Hey guys! I have a guest blogger today, Andrea, a holistic nutrition student. Check out her tips on creating a healthy lifestyle 🙂

PS— Make sure you send me an e-mail to naturopath@theyogavine.ca if you want to come to my Free Hormone Masterclass June 22nd at 6:30 and I will send you the Zoom link!

Now let’s get into some wellness tips from Andrea.

Atkins, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, South Beach – I’m sure we’ve all heard these names before and one thing they all have in common is that each of these companies have designed their own weight loss plan that’s perfect for YOU. However, as I’m ¾ of the way through my holistic nutrition course, I’ve been learning from the very beginning that there is no ONE ideal diet! Every person is different; everyone has a different BMI (body mass index), metabolism, eating habits, exercise habits and lifestyle choices. Did you know that most people will regain 70% of their weight lost within 2 years? I feel like it has a lot to do with the Standard American Diet (SAD). Over the last 15 years, the SAD has been processed, genetically modified, reheated, sugar added, hydrogenated and convenient. Unfortunately, none of the companies I’ve mentioned focus on the quality of food you should be eating. 

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “you are what you eat”. I used to believe that it didn’t really matter what I ate as long as I exercised but unfortunately, our bodies aren’t made that way. The new saying should be “you are what your body can absorb!”. Nutrition is all about creating a healthy lifestyle from the foods we eat; to the water we drink, moving our bodies, how we handle stress and our quality of sleep. All of these factors play a roll in our overall health and well-being. 

I’m here to give you a few tips on what I believe to be the important components that make up a healthy lifestyle. 

Natural foods – 80-90% of the diet should consist of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grain, legumes, protein and healthy fats. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. All of which are essential to our health! Nuts and seeds are good sources of protein and healthy fats as well as fiber vitamins and minerals. Whole grains and legumes are what our body uses as fuel. Complex carbohydrates provide more sustained energy than simple sugars. For example, think of building a fire: complex carbohydrates (such as organic steel cut oats) are like the logs on a fire, they burn slowly whereas simple carbohydrates (such as a chocolate bar) are when you put paper on a fire and it gets used up immediately! Protein can come from plants and/or animals and are essential for our metabolism, hormones and mental health. Did you know fat is found in each cell of our body? And that 60% of our brain is actually fat? Our bodies need both saturated and unsaturated fats. Fats are important for our nervous system, protecting our organs as well as the manufacturing of hormones. 

Alive – fermented foods such as kimchi and sauerkraut are loaded with probiotic bacteria that are essential to the bacteria and enzymes in your gut. Putting fermented foods on top of salads are beneficial for your immune system, digestive system and gut microbiome! 

Good quality – the quality of our food is just as important as the quantity! Try you’re hardest to buy organic produce over conventional whenever possible. Organic products are free from pesticides and herbicides. Be sure to check out https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty-dozen.php to find a list of fruits and vegetables that contain the most chemicals in your grocery stores! If you’re reading this and you’re from Niagara, then you know how fortunate we are to be surrounded by amazing local farms. Ohme farm, Plan B Organics, Old Country Acres Niagara and Mingle Hill are just a few farms that grow amazing local and organic produce and a lot of these farms have veggie box subscriptions that can either be picked up at a location or delivered right to your door! Not only do you know where your food is coming from you’re also supporting local!

Variety – eat the rainbow! Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables helps to support different systems in our body and provides us with phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are chemicals produced by plants that provide us with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits! 

Staying Hydrated – dehydration is linked to many chronic health problems so be sure your drinking enough filtered water! A general equation is your weight ÷ 2 = ______ ÷ 8 = # of glasses of water for that person. But always keep in mind activity level and intensity, climate/temperature and diet. You can always eat your water too if there are enough fruits and vegetables in your diet! 

Movement – this can include anything such as going for a walk or hike, yoga and lifting weights, however you choose to move your body, just make sure you enjoy it! 

Balance – the 80/20 rule is an everyday diet guide, 80% of the time, be sure to eat nutritious, whole and fresh foods and then the 20% leaves some flexibility for less healthy options. 

I’m sure your asking yourself, where do I begin? It’s not to say you should start making these changes immediately. I’ve been learning a lot of information over the last 8 months and I’ve been making small achievable goals for myself that have turned into sustainable habits. If I made all these changes overnight, I know I would be overwhelmed and it wouldn’t be realistic! So to go along with the components of a healthy diet here are a few strategies to help you slowly incorporate some or most of these lifestyle changes!

  1. Set realistic goals: start with something small, such as incorporating one leafy salad a day. Whether it’s for lunch or with dinner. Slowly making these small changes will lead to healthier habits!  Or maybe instead of doing a 30-minute exercise at one time because you can’t find the time, split up the 30 minutes by walking 10 minutes after every meal. This is still moving your body! 
  2. Create a food-mood journal: Mood follows food, so what we eat can affect the way we feel. Keep a 7-day food journal of everything you eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner as well as snacks and any beverages you may have. After writing your food journal, make note if you feel a certain way after eating a certain food. For example, if you notice that after you have bread, you feel bloated, tired and gassy you may want to start eliminating the food that makes you feel not so good or talk to Dr. Shea about taking a food sensitivity test to see if there are certain foods that just don’t work for your body 
  3. Be positive: Starting your day with an affirmation or even a 3-minute meditation can influence your mindset for the rest of your day! Wake up each day and be grateful for what you have!
  4. Do it for yourself – You are your biggest obstacle! Whether you’re single, in a relationship or taking care of a family, it’s never too late to start making small changes. Once you take care of yourself, it’s easier to take care of others! 

When you’re healthy and feeling well, you have the energy to move in the direction of your dreams and to create the life you want to live! 


Author: Andrea Sawatzky Holistic Nutrition Student


This information is intended for health inspiration and educational purposes only. See your regulated healthcare professional before making any dietary or lifestyle changes.