“You are what you eat.” We’ve heard that before. And it’s more or less true: what we put into our bodies directly affects how we are, and so healthy foods will maintain our health, while unhealthy foods will not. But we’re all different; your body will receive and process food differently than the next person. Healthy food is healthy, yes, but what if a certain healthy food is not optimizing your personal health?
We talked with Sadé Thomasos, a holistic nutritionist, who started her journey and knowledge surrounding nutrition after years of being plagued with digestive issues. It all started with a book on healing through food, and that’s what she’s been doing for herself and helping others do since. She shares some of her guidance below.
Start where you are.
As with lots of things, going cold turkey is admirable, but not always feasible. If you’re thinking of moving toward a plant-based diet (or looking to make any change in your diet), go slow. Start with what you enjoy, and start small. Instead of a small side of veggies, make them half the plate, and prepare them in a way you know you like. Eating healthy for you doesn’t have to be restrictive; it should play on your joys.
Keep a food journal.
There’s a link between what we put into our bodies and how we feel after eating. And in order to best find the diet that works for us, we need to get the facts and get to know ourselves. Take your phone or your journal, and jot down what you eat day-to-day for a week. Try to focus on your food as you eat it, and when you’re finished, also write down how you feel. From these observations you’ll be able to find out what exactly it is you want to address in your diet and change for the better.
What works for others may not work for you.
Sadé emphasizes that our bodies need their macronutrients—that’s carbs, fats, and proteins. And the greater health food industry has designated certain foods as the best sources of these macros, but that doesn’t mean you have to listen. Listen to your body instead. Brown rice is more fibrous, but perhaps it’s too harsh on your digestive system. So eat white rice instead. What makes you feel good, is good.
Detoxing is unnecessary for the average person.
Our bodies know what to do: they naturally detox every night. What you can do to help is nourish the parts of your body that do the detoxing, like your kidneys and your liver. Try eating more bitter greens or drink dandelion tea. Drink lots of water in general. This is where you can source extra help, not flat tummy teas or the like (which really act more as laxatives, something you don’t want your body to depend on).
Connect with a nutrition professional.
You don’t need to have all the answers. And as much as you can research different methods and foods to help your gut, mind, and body, you can consult with an expert. They can help you in the process of healing your body and finding what works for you, especially with the daunting overload of opinions and information out there.
Food is sustenance, but it can be so much more than that. It can be a source of joy, and a driving force in our wellness. It may take time to figure out what serves you best, but when you listen to your body and pinpoint what you want to change and how you want to feel, you already have all the tools you need to heal your body from the inside out.
Ready to learn more? Here are some more resources on nutrition.
Sadé’s blog with a host of delicious recipes.
Read this if you're wondering more about what holistic nutrition is.
A closer look at the macronutrients our bodies need, and examples of good sources of them.
The link between your gut health and your overall health, and what you can do to optimize your gut health.