A balanced and healthy diet is crucial to good health and overcoming stress. After much research, I developed a simple and holistic approach to nutrition, paying extra attention to the effects of what we eat on our neurochemistry. Ensuring that we are supporting a healthy neurochemical balance is an important proactive step toward managing our stress.
Personally, I don’t recommend counting calories or choosing to eat certain food groups over others. My approach to a healthy diet is a balanced and practical one which first identifies and bases your diet on the good foods and eating patterns in your life while eliminating the bad ones. The human body is designed to thrive on a variety of foods therefore I feel a more holistic approach to diet is far more effective and supportive to overall health and well-being than any of those revolving popular diet fads can ever be. When you go on a fad diet and exclude any of the necessary nutrients, you’re putting yourself at risk for illness. Getting too little of a specific nutrient may not cause a problem immediately. But if it’s depleted for a long period of time, you may suffer health consequences.
Researchers have concluded that it may not be just the type of foods we’re eating causing America’s obesity epidemic but also the portion sizes. Food servings have grown larger and larger over the years. And fast food restaurants aren’t the only places you’ll find super-sized meals.
Following are a few basic guidelines regarding ways to improve your nutrition (I delve into greater depth and provide more thorough material in my forthcoming book, Stress Pandemic):
Eliminate toxins from your diet, including any food containing refined sugar, artificial colors or flavors, junk food, caffeine, and alcohol.
Avoid processed foods as much as possible.
Minimize your intake of dairy, red meat, and pork products.
Choose organic foods wherever possible.
Base your diet around fresh vegetables and fruits: whole grains; legumes; nuts and seed; low-mercury seafood (wild caught if possible); lean, unprocessed, and preferably free-range poultry.
Drink plenty of purified, room-temperature water.
Begin your day, after your exercise routine, with vegetable juice, made fresh and consumed within twenty minutes of juicing.
Enjoy your meals; don’t rush them.
All of these nutritional dividends pay off in long-term health. A balanced eating plan supports all of your body functions so that you absorb and use nutrients efficiently and effectively. Health maintenance promotes physical fitness and disease prevention. Keeping your weight in control and your nutrient levels stable improves your quality of life. You’ll sleep well, feel energetic and experience greater well-being. You may also reduce your risk for heart disease, heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer. As with all of the Nine Natural Steps, Step 6 is supportive of and supported by all the other steps, working in conjunction to make the transition from unhealthy habits to healthy choices.
 Neurochemistry affects the functioning of our nervous system. Neurochemicals have purposes such as regulating thoughts and emotions, transmitting signals from neurons, and promoting the growth and repair of the nervous system’s cells. A person’s neurochemistry can have profound effects on his or her health, abilities, and behavior.