Make every bite count

NutritionBlog_0316 If I had to choose one word to describe Genesis PURE’s mission, it would be “nutrition”.  After a century (at least) of cultural obsession and hype-filled argument surrounding the concept of nutrition, it’s helpful to remember the basics. I like Merriam-Webster’s definition the best:  “The process of eating the right kind of food so you can grow properly and be healthy.”

We all understand “the process of eating”: food on fork into mouth, chew and swallow. I think we have difficulty understanding what should be on the fork and what happens after we chew and swallow the food.

 What is on the fork?

Referencing the above definition, nutrition means eating “the right kind of food”. What does this mean? In the whirlwind of Paleo, vegan, raw vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, autoimmune, and the standard American diet options, it’s not surprising why so many of us are confused as to what is “right”. Having all of these choices is intimidating and can lead to no change at all. So where do we begin?

What happens after we chew and swallow?

 We must understand the macronutrients, protein, carbohydrates and fats — the basic building blocks and why they are important for the function of our bodies. Suggested proportions exist; however, you must learn the proportions your body needs to support your current activity level and achieve future wellness goals. It is important to understand that although some may choose to be vegetarian, plants contain protein too. And the last I checked, buffalo are not carnivores.

Macronutrients:

  • Protein is found throughout the body in muscle, bone, skin, and hair to name a few. Protein is involved in many biochemical processes that power reactions at the cellular level and thus is essential for life. Protein helps to balance blood sugars. In the United States, the recommended daily allowance of protein is 46 grams per day for women over 19 years of age, and 56 grams per day for men over 19 years of age. (1)
  • Carbohydrates provide the body with glucose which is converted to energy through biochemical processes in the body. Carbohydrates have been classified into high-glycemic and low-glycemic as it affects the blood sugar in the body, suggesting it is the quality of the carbohydrate that matters most. Carbohydrate sources from unprocessed or minimally processed whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans provide vitamins, minerals, fiber and many phytonutrients. Highly processed simple carbohydrates from refined sugars, white bread and soda will provide immediate energy source at the expense of unbalanced blood sugars. Excess carbohydrates will be stored as glycogen in the liver and when the max of glycogen storage has been reached the excess will be stored in adipose (fat) tissue. Both are designs for energy sources during a time of need for the body.
  • Fat is nutritionally known as fatty acids (not the same as adipose). Fats are essential for the cell membrane function of the brain, the eye, and many nerves in the body. Fats are required for the transport of Vitamins A, C, D, E and K. Cholesterol is a fatty acid present in all cell membranes. In the healthy body, approximately 80 percent of total body cholesterol is manufactured in the liver and 20 percent is derived from the diet. (2) Manufacturers replace fats often with sugar or other starches to achieve a “low fat” classification. More important than adopting a “low fat” approach is choosing the preferred “good” sources of fatty acids from poly- and mono-unsaturated sources such as nuts, seeds, fish, and olive oil. Avoid the “bad” trans-fats altogether and limit saturated fats for optimal health.

“…so you can grow properly and be healthy”.

Let’s examine this last part of the definition. My translation is, “so you can balance the physiological processes of growth, metabolism and repair.” A balanced body will provide a well-functioning machine.

There is not time nor the space here to discuss the hundreds if not thousands of critical vitamins and minerals required by the body to function. Unfortunately, our current diets do not provide all of them which is where supplements may be used to fill in these gaps. One of my favorite studies from the Journal of Clinical Nutrition (3) studied the diets of people who use supplements. They found the primary reasons for using supplements were for overall health and wellness as well as to fill nutrient gaps in the diet. The study also found that supplement users do not use these products as a license to slack off on eating right or exercising, but instead are health conscious individuals trying to do all of the right things to be healthy.

A passion for nutrition.

As a physician and mother, I have developed a passion for nutrition through the years of caring for myself and my family. I did not have a lot of nutrition classes during my medical education; therefore, I read extensively about it and applied what I learned. I found that what I put on my fork as well as how I managed my stress made more of a difference in my wellness goals than how many hours I spent in the gym.

My hope is that something in these few paragraphs will encourage each of you to look at what is on your fork and view it as your single most powerful way to transform your body inside and out. It is your choice what to put or not put into your body. I challenge you to respect yourself and your future enough to make every bite count. You deserve so much more than average. You deserve the best. Stop dreaming about it and make it happen.

Dr. Carmen Keith, M.D. graduated from the University of Arkansas for Medical Science and completed a fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital, a Harvard Medical School affiliate. Dr. Keith is the Medical Director of Pain Management Services at the hospital where she is employed. She believes that the products and philosophy of Genesis PURE are remarkable ways for her to continue her life’s passion to help others achieve a healthier, happier life.

To learn more about Genesis PURE’s Wellness Advisory Board, visit here:  http://www.genesispure.com/science-education

References:

  1. Institute of Medicine, Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids (Macronutrients). 2005, National Academies Press: Washington, DC.
  2.  Clinical Nutrition: A Functional Approach, 2nd Edition. Page 85
  3.  Consumer Usage and Reasons for Using Dietary Supplements: Report of a Series of Surveys from the Journal of the American College of Nutrition in 2014.

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