The last letter of the CREATION Health acronym is “N” for Nutrition.
Food is the fuel that nourishes mind and body and is essential to life. We have many personal, social and cultural beliefs that influence the foods we eat and choices we make.
Many family traditions and memories involve food as well as the people who prepared them. When my girls were young, my mom started making homemade noodles for holidays. She involved the girls in the mixing, rolling and cutting of the noodles. Since Grandma did not use a recipe, one of my girls wrote down her ingredients, measurements and steps and the recipe is called “Grandma’s Noodles.” It is a special occasion item but always associated with Grandma and the special person she is to them.
One of my favorite quotes is by Virginia Wolfe: “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” This is a very profound statement. Good nutrition starts with good food. Good food is something to be enjoyed and savored.
Unfortunately, as our lives have become busier it has become too easy to reach for food out of a box, a bag, a can or the fast food line. We eat on the run and have lost enjoyment in our meals. As our diets have become compromised so has our health, as evidenced by the epidemic of obesity and chronic disease. There has been a negative connotation given to “healthy” food as being tasteless as we focused on calories and fat grams. We need to change our thinking about good food and what makes a healthy, enjoyable meal.
God provided us the perfect diet plan in the Garden of Eden. “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food” (Gen. 1:29). This model comprises a whole food diet, which includes fruits, vegetables, legumes, beans, herbs, whole grains and fresh water to drink.
Many people say they know what to eat, but just don’t do it. Habits take time to change, so be patient with yourself. Here are a few suggestions to help you get started.
- Plan your meals and shopping. Eating well starts with having good food available. Put the good food at eye level. Have produce cut up to make it fast and easy after a busy day.
- Eat close to the ground. Fresh foods that are minimally processed in their natural state are the best. Eat locally in season when possible or grow your own produce. It will taste better and provide the most nutrients.
- Eat a variety of foods in moderation by minding your portions. Eat colorful fruits and vegetables for the most nutrients. Choose healthy fats. Focus on whole grains, legumes and nuts for fiber and nutrients.
- Cook more and experiment. Involve your family. Flavor your food with fresh herbs, citrus fruits, etc. Make your own flavored water with fresh fruit and drink plenty of it.
Finally, as we bring the letters of CREATION Health together, they all relate to a healthy diet.
Choice: Purposefully choose what you will eat. Choose good food. It is worth it.
Rest: Slow down and sit down to enjoy your meals. Make meal time a special time.
Environment: When eating, do nothing else. Remember to dine and not just eat.
Activity: Activity helps control appetite and often leads to better overall choices.
Trust: Give thanks at every meal and employ an attitude of gratitude.
Intimacy: Enjoyable meals are meant to be shared with family or friends
Outlook: Take baby steps on the journey to good nutrition. Stay positive!
Author Susan Larcom, RD, is director of Nutrition Services at Shawnee Mission Medical Center.
Shawnee Mission Medical Center teaches a series of classes on the CREATION Health principles. For more information, visit ShawneeMission.org/creationhealth.