kick start your personal journey to success from the conversations David has with his inspirational guests on The Mentor List. www.mentorlist.com.au

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Reference:

1 Morgan, K., ‘Change Your Microbiome, Change Yourself’, Genome Magazine, http://genomemag.com/change-your-microbiome-change-yourself/#.WN91qPl97n1