Health Begins On Your Plate

We cannot control the genes we are born with; but, we can control how our genes express themselves and behave.  Good nutrition is one of our lifestyle factors that have the power to turn off our“bad genes.” [1]

Nutritious foods come from nature and have not been adulterated or processed with chemicals, pesticides, and trans fats. Eating whole foods in their simple form is the best way to nourish the body and achieve optimum health.  A simple rule of thumb I like to follow is:

 If God made it, eat it.  If man made it, avoid it. 

Regardless of what diet you follow, it is critically important that you incorporate a variety of fruits and vegetables into your diet.  The phytochemicals, polyphenols, and antioxidants from plants and seeds lower inflammation in the body and help the body heal. Daily consumption of fruits and vegetables can prevent, and in some instances reverse, cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and inflammation, which is the precursor to all illnesses. [2] [3] [4] [5]   

Incorporating these plant foods in your diet will also improve your complexion, give you a more youthful appearance, and improve your mood and energy levels.  The fiber found in plants helps stabilize your blood sugar and feed the good bacteria in your gut. When you eat plenty of fiber, you are less likely to overeat or crave sugar.  If you are on a weight loss journey, eating fiber and protein with every meal makes losing weight no big deal.

Fiber plays a key role in supporting your immune system and mental health.  As your body breaks down fiber, it releases a byproduct that feeds the good bacteria in your gut.  A balanced and healthy ratio of good bacteria and bad bacteria in your gut strengthens the immune system. This is so because 70% of your immune system resides in your gut. Your gut microbiome regulates your immune system [6], enables digestion and produces serotonin, [7]  a neurotransmitter that makes you feel happy.  Eating a healthy diet with plenty of fiber may help ease the symptoms of depression. [8]

Your diet will determine how well you age, your health, and your overall quality of life.  The road to health is paved with good intestines. Nourish your body with the food that God created and designed for us to eat. 

Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.

Today’s Standard American Diet (SAD) is highly processed and devoid of nutrition. It is best to avoid anything artificial, including artificial sweeteners, any ingredient you can’t pronounce in less than a second, MSG’s, artificial colors and dyes, and unhealthy fats like vegetable oils, canola oil, and other seed oils.  Substitute the bad fats with good fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, butter, and ghee. The more simple your food is, the healthier it will be. Read labels and be mindful and discerning with what you choose to eat. After all, you are what you eat and an expression of what you eat.  

Not surprisingly, obesity rates and poor health outcomes have increased since Americans started eating fast food and processed and chemicalized food. Over the last fifty years, obesity rates in the United States have nearly tripled. [9] The stats for childhood obesity are just as grim. Per the CDC, about 14.4 million children in the US are obese. [10] The rising rate of obesity is attributed to poor quality of food, less exercise, and a more sedentary lifestyle. [11]  Obesity is associated with the leading causes of death in the United States and worldwide, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer. [12]

Today it’s more important than ever to focus on eating healthy and correcting the disastrous course we’re on. That means getting back to basics and eating home-cooked meals. When you cook at home, you have control over the ingredients you use. Naturally, you will use better quality ingredients than what you find in most restaurants. Restaurants need to make a profit; thus, the ingredients they use tend to be cheaper and lower quality. 

Cooking at home is an expression of love. A home-cooked meal brings warmth to the house with lovely aromas. It shows that you care about the people you share a meal with. If your partner cooks with you, cooking can be fun rather than a chore.  Cooking with children is a wonderful opportunity to, not only make beautiful memories together; but, also to educate them on food and the importance of food choices.  The best part about cooking at home? You get to have meaningful family time at the kitchen table.


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Dina Arvanitakis
Dina is a certified functional medicine nutrition coach and author that is passionate about health and wellness. As a health advocate, she coaches clients on how to implement anti-aging techniques and weight-loss strategies and solutions so they can become their own powerful success stories. She believes that everyone can enjoy a healthy vibrant life once they are empowered with knowledge and the right tools to make effective changes in their lives. A healthy you is a FABULOUS you!