When you think about what you ate yesterday, or the day before, or even a few weeks or months ago, do you find you’re eating the same foods over and over again? If so, you are stuck in a food rut!
While some people may find it easy to eat a wide range of foods, for many (if not most) of us, it’s even easier to fall into the comfort and routine of eating the same foods day in and day out.
Most of us are in a hurry! Or we’re confused or bored with what to cook or eat. Do you find yourself walking aimlessly through the grocery store, finding it just easier to pick up the exact same foods you eat all the time?
Perhaps you’re trying to eat healthy so you stick with what you know is “good,” what’s easy, and what’s familiar, like broccoli, brown rice, and chicken breasts. But, having the same food week after week becomes totally boring, and that’s frustrating. And it is unhealthy!
No single food contains all the necessary nutrients for overall health and wellness. Variety is key!
Plus (and this is a big one)!! -- When you eat the same food again and again, you increase your risk of developing a food sensitivity or intolerance to that food.
Yes. As crazy as that may sound, the foods that you become sensitive to are usually those that you eat on a daily basis. This means, for example, if you eat peanut butter or eggs or even a banana every single day -- day in and day out -- that can lead to food sensitivity or intolerance to that food.
What in the heck does that mean?! It means that when you develop a food sensitivity to a particular food(s), it causes inflammation in your gut, perpetuating LEAKY GUT. And as I’ve discussed before, inflammation and leaky gut are a root cause of health issues and disease.
Food sensitivities, leaky gut, and inflammation can present in a myriad of ways: headaches, skin issues, brain fog, joint pain, digestive problems (gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea), and so much more.
That’s why FOOD DIVERSITY is super important! When you rotate the foods in your diet, it minimizes stress to the immune system from hidden allergies and from disease.
Speaking of your gut, have you heard the term “gut microbiome”?
Your gut microbiome is essentially your gut bacteria (good and bad); it is involved with digestion as well as communication with the brain.
The gut microbiome is a vast community of trillions of bacteria and fungi that inhabit your gut (aka your gastrointestinal tract), and has a major influence on your metabolism, body weight, propensity to illness, immune system, appetite, and mood.
A healthy and balanced gut microbiome is key to ensuring proper digestive functioning. And proper digestive functioning is key to good health.
According to research, the richer and more diverse the community of gut microbes are, the lower your risk of disease and allergies. Studies have also linked gut microbiome to mood and mental health, a tendency towards obesity, and to cardiovascular health.
When you eat a diverse variety of wholesome foods found from nature like fruit and vegetables, you’re eating anti-inflammatory foods, which lowers inflammation. Remember, inflammation is one of the root causes of autoimmunity and chronic illnesses, including diabetes and heart disease.
What you eat has a direct impact on your gut health and overall health.
So how can you help support a healthy gut microbiome? How can you increase good bacteria and boost your gut health?
The # 1 Tip for a Healthy Gut Microbiome: MIX IT UP, YA’LL!
10 Tips to get you out of a food rut and elevate your gut microbiome and gut health
Do you have a standard way of cooking your vegetables? Did you know that when you eat a particular vegetable raw, roasted, sauteed or steamed it brings out different nutrients? So mix that up!
Incorporate new spices and fresh herbs into your dishes like fresh parsley, mint, chives, tarragon or coriander. Even different kinds of sea salts have different minerals.
~ Instead of spinach in your smoothie opt for bok choy, beet greens or swiss chard.
~ Is oatmeal your go-to? Swap it out for quinoa or millet. Rotate the three!
~ If you eat fish regularly, make sure it isn't always salmon. Try wild-caught haddock or anchovies or trout.
Cook with healthy fats you never or rarely use like duck fat or avocado oil or chicken schmaltz.
Shop at a farmers market or join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).
~ You’re eating locally and seasonally
~ You’re supporting farmers and local business
~ You’re getting more nutrients from your food because the produce and meat is FRESH! It hasn’t traveled across the country for days or weeks
~Plus it’s sustainable!
Take a cooking class! Learn how to prepare unfamiliar foods.
Each time you grocery shop, try 1 new food you’ve never tried or haven’t had in a very long time.
~ When’s the last time you had ramps or watermelon radishes?
~ Microgreens or dandelion greens?
~ If you like alfalfa sprouts, get broccoli sprouts next time!
Shop at an ethnic market and try a new food you never knew existed.
Colorful plate - aim for 4 colors on your plate at each meal.
Cook 1 new dish with 3 ingredients you’ve either never tried or you haven’t had in a very, very long time.
Food diversity, gut health, and getting yourself out of a food rut is all about challenging the concept of constantly eating the same thing.
Experiment, play, and make food fun!
February 18, 2020