When it comes to food here in North America, and in all first world nations, we have choice.

An abundance of choices. An overwhelmingly abundant number of choices actually. I mean, aside from the rush on toilet paper last year, how many times have you gone to the grocery store and seen empty shelves? Never happens. Some call it a blessing, some blame their poor food choices on it. Regardless of where you sit on that food spectrum, the one thing we do know for certain is that we should be one of the healthiest nations in the world. But we're not. As a first-world, wealthy country, we have an abundance of food, but a vast majority of the population is starving to death nutritionally. Makes you wonder how that can even happen.

It all comes down to choice. Many diseases such as cancer, heart disease, hypertension, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, Alzheimer's, digestive issues, leaky gut, are all now being called lifestyle diseases. Why? Because the lifestyle that was chosen by the individual, over time, caused the disease to happen. It would stand to reason then, that if our choices could bring about a negative outcome, it seems reasonable that it could also bring about a positive response. And there's science to back it up.

Study published on the NCBI's website by the National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK11795/ shares how making dietary and lifestyle changes is key to reversing these lifestyle diseases and restoring overall health. “But Tania”, you say, “heart disease runs in my family so I'm bound to get it sooner or later.” So why not make it as much later as you possibly can? And just to address the genetic elephant in the room, our DNA controls only about 20 percent of the outcome of our health. Some scientists are now saying it's even less. Which means we have about 80 percent control of the outcome of our health. Pretty amazing right. So why does the better part of our population continue to make poor food choices?

There are two things that play a part in how and what we eat – physiologically and psychological. The way our bodies are made up, our physiology, requires that we eat food. When we deprive our bodies of what it needs – restrict calories, remove food groups, forget to eat, skip meals, eat junk – blood sugar crashes, and the hormones in charge of appetite; leptin and grehlin, get knocked out of balance. The brain, the psychological component, however still needs food. When we deprive our bodies of the fuel it needs, grehlin goes into high gear, triggering the brain to start telling the body it needs food fast. While leptin, which normally let's us know when we are full, gets shut off. Hello cravings and overeating. And that's when people are most likely to grab something packaged, processed and/or sugary rather than whole, healthy foods. Ignoring cravings for bad food is a good thing, but if you're also not fuelling with the good at regular intervals throughout the day for whatever reason (time, working late, dieting) your body will take away from its own muscle, turns it to glucose and send it up to the brain. Oh, and FYI, in case you were wondering, it won't take it from your stored fat.

It's pretty difficult to make good food choices when hormones, and hangry are working against you demanding to be fed asap. The thing is, you can get those hormones to work in your favour. To work together with your body and your brain to get rid of cravings, overeating and impulse snacking. Believe it or not, you do it with food. The thing is, when food is used to create hormonal balance, health happens.

Hormones are balanced when blood sugar is stabilized. And the way to stabilize blood sugar is to eat small macro balanced meals every three to four hours throughout the day. I call this PFC every 3. Simply put it's eating a balance of a good quality protein, healthy fat and colourful carb together, within one hour of waking and then every three to four hours throughout the day, up until about an hour and a half before bed. Simple concept that does take a bit of organizing and prepping to get going, but the benefits are totally worth it. Blood sugar normal, hormones balanced, menopause symptoms minimized/eliminated, inflammation reduced, join pain decreased, digestion improved, cholesterol and blood pressure normalized, immune function enhanced, reverse some diseases, metabolism turns on and stays on, body releases stored fat and burns it as energy. Just a little trivia for you.. Did you know that for every pound of fat, there's 3500 calories of stored energy waiting to be used? And once the stored fat starts being released, any excess weight you might be carrying comes off too. A wonderful side effect that happens when you stop dieting, and start focusing on creating health.

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Kelowna Nutritionist STOP dieting, start living! Lose the Bloat, Melt your Belly, Love Your Life!! Last thing, last time, believe it! Sign up to receive my bi-weekly FIT Nutrition blog, and get started today.