If your news feed is anything like mine, you're probably constantly bombarded by both media and health experts on what the “best” diet is to optimize your health and performance. Lately, there is so much emphasis on choosing foods that... are gluten-free, non-dairy, clean, paleo, vegan, keto, anti-inflammatory, and superfood-based. Once you maneuver past the guilt created from the shoulds, and don't dos, and move past the latest new study write up (commonly extrapolated from animal research) there is simply one question to ask yourself that cuts through the hype... "Am I being nourished by what I am eating?"
This question might be a little hard to answer without delving into the meaning of nourishment. Dictionary.com says to nourish is to:
.01 sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth
.02 cherish, foster, and keep alive
.03 strengthen, build up, or promote
This definition is about more than just healthy foods and the nutrients you receive from them; it embraces the emotion, enjoyment, and relationship you can have with food. This feeling of true nourishment is something that many of our clients work towards. It makes choosing High Performance Nutrition easy and fun. To get started, here are a few suggestions to help you start thinking of food differently.
.01 Reflect on what is nourishing for you.
Identify what type of food, flavors, or textures appeal to you. Tap into your awareness of what meals satiate you after you eat them. For me, it's homemade soup, especially making it and sharing it with others. For others, it's something salty. Some prefer foods with a crunchy texture. Your preferences are personal; what is nourishing to you might not be nourishing to someone else.
.02 Look at all of the food you eat in a day. How much color are you eating?
One of the most common things I hear from TIGNUM clients is that they are surprised about how good they feel after incorporating more color into their meals. Turning that colorless plate into a pastel of colors can quickly help you feel nourished. The colorful pigments in foods (phytonutrients) support cellular function, which help you perform better and make you feel good about the foods you just ate. Keep this in mind the next time you go to the grocery store.
.03 Listen to your intuition.
Intuition can be helpful in giving you insights into what your body needs and doesn't need. It's ok if you don’t do well with wheatgrass shots or green smoothies (I actually don’t do well with either). Maybe you do better with cooked greens and warm foods, especially with fall already upon us. Some people do really well with raw foods - others prefer cooked foods. Some people are juice people and feel energized after a cup of freshly squeezed juice. If something makes you feel sick, listen to your body and try something else in its place.
When you start to hone in on what makes you feel nourished, you'll find that you can enjoy your food, perform better, and nourish yourself for a lifetime rather than struggling day-to-day with a temporary diet. By challenging your current attitude and approach towards food, you may just find yourself making High Performance Nutrition choices happily and easily. Keep on scrolling for a few seasonal recipes to get you started on your quest to find what nourishes you. As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Directions // Add the olive oil to a slow cooker. Add in the chicken breasts and season the chicken with the cumin. Set slow cooker on low for 6 hours. Once the 8 hours is up, take the chicken out and shred it with 2 forks. Put the shredded chicken back into the slow cooker and add in the cilantro and lime juice.
Directions // In a large skillet over medium heat, add in your olive oil, onion, garlic, and ginger. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add in your ground turkey and salt. Once the turkey begins to brown, add in the grated sweet potato and black pepper. Cook the mixture for 5–10 minutes until the sweet potato softens and the turkey is cooked through (no pink). Add the swiss chard. Turn off the heat and mix everything together until the swiss chard has wilted.
Directions // In a medium saucepan, sauté shallots, ginger, cabbage, and carrots in oil until crisp to tender, about 3 minutes. Add broth and almond butter and simmer gently for another 3 to 4 minutes. Dissolve miso in water and add to saucepan, stirring well. Heat for another 5 minutes. (Do not let soup boil.) Top each serving with minced chives.
Directions // Combine all ingredients except ice and blend on high speed. Add the ice cubes until thick and creamy. Refrigerate or freeze for later use.
Recipes from Patti's recent recipe development with Daily’s Fit & Fresh restaurant.