Are you malnourished? How many of you would answer no to that question? Chances are, it’s not as clear cut as you might think.
When we think of malnourished, we immediately picture a severely underweight individual, ribcage protruding, belly swollen. Maybe we think of camera footage of homeless individuals on the streets, or perhaps children in third world countries. But did you know it is possible to have plenty of food, even an overabundance of food, and not be getting the nutrients you need? Depending on your diet and your state of health, it is not only possible but likely.
According to the CDC, only one in ten adults in the United States gets the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables in their daily diet. This news is likely not surprising because we have heard this all before. But how many of you think this is not you? Or how many of you are well aware this is you, but have not considered the connection to your own levels of nutrition? Sometimes it is hard to see our own levels of health because the signs aren’t obvious. Sometimes a few extra pounds is nothing more than an irritation. Or our reduced physical ability is easily blamed on too little exercise and a few extra pounds. And our thinning hair must be age-related. As are our wrinkles, increased blood pressure, increased cholesterol, decreased immune system, hormonal changes, and on and on and on. And sometimes, the changes come on so gradually we have lost sight of how far off track we have actually gotten.
Have you ever thought that maybe these things could be related to your diet, and not just happenstance? Or that maybe, by improving your diet, you could see a reduction in these subtle signs of lowered physical wellbeing?
Personally, I find this thought extremely exciting and empowering. What begins as a random symptom of age or lifestyle gradually builds to a long laundry list of “things wrong with me”. This is about the time we start seeking help and going to doctor after doctor to attempt to put the pieces back together, to find our way back to the days we felt good. Let me stop and say right here that there are many true conditions that absolutely warrant a doctor’s help. I do not recommend you ignore these warning signs and avoid medical assistance. However, I do advocate that you supplement the help from your doctor with quality nutrition in your daily diet. You wouldn’t take your car in for repairs, pay for the work to be done, and then try to run it on cheap, poor quality fuels, would you? So why do that to your body?
And running our bodies on cheap “fuel” is exactly how we become well fed yet undernourished. It is not always about caloric deficits. It is very possible to be malnourished simply by eating too much, eating the wrong foods, and living a lifestyle that not only lacks stress management but promotes those high levels of stress we should be avoiding. Poor diet has now surpassed smoking for the leading cause of death in many countries across the world. Pretty sobering thought, isn’t it? We have incredibly easy access to incredibly poor quality foods. We think we are making better choices at the store, not realizing that many of the products on the shelves actually have very little nutrition to offer us. Did you know that the average American’s grocery store trip will contain about 60% processed foods? What’s more, many of those foods are designed to look deceptively healthy!
It can all be a little overwhelming, given the surplus of media articles touting this diet or that, this new superfood or that new supplement. How are you supposed to know how to eat and who’s right? Rest assured, there are many right ways to eat and many more right foods to eat. The key is finding which one is right for you. Knowing how to eat for your own personal wellbeing is a beautiful thing. Free yourself from diet fads and frustration, all the while nourishing your body with true nutrient-dense foods. If you aren’t sure how to do this, that’s what I am here for. Initial consults are always complimentary, and always welcome. And if you aren’t ready for one on one consultation, watch for virtual workshops where you can learn the fundamentals of nutrition and get started on your personal path to wellness!