If you were close to you siblings as I was, you probably had a nickname that stayed with you throughout your youth and it was something that was obvious about you. In fifteen years I’ve heard all of the short and all of the skinny jokes there are, and with older brothers who played the dozens for sport, they didn’t miss one dig. This banter went all around and gave me another layer of thick skin (which didn’t turn into muscle), and now I can see why I was so short and skinny… It’s because I didn’t eat.
Junior high school was when I remember some of my classmate’s voices get deeper (or strained to do so), peach-fuzz turned into facial hair and muscles made some guys look ahead of their time. Much of these things have to do with genetics I would later learn, and our physical condition is dictated by our diet.
A natural diet was what my parents ate when they came up and what they knew to feed us. Lots of rice, red meat, chicken, fried food, oily veggies and breads is what gave my brothers their physical maturity on par with their peers, and they were quite the athletes in their day. Me, not so much. I hardly cleaned my plate, and if I did get full it was on simple carbs and junk food. I wouldn’t really start eating until I turned about fourteen and that was the beginning of a time Sickle Cell took its sickle and hacked away at my health.
Nutrition was my first focus when I decided to fight back and regain my health. Nothing I did was cold-turkey, I had to condition myself to doing the right things if I would stay out of the ER. It became oatmeal instead of sugary cereal, steamed and grilled meat instead of fried and greasy and I had to keep those veggies steamed and in heavy rotation. This, coupled with a strict workout regimen and the inevitable trial and error catapulted me into the best health of my life.
A natural diet isn’t to be over-thought as in, “What do you mean natural?” Some would think produce; fruit and veggies and things that don’t require additives as natural which is true. Some say that anything without growth hormones and without processed ingredients is natural which is also true. Some say that supplements of any kind makes a diet unnatural and with that some would disagree, but what we can all agree with is what the diet does for you.
How I define a natural diet is by the physical condition of a person and what is specifically needed for that person to sustain good health. This also includes the type of food that achieves this. For me, because my body doesn’t retain iron or folic acid as much, and because oxygen is harder for my cells to come by, I need foods that have the minerals and nutrients for me to counter this issue. Of course the rawer the food the more familiar the body naturally absorbs its sustenance. So fruits and veggies, seeds and tree nuts are always cycling through my system. For protein, because I’ve cut-back on consuming meat (not yet vegan… I’m a Texan) I take a few scoops of a vegan protein powder. Per my lifestyle, this is what my body needs to have a high level of energy and a hormonal balance that keeps me at ease even when pressure is high.
To begin and to end each day, I recommend to my clients that hot water or hot tea is the best thing you can take as hydration is essential to a natural diet. Since heat causes matter to expand, a hot drink (6-8 oz is fine) will assist your twelve bodily systems alerting you in the morning, relaxing you at night.
Fresh fruit should be the first food to hit your stomach whether or not you have breakfast. Natural sugars, fiber and antioxidants give you energy kick-starting your digestive system and your nervous system’s ability to transfer energy throughout the body. I love this because, as an athlete, I need to replenish all of what I lose when I train and compete. So when I condition my body to take-in fruit every morning, my body is constantly replacing whatever I may lose providing me with good energy during my day-to-day hustle.
There should be at least a few hours in the day where you give your body time to digest what you consume. Some take this idea into something called fasting or intermittent fasting which has innumerable health benefits when done the right way. This idea of not eating allows the body time to digest what you've consumed and use it. The more healthful the foods you eat, the better your body operates during this period.
There are times when I'll blend a juice, a balanced combination of fruit & veggies to give me some specific nutrients and minerals in liquid form. Most of the time I eat as wholesome meals; it helps that as an athlete, each training session has to lead to the next, which then leads to performance on game day, and that performance is a direct indicator of conscious and complete training.
Supplements can compliment the body giving you a little more of what you're not getting in your meals and would be considered natural as per its source and ingredients. Steroids, HGH and other performance enhancers are not natural and are not considered healthful due to their side effects. Sometimes during rehab and recovery from severe accidents or injuries, some prescribed and physician administered steroids are useful, but only for these and a few more specific reasons.
What I am describing are just a couple of ways your diet supports your body which, to me, defines what a natural diet is. Our bodies aren’t designed to process junk food and processed foods because over time, our bodies function at a deficit leaving room for disease. What heals the body is that which is natural, not what satisfies our delectable desires.
Whether you have a chronic illness or some form of a congenital disease, your body has specific minerals and nutrients required to keep symptoms away and you flying high in good health. It is vital to know what your body needs to prevent you from experiencing symptoms that will only stall you in life. Trust me, it's not fun having to pay medical and prescription costs even with good insurance coverage, or having your momentum at work or school stymied by health issues that you may be able to help with some knowledge and discipline at home.