How To Eat Holistically - 6 Simple Tips
Eating holistically is more than just eating healthy food!
Eating healthy and choosing nutritious foods are both important for living a holistic and healthy lifestyle. In this post, you’ll find 6 tips to help you to learn how to eat holistically and healthier.
What does 'holistic' mean & how does this relate to food?
The word holistic at it’s core means taking care of your entire being as a whole – body, mind and soul.
Based on the definition of holistic, the ‘body’ is one of the parts we need to consider when working to live more holistically, and what you eat directly impacts your body. You can workout consistently but if you eat like crap, your body isn’t going to run optimally.
Look at it this way, food is our body’s fuel source. You wouldn’t want to put bad fuel in your car, so why would you want to put bad fuel in your body? This is a simple analogy you can use to help you to make better food choices.
For more on the basics surrounding holistic living, you can read this post here: What Is Holistic Living?
What is holistic eating?
Eating holistically means eating foods that feel good for your body, mind, and soul.
Think about if you’re consistently eating something like fast food. It probably doesn’t feel good for your body right? Also, your mind knows it’s unhealthy so it’s probably not feeling good about this choice of food either. And maybe on a soul level, it doesn’t feel great because you know these types of places typically aren’t good for the collective.
On the opposite end, if you eat a balanced meal with say a healthy protein, a healthy carb like quinoa, and fresh vegetables, your body probably feels better than the fast food and your mind feels good because you made a healthy choice. On a soul level, maybe you bought your vegetables from a local farm which feels good for the soul as you’re supporting your community.
These examples are to help illustrate the core of holistic eating and to show how food can impact the body, mind, and soul. But remember, everyone is different and will feel good eating different foods. Eating holistically is about finding what feels good for you while making sure you’re eating all your proper nutrients.
This is why there isn’t a one diet fits all when it comes to eating holistically, but the tips below will help you on this eating journey to discover what works best for you!
6 Tips - How To Eat Holistically
Tip #1: Aim to eat foods in their most natural form
What is a food’s most natural form? Foods in it’s most natural form would be something like picking vegetables directly from your garden and eating or cooking with them. I know having a garden isn’t realistic for everyone and even buying fresh produce at your grocery store is a wonderful way to consume more natural foods.
A simple way you can work on this tip is to try your best to limit heavily processed foods.
Processed foods refers to how much manufacturing your food goes through. It’s not really possible for most of us to avoid all processed foods and not all processed foods are necessarily bad. For example, almond flour is processed because the almonds are ground down into a flour, but I wouldn’t necessarily call almond flour unhealthy.
It’s more those heavily processed items that you want to limit, this would be things like pre-made frozen meals or pre-packaged snacks. Its not that you have to avoid these foods 100% of the time, but try to keep it limited if you can. When you have the option, choose foods in their most natural form.
A simple example of putting this tip into action would be using fresh vegetables over canned vegetables. Another example is cooking something fresh for dinner instead of eating a frozen meal. These are simple ways to start to decrease your intake of processed foods.
Tip #2: Eat what’s in season
Again, like the processed foods, not everything you eat is going to be in season but try to think about this when choosing your food.
I think it’s important for all of us to stay connected with the seasons as we are all part of nature. Eating seasonally helps us with this.
You don’t have to go crazy with this but try to think about eating produce that’s in season in your area. I think this is a staple of holistic eating.
Tip #3: Read the ingredients
This is so important, you need to read the ingredients and know what’s in your food! This may be time consuming at first but after a while, you’ll know which foods are good and which are your go to foods.
I’m not going to go through an entire “bad” ingredient list, but I’ll share a few ingredients that I would recommend avoiding:
- One ingredient to avoid is partially hydrogenated oils which are basically trans fats. I believe that there are more restrictions on this ingredient in the US now and that most brands are stopping the use of partially hydrogenated oils, but if you do see this in an ingredient list, don’t eat it.
- The next ingredient I’d be on the look out for is high fructose corn syrup. This one you probably will see more often and I do recommend avoiding foods containing high fructose corn syrup.
- My last recommendation on ingredients to avoid are any artificial dyes in food. This would be when you see something like Red 40 or Yellow 5 or something similar. Those names just sound like something that shouldn’t be eaten! But if the name alone doesn’t scare you away from eating it, look them up; there’s research showing the harmful effects these color additives have on us.
This isn’t an all inclusive list so I encourage you to do more research. Read your ingredients, do research, and learn about what you’re eating!
Tip #4: Think about where you food comes from
We really need to be conscious of what we’re consuming and not just eat without thinking about what it is. This is similar to the last tip of reading ingredients, but what I really mean with this tip is to start thinking about where your food is from.
This is important when it comes to fruits and vegetables; knowing how and where your food was grown helps you to make the best choice when purchasing. But, it’s especially important to know where your food comes from when it comes to animal products.
If you’re buying seafood, how was it caught and from where? If you’re buying eggs, what kind of farm are your eggs from? Asking these types of questions is important not only for the animals, as you really want to choose places that treat them well, but also for you. A chicken laying eggs in a crammed and filthy environment is not only terrible for that chicken, but that egg is also not going to be as healthy for you. This isn’t me telling you to go vegan, it’s just me saying to start to think about where your food is coming from. If you do have the option to make better choices and buy from a better place then do so.
Tip #5 Be present while you're eating.
This is important when thinking about the mind, body, soul part of holistic eating. How often do you take the time to be in the present moment while eating a meal?
Instead of eating something for breakfast in 2 minutes right before you run out the door, can you find the time to be present while you eat. This is a simple mindset shift that can really change your relationship with food and can help you with your mindset in general!
Tip #6: Find what foods make your body feel it's best
This is the important part of all of this because we’re all different. While there’s a general consensus on what’s healthy and what’s not, the rest is really about how you feel. Try to really connect with your body and notice how you feel after you eat. What makes you feel good?
Also, I just want to make one more point here because we’ve been talking so much about eating healthy. I want you to remember that it’s ok to eat things that you enjoy that aren’t necessarily ‘healthy’. It’s not about never eating anything ‘unhealthy,’ its about keeping the majority of your diet healthy.
I think the more you start to follow these holistic eating tips, the ‘healthier’ your ‘unhealthy’ choices will become. For example, maybe you’ll choose to make cookies from scratch instead of buying something prepacked, that way you know exactly what ingredients you’re consuming. This is what I mean by making ‘unhealthy’ choices ‘healthier’.
There you have it, 6 tips on how to eat more holistically! There’s so much more that goes into diet but I hope that this post has helped you to change your mindset around eating and that you learned some simple, actionable tips to help you to eat more holistically.