The revolution starts with eating real food. What do you mean, real food? In this week’s episode of The Unconventional Life, we spoke with the myth-busting, unconventional Natural Nutritionist, Steph Lowe who shares her approach to the radical food revolution. Not the advice of your average government-funded nutritionist, Steph brings her wisdom of how to rehabilitate your relationship with food straight to the table.
The nutrition dogma of the past decade was no-fat/low-fat. The nutrition dogma of this decade is no-carb/low carb. For over 10 years, Steph has been trailblazing and myth-busting her way through the nutritional scene, deviating from the rhetoric of the mainstream with her unconventional teachings of a different way of relating to food.
With clarity and simple steps, Steph explains her approach to JERF (just eat real food), the LCHF (low carb high fat), and how the emotional state of mind you approach your food with changes everything about your health.
“JERF” Just Eat Real Food
Real food is whole food. The definition of whole foods put simply means they
- Comes out of the ground
- Off a tree
- From an animal (this being your ethical/dietary choice)
Essentially, the lower the degree of human interference with the food that we eat, the higher the nutrient density. This is real food. When humans interfere with the process of food, we create a product, not a food.
“…a lot of our health issues could have been avoided had we stuck with the diets of our great grandparents”.
By ensuring that what you eat is whole, real food, foods that are anti-inflammatory in nature, and by switching your body over into the natural fat-burning space we move away from the societal normalization of gas, bloating and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).
These symptoms are so common and so normalized within our culture. Steph knows from experience that it doesn’t have to be this way.
Where to start? Breakfast.
You’ve heard it all your life for a reason! Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
The first meal you eat in the day sets the precedent for your metabolism and digestion. Steph warns that eating refined carbohydrates and sugar (toast, cereal, etc.) for breakfast sets up your blood sugar to the relentless wheel of craving sugar all day long. It also guarantees you’ll experience the 3:00 PM slump and encourages bad habits like drinking coffee to “get you through the slump”, a midday nap, or feeding the sugar craving with unhealthy snacks. Starting your day with real food ensures you continue making better choices throughout the day.
Breakfast should be rich in plants, proteins, and healthy fats. This helps to control your blood sugar first thing.
“Almost everyone can’t quite understand how to eat vegetables for breakfast. That’s quite a shock, quite a process to change a lifelong habit of what you’ve been fed as a child.”
The greatest unspoken aspect to the digestive struggle: how we relate to our food.
As Steph phrased it, “one of the oldest sayings in the nutrition space is you are what you eat, but we have to reframe that because you are what you digest and absorb. You might be eating all of the most incredible produce in the world, but if you’re not eating properly and if you’re not able to digest and absorb that food, then you can have any host of symptoms, including long-term nutrient deficiencies”. Food habits and food behaviors can change if we can actually make it a priority”.
Step 1: Acknowledge how we eat
The majority of people are “sympathetic dominant” meaning we are busy, stressed, and juggling a lot. This is likely the emotional state we are in when we eat. In 2020, most people have lost the ability to make food a priority. It is vital that we enter a parasympathetic state when we’re eating known as “rest and digest”.
Step 2: Schedule preparing and eating food into a daily routine as you would a meeting
Literally make space and allocate time to making food a priority in your life. Consider in advance the time it will take to be present with your food. Before eating, take some deep breaths (this will help signal a parasympathetic nervous system response), say a few words with your food in front of you rather than inhaling it, smell your food and give your digestive enzymes time to activate. Eating mindfully! This means no devices, TV, phone calls, or distractions. Be present with your food. Chew 20 times. 20 times?! Yes, 20 times. Your digestive system needs time to function properly, give it that time. Did we already mention no distractions?
Step 3: Cook once, eat twice
When you prepare dinner, cook twice as much so you have a packed lunch for tomorrow. It’s a simple step that saves you from making those bad choices when you’re on the go.
Immunity, your gut & coronavirus
80% of your immune system is located in your gut. Start by eating real food. Ensure you’re incorporating foods that are high in vitamin C (bell peppers, broccoli, citrus fruits, berries) and zinc (grass-fed lamb or beef, pumpkin seeds, dark leafy greens) into your diet. These are immune boosters. Keep your gut healthy with regular consumption of natural probiotics (ferments like sauerkraut or fermented beets, etc.). Get your vitamin D from being in the sun. Smaller quantities of vitamin D can be derived from eating eggs, fish, and fatty cod. The key to good immunity is nervous system support with lifestyle choices like yoga and breathwork as well as dietary aids like medicinal mushrooms (reishi) and ashwagandha.
Steph is generously offering one listener a free copy of her low carb reset pack. Learn about how to eat whole foods, feel great doing it, and get rid of sugar cravings once and for all. This is a 2-week program designed to teach you how to move into a long-term strategy by shifting your metabolism into an anti-inflammatory, fat-burning phase. The program will give you insight into week 3, 4, and beyond. You can apply to win here, a winner will be announced next week.
Connect with Steph
This article was written by Olenka Toroshenko