Imagine what would happen to your body over the next year if every day you ate exactly what you needed, exactly when you needed it, and in exactly the correct proportion. Can you predict the monumental changes that would result? In addition to potential weight loss you would probably experience greater energy, increased immunity to sickness, a reduction in aches and pains, elevated moods, and overall lifestyle improvement. In time, you would run at optimum because you got what you needed. You were designed perfectly to respond to ideal conditions (fuel, exercise, rest) with ideal health. In other words, when your needs are met with consistency, your body transforms and becomes ideal.
The truth is: we were designed to be in balance with the needs of our bodies and they came equipped to tell us what we need. That’s right. Our bodies have the ability to “talk” to us and tell us to get more hydration, less meat (or more meat), veggies, great chocolate, oatmeal…whatever. But the challenge for many of us is getting connected to those prompts in such a way that we hear them loud and clear on a consistent basis.
The key to establishing this connection is to start with logic and then move to prompts. For instance, I know that I should basically consume 75% of my daily intake from the plant world: whole grains, vegetables, and fruit. The remaining 25% should come from dairy, meat, fats, and treats. 75/25%—that ratio is pretty simple. So, at any given point in the day I simply use my logic and ask myself what group is missing. Do I need more veg? Do I need more grain? Am I short on protein? Upon identifying the missing groups I simply ask myself what sounds good from that category. The body talks in color, so pay attention to any colorful food images that spring to mind. If I need more vegetables, my prompts might be for green broccoli, crunchy lettuce, or asparagus. I might see green in my mind’s eye and try to fulfill it as soon as possible. I might get the message for something orange because I need a carrot or a yam. If I crave red, I would choose strawberries, a sweet red bell pepper, radishes, an apple, etc. In a store you may become drawn to a particular item. Whether it is salmon, grapes, crusty whole-grain bread, green beans, or anything else, be aware this is a healthy connection to your body. We don’t have to have a PhD in Nutrition, or even know the nutritional values of our food in order to manage our bodies well. The body knows what it needs even when we don’t.
Did you notice treats were included in the mix of daily fuel? Yes, great news! Sugar is not bad. In fact, to stay in perfect balance we need treats. We were designed to like cookies and it makes no sense that we must restrict the foods we happen to LOVE. Accept treats as a healthy part of your perfectly balanced day. In that vein, elect to have a treat (when you need it) that fully satisfies you. Don’t eat inferior treats—it is a waste of chewing. Recognize if one cookie keeps you in balance, and ten cookies do not. If you have trouble with compulsive eating beyond the quantity you need, please see p.13 of my book: Miracle Pill 10 Truths to Healthy, Thin, &Sexy.
In general, start today by reviewing today’s food choices. What groups are missing? What sounds good from the missing group? Do you see any colors? You will notice that processed and pre-packaged foods are difficult to categorize into groups because they contain so many unknown ingredients. As you design your life to include more natural, plant-based food, it becomes easier to recognize fuel values and hear the message to fulfill whatever is missing.
Tres Hatch is the author of Miracle Pill 10 Truths to Healthy, Thin, & Sexy.