Of all the New Year’s Resolutions made on January 1st, over half of them involve dietary changes. However, less than 10% come to fruition after an entire year of hard work and dedication. Why does this good intention often fail? Although restaurants and grocery stores provide healthier, nutrient-packed products, our actions and habits can only be blamed by our lack of ambition. Before regaining your motivation, assess your current health habits. Below, we discuss how you can evaluate your nutritional health by answering two questions.
What Does Your Current Diet Consist of?
Have time constraints between juggling work and family life affected your eating habits? Consider the amount of frozen pizzas, microwaveable lunches, and vending machine snacks you revert to when you don’t have the time to cook healthy meals. Over a year’s time, priorities may change, causing you to live off a poor diet for the sake of convenience.
The greatest detectives gather every detail. For the next two weeks, begin documenting in a food journal your eating trends. Keep track of every meal and each snack in between. For example, if your food journal reveals a trend of intermittent snacks loaded with sugary ingredients, perhaps your diet is nutritionally deficient of healthy fats and proteins that keep you full and satisfied.
Keep Calm and Educate Yourself.
Switching all your produce from generic to organic will not change your nutritional health, if that is the only adjustment you make. Therefore, reading books or listening to podcasts that answer why and how eating chemical-free foods void of harmful ingredients will boost your conscious knowledge. For clear and inciteful nutrition facts, Dr. Mark Hyman wrote many articles and released podcasts devoted to explaining why we need nutritional supplements and the effects of malnutrition. In an easy-to-read format, Dr. Hyman takes the guesswork out of your research! Retrain your nutritional mindset by educating yourself with foods you are encouraged to eat instead of focusing only on what to avoid.
Have You Noticed any Body Changes?
Whether we pay attention or not, our bodies tell us when something doesn’t feel right. It could be in the form of hives and a swollen tongue telling you that you are allergic to peanut butter or sharp stomach pains and cramps shortly after eating from a suspicious food truck. Though these body changes below can sometimes take effect unnoticeable, their presence reveals a lot about your nutritional health.
Picture a midnight snack involving a concoction of nacho cheese and remnants of last night’s dinner. Regardless of the food selection and the time your cravings appear, all cravings stem from a nutritional deficiency. The easiest way to fulfill a craving is to simply eat it. The smartest way to fight your craving is to eat what satisfies your nutritional craving. This list below highlights some of the most popular cravings and the nutritional deficiencies that cause them.
|Cheese||Essential Fatty Acids Deficiency||Omega 3’s – Flax oil, ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts|
|Chocolate||Magnesium Deficiency||Raw cacao nibs/beans, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, greens, fruit, magnesium|
|Coffee or Black Tea||Sulfur Deficiency||Cruciferous vegetables (kale and cabbage), cranberries, horseradish, asparagus, carob powder, garlic, onion|
|Chips||Chloride Deficiency||Celery, olives, tomato, kelp, Himalayan sea salt|
Consider a typical work week with your average stresses, eating habits, and sleep schedule. Have you noticed multiple coffee refills to get you through the day without success? When folate, vitamin B, and magnesium are lacking in your diet, your energy levels will significantly drop, making any amount of caffeine less impactful.
In contrast with over-exhaustion, if you have trouble staying awake through the night and fighting to fall asleep, you may want to reassess your nutritional intake. Though coffee drinks taste great, consuming caffeine can worsen your insomnia. In addition to melatonin and serotonin, incorporating nutrients like potassium, magnesium, and copper into your diet can help you fall asleep and stay asleep through the night.
Headaches and Migraines
The dreaded aura changes that heighten your light and noise sensitivity. Noticing an increase in headaches or migraines not linked to a menstrual cycle or stressful environment can potentially be your body fighting without proper nutrients. By increasing your fruit, vegetable, and omega-3 servings, and switching to more whole foods, you can help ward off untimely headaches and migraines.
Nothing wakes you up in the middle of the night quite like an excruciating leg cramp. If you notice that muscle cramps come more frequently, you may want to begin incorporating foods rich in magnesium and calcium in your diet. To add an extra boost of electrolytes, staying hydrated with mineral water or coconut water will also help in reducing muscle cramping.
Acne, bruises, cuts, and scrapes. If your body is taking too long to heal simple wounds like bleeding gums after gently flossing, you may have a nutritional deficiency in vitamin C. This vitamin is crucial in providing anti-inflammatories and antioxidants that limit damage to your cells. Though citrus fruits are known for high concentrations of vitamin C, you can also get enough vitamin C through vegetables like bell peppers and broccoli, chili peppers, and brussel sprouts.
Brittle Hair and Nails
If you are at the salon on a regular basis, this warning sign may be harder to notice. Though brittle hair and nails can be linked to reasons such as too little moisture, a lack in collagen, overexposure to chemicals, or a hormone imbalance, your body could also be asking for more protein, iron, zinc, or omega fats.
A diagnosis of arrythmia, or an irregular heartbeat, can stem from many underlining health issues. However, if the cause is due to a nutritional deficiency, you can naturally treat arrythmia by increasing your electrolytes, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids. This can be achieved by eating foods rich in these nutrients like salmon, bok choi, and bananas.
Boost your Nutritional Health with LaCava Center
Altering your diet to reflect a healthy lifestyle is the first step in navigating weight loss, increased energy levels, lessened stress, and your overall well-being. At the LaCava Center for Integrative Medicine, we want to help guide you through a nutritional deficiency that results in a healthy lifestyle. On staff, we have a registered dietitian ready to assist you in your nutritional health. We strive to offer you the best nutritional therapy and supplements available. If you would like to learn more about our services, contact us today at (847) 695-6262 or via our online form!