I’m a believer that complete wellness requires a balanced and holistic approach. I coach what I call The Four Pillars of Optimal Health: nutrient-dense foods, quality sleep, daily movement and solid stress skills; each one deserving as much attention as every other. I see health as a table with four legs, each one having the strength to support the surface, the surface from which we live, love, work and serve others. Because National Nutrition Month is in full swing, we’ll focus on Pillar One (and everyone’s favorite): food!
When it comes to nutrition, the secret is, there is no secret. What’s most beneficial to your body and mind is incredibly uncomplicated. But that’s not what makes headlines or sells books and supplements. There’s solid nutrition and wellness advice available everywhere, but it’s ignored in favor of the expensive, sexy hacks that don’t actually work long term, because, in addition to chocolate or chips, we’re addicted to the quick fix.
Thanks to the work of Ancel Keys, his Seven Countries Study and the decades of research that followed, it’s now largely agreed that the Mediterranean approach to eating is profoundly beneficial to human health, particularly when primarily plant-based. Disease prevention and management, and as more recent studies suggest, mental and emotional health improve as well. It includes foods that reduce inflammation, support immunity, benefit gut health, boost brain power and improve mental and emotional wellbeing; they also happen to be delicious, simple and largely accessible.
The best part? It’s not a diet in the traditional sense. Rather than emphasizing calorie counting, macro splits and eliminating “unhealthy” foods, the philosophy focuses on incorporating more goodies bursting with nutrients that fight disease and satisfy our taste buds while doing it – and even better? All the research agrees on what these foods are; no more confusion!
Even more important than the research is a simple truth—yours. No matter how much evidence we have supporting the benefits of a particular food philosophy, it’s essential that you ask yourself one simple question: “Can I, will I, eat this way for the rest of my life and love it?” If the answer is no, then it’s not a good fit and won’t be sustainable. What you like, you’ll stick to. Humans are designed to enjoy the eating experience, we ultimately rebel against restriction. Even if it’s necessary to eliminate foods out of medical necessity, it’s still possible to create a plate you’ll love. The Med simply highlights balance of whole, fresh foods that offer an abundance of fiber, a variety of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, hydration, quality protein, and inflammation-reducing fats. Less packages, more plants. Nutrition can be a powerful tool in supporting the health of the liver, gut, and brain – the three organs that, I would argue, if given proper attention and nourishment can. Because everyone, especially healthcare providers, is feeling the burden of stress (many of us to the point of burnout), I’ll highlight foods that promote calm and better sleep; improve mood; keep blood sugar balanced; and encourage a flourishing gut microbiome to keep that serotonin pumping and immunity strong.
About Barbie Boules:
Barbie Boules is a registered dietitian and certified health coach with over 22 years of professional experience. In her private practice she works as a complete wellness coach, community educator, passionate speaker, popular corporate wellness programmer and respected dietetic intern preceptor. She’s had the privilege of counseling thousands of men and women around the country on their journey to better health.
Barbie’s goal is to help her clients achieve optimal wellness without the pseudoscience, unsustainable rules and unnecessary restriction of fad dieting, and rather through a genuine understanding of what each person needs to truly transform their lives—body and mind.
Learn more at www.barbieboules.com