I refer to the whole food approach to eating as the NAG diet. Natural. Alive. Good quality. It’s a diet that isn’t really a diet at all. It’s a way of living, a way of providing the body with necessary nutrients it needs to function at its highest level.
I began eating this way about two years ago and since then I have uncovered which foods my body is sensitive to (to then be able to make adjustments accordingly). I've also maintained my ideal weight and experienced a significant increase of energy on a regular basis. Goodbye, afternoon lulls!
Whole, fresh, unprocessed foods encourage conscious and intuitive eating which, I’ve found, will naturally trickle into other aspects of life, creating an overall sense of consciousness.
This consciousness sparked a feeling in me in which I couldn't ignore. Without the initiation of conscious and intuitive eating, I wouldn't have actively sought out ways to feel more fulfilled, more satiated, in my life as a whole. I had a taste and I wanted more.
Since tapping into awareness, I've experienced major shifts and significant breakthroughs and I can wholeheartedly say that my experiences with my friendships, family, relationship to nature and food, as well as my spiritual and soulful practice are truly more rich.
There are three important factors to take into consideration when adopting the NAG diet, or any new dietary approach for that matter.
1. Get on board with food prep.
This is one of the most crucial components to a healthier you. There’s no denying it, food prep takes time, but what great things don’t?
Some ingredients that I always like to have on hand are:
- Legumes (preferably dried then cooked) like chickpeas, lentils, and beans
- Greens like kale, chard, and collard greens
- Olive oil as a base to any dressing or sauce
- Nuts & seeds like raw almonds, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds
For a more complete shopping list, check out mindbodygreen's Clean Eating Shopping List.
If you’re looking to take control of your health, you must get comfortable with the idea that food prep will be just as much a part of your routine as with things like exercise and sleep.
Try finding a routine that you're comfortable with and that will actually make your life easier during the week, like cooking a few ingredients that can be turned into a bunch of different meals.
2. Stick to simple recipes.
Following recipes and cooking in general can feel daunting, but if you’re working with whole foods, the best dishes come together with minimal ingredients.
When grocery shopping, think of picking ingredients from the outermost perimeter of the grocery store. That’s where you’ll find the freshest (unpackaged) whole food items.
Some simple recipes to get you started:
- 15-Minute Chickpea Masala
- Chickpea, Cucumber, Avocado Salad
- 15-Minute Tomato Shakshuka
- Roasted Vegetable Buddha Bowl
- One-Pot Carrot Ginger Soup
3. Take your time.
Trying to do everything at once can be so overwhelming in every aspect of life. Starting slow gives our bodies and minds time to adjust. We then have time to try alternatives and decide what we like, then change what we don’t.
As I mentioned, I've only eaten this way for two years and it took me a good six months to adjust. (Think fridge and cupboard clean out, new grocery lists, subbing grocery stores for markets, creating and experimenting with new recipes.)
Change can be uncomfortable but I believe my health and happiness is worth it.
It's important to use our intuition when eating and to listen to what our bodies need. Our bodies have the ability to tell us by sending signals like overall fatigue and weakness, muscle pains, constipation or depression, for example.
Say you’re vegan, but you feel bloated or tired all the time. That could be a signal that your body is calling out for high-quality protein and fat, introducing eggs could actually prove to be very beneficial.
Start by removing those heavily processed foods (from the middle of the grocery store) from your diet. Make other small adjustments on a weekly basis, experimenting with vegan or paleo-inspired meals, and see how they make you feel.
Want more help starting your healthy eating plan? Start here:
- Healthy Eating Tips For When You Have No Time
- 5 Simple Steps To Start Eating Healthier Today
- 6 Simple Tricks I Use To Eat Healthy All Week
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