Routines, while good for staying organized, can sometimes become mundane and boring. Now, I am a creature of habit and like to do things the same way because I can control the situation and feel at ease; HOWEVER, it is important to break out of the usual and try something different. This is true for nutrition as well as life. Eating the same meal day in and day out might be an easy way to keep track of calories and ingredients, but we all need to add a little variety to our diets. Not just to keep things exciting but also to keep our bodies healthy and working at their optimal levels.
Different foods contribute different microbes (remember we talked about those a few posts back?) to the body. And as we remember, microbes help the body digest the food it eats and digestion is a very key part of proper nutrition. You want your body to be able to properly use the food you are eating to fuel your system and keep you going. It is also important to eat a variety of foods to make sure that you are getting all the vitamins and minerals that different foods offer. As much as I would love to live on sweet potatoes for the rest of my life (seriously) there is no way that my body can function properly only on the nutrients that a sweet potato offers. You need to vary the food (by now, I hope you know when I say food I mean real, whole foods, nothing processed or made in a lab) that you eat to benefit from all of the goodness that fresh foods have to offer.
Now let’s go back to digestion for just a moment. I truly believe that the digestion of our food is a very important but often overlooked part of healthy eating. It’s easy to see why, how often do you think about how your small intestine is breaking down that piece of fruit you just ate? Probably never, but digestion is where the magic happens. It’s where your body absorbs vitamins and minerals, converts your food into energy, and eliminates what it does not need. Digestion is a complex process and we need to take care of the digestive system so that we are completely utilizing all of it. Other than eating a variety of good and healthy foods there are some other things worth looking into. The first is apple cider vinegar. You may have heard about this recently as it has been popping up in the news and online a lot. There is still a lot of research that is going into why apple cider vinegar helps with so many health-related things, including digestion. It is believed that the acidic property of ACV helps to normalize your body’s pH and this in turn helps your microbes to properly breakdown food. There are so many other benefits to ACV that I think it is worth giving it a try. Just make sure you are using raw or unprocessed ACV. It will look a little murky and stringy as compared to the clear liquid you see in most grocery stores. Don’t be scared of the murk, as that is the good stuff that is going to help your gut. One other thing that can help with nutrition is probiotics. These are good bacteria that live in your gut and help break down food. Probiotics can be found in foods such as yogurt and can now be found in pill form. While I am not a huge fan of taking pills for things that you can find in food, I do understand that some people have sensitivities to dairy and these people might benefit from a pill form of probiotics.
Now these are just two ways to help improve digestion, but I think they are easy ways to add to your daily life. In order for you to get the full benefit of eating well, you want to make sure that you are in top condition to utilize all that good food. You don’t expect a car with a shot transmission to work wonderfully just because you are putting the best gas into the car. Same with you and your digestive system. You need to be well to make the most of eating well. So eat a varied and fresh diet and look into apple cider vinegar or probiotics to help boost your digestive tract.
Since I have been on a kick recently of giving you a recipe at the end of my blog I thought I would keep the streak up. I mentioned sweet potatoes earlier in the post and decided to share my favorite (and easiest) way to prepare them. Enjoy!
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
1 to 2 sweet potatoes
Seasonings of your choice
Preheat oven to 425. Wash and cut up your potatoes into bites size chunks. Spread the pieces out on a baking sheet making sure not to crowd them too much. Drizzle with the EVOO and mix with your hands to make sure that they are all coated evenly. Sprinkle with whatever seasoning is your favorite (I like mine with garlic powder and chili chipotle pepper). Place sheet in oven for 10 min. Once done rotate the potatoes and put back in oven for 10 more min. The potatoes are done when they are a little brown around the edges. Remove from oven and try not to eat them all in 5 minutes like me!