Eat local and in season:
Our body knows the seasons and has a great need for specific items based on these seasons. During the summer, the body does not need high protein or high fat food; rather it wants lighter foods such as fresh fruits and veggies. In the winter, however, the body does better with grains, root vegetables, nuts and seeds. It also seems that our body is best at utilizing food that is grown where we live. It has been estimated that the primitive man would forage for food within a five hundred mile of his home; we should take this as a sign to eat food grown locally. These local foods will have higher nutrient levels, since they do not have to be picked and shipped long ways before they end up on our kitchen table.
Eat to live, not live to eat:
Take a look at why and how you eat. Most of us eat in a rushed state, because it is lunch or dinner time, not because our body is letting us know it needs to eat. We eat in front of the TV or computer at work while we continue to answer emails. Take the time to eat, rather than rushing it as another to-do on your list. Remember your attitude towards food will help your body respond properly to food.
Eat nothing that won't spoil, but eat it before it does:
This rule has us getting back to whole foods rather than eating the packaged foods that are so often found in American households. I know several years ago Time Magazine did a photo spread of foods that people around the world eat and I was appalled by the image of the American family. No real food was to be found in this photograph, just packages and bags of processed food along with a lot of fast food.
Variety is the spice of life and so is moderation:
It is estimated that most people eat only about 70 different foods when there are over two thousand different foods available. I know I often get stuck in a rut and eat the same 5-10 meals over and over. Spend time learning and trying different foods, it will keep you excited about eating to live. I know the holidays are around the corner and most of us are going to do some indulging. As long as we keep it in check and use the rule of moderation, the body can handle it. It is when we forget to keep it in moderate amounts that the body cannot handle it.
Chew your food:
Digestion starts in the mouth, thus chewing thoroughly is vital for digestion. If you are rushed and don't chew your food fully, the rest of the gastrointestinal tract has more work than it needs to do to make sure your body can break down food and get the vitamins and minerals from what you eat. Don't use liquids to help wash down partially chewed food. Too much liquid can dilute the gastric enzymes needed to continue the digestive process.
Know the toxicity and residue content of your foods:
I often talk about the dirty dozen and the clean fifteen, referring to the pesticide levels, among other things, within our foods. Animal products can contain a large amount of toxins, hormones, etc. The same can be true of dairy products. Still, levels in fruits and veggies exist due to pesticides, but less so usually in nuts, seeds and grains. Take the time to know what you are putting in your body as food can be the first and best medicine we can use, but it can also be toxic and harmful to our bodies.