Eat Good Food - Get Good Poop

Hey Divine Mommys, check out our first Guest Blog by my friend, Anya Adams. If you already know Anya, lucky you! For those of you who don’t, Anya is the type of person that immediately makes you feel at ease. When I first met her, I thought, wow, this woman is amazing! As we talked, it was like we had known each other for years. When I asked her to blog a little for us about food, she was totally on board. Thanks Anya! Enjoy everyone! Namaste, -jamie

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Anya Adams first started her educational food journey in 2001 as a last resort, hoping it would help her recover from nagging injuries and recurring illnesses. After healing herself she became fascinated with the connection between food and health, and in her pre-mom life helped youth athletes reach their full potential.  She is a Holistic Lifestyle Coach, Corrective Exercise Practitioner, ELDOA instructor, as well as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach. More info can be found at www.coachanyaadams.com 

 

Eat Good Food – Get Good Poop

When I was asked to write this Divine Mommy nutrition column I was thrilled.  Not because I love cooking.  Not because the idea of spending hours in the kitchen makes my heart skip a beat (I have met these women and am in awe).  Not because I have memories of my mother and I dancing in the kitchen together with matching aprons and singing while we whip up a three-course menu.  And definitely not because preparing meals and snacks comes as second nature to me!  It’s because none of those are the “mother-chef” that is me and I’m sure there are plenty of you out there that could join my club yet still want to know how to provide their family with healthy meals.  I’m excited to share how to nourish your family’s bodies and brains because I know the true value of nutrient dense food and understand what can result if we don’t eat it.  There are so many layers of emotional, mental, and physical health that food affects.  Some benefits include lower feelings of stress, stable energy levels, balanced moods, a resilient immune system, faster recoveries from injuries, decreased risk of depression and disease, regular menstrual cycles, an increase in fertility, stronger bones, improved brain function, healthier teeth, glowing skin, and shiny hair.  I think we all know that there is no drawback to eating well….-except for the preparation- if you’re in the same club as me! 

But where to begin?  There are so many “diets” out there….Zone, Paleo, Whole 360, Ketogenic, South Beach, raw, vegan, vegetarian, etc. that it can be confusing and overwhelming.  Most of them dictate how much protein, fat, and carbohydrates you can consume and even when and how you eat them.  Just trying to abide by their “rules” is often stressful.  Well, take a deep breath, because very little in nutrition is black and white.  Our bodies needs vary not only day-to-day but, minute-to-minute and it depends on our stress levels, exercise routines, hormone levels, sleep patterns, and more. There is no one magical diet that is best for everyone.  So, do yourself a favor and let it go if you realize your diet is adding more stress than the life energy it provides you.  My goal with this column is to help you understand your body’s needs a little more and provide some guidance with meal and snack preparation. 

So to get us started, I’m going to invite you to participate in some action items.  It would be optimal if your family members want to involve themselves as well.

1.      Processed vs. Unprocessed Marker Game:  The first step is to take a few minutes with your child(ren) and ask if they know what processed and unprocessed foods are?  You’d be surprised at how much they may understand about food at a young age.  After discussing it you can offer the definition of processed foods as “foods that are changed from their natural state by chemical or physical processes.”  If they are very young something as simple as “foods that have been changed from how they started” usually works.  Next, armed with markers, go through your pantry and fridge and label everything with a “P” for processed and a smiley face for unprocessed.  Be prepared for lots of questions from the children, which is a gift, because the more they want to learn about food the more interested they will become in fueling themselves healthily. This activity helps families become aware of how much processed foods they may be eating. 

2.      Stick to the perimeter of the grocery store.  Unprocessed foods are usually around the “outside” of the store layout and processed are inside the aisles.  Almost all markets place their fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, dairy, and eggs along the perimeter. 

3.      Be mindful when you consume.  Pay attention to your chewing or perhaps the fact that you are swallowing large pieces whole!  A fun game with the family is to count chews for a bite and see who had the most.  Really taste the food and talk with one other about the various tastes each are experiencing.  Why are you eating it?  I know when I feel stressed I want to go for a dark chocolate bar.  Awareness is the first step to making a change.  How much are you consuming?  How do you and your family feel after eating a meal?  This is of utmost importance.  Usually your body will tell you within an hour how it affected you.  Do you feel sluggish, hyperactive, irritable, or have calm energy?  Are you experiencing sudden irritability, pain/bloating in the gut area, or a headache?  Food should leave you pleasantly satiated without any mood swings. 

4.      Look at your bowel movements.  Whoa, what?  We have to talk about poop? Yes, pay attention to what you drop in the toilet! Stool analysis is a way to monitor health gains and losses.  Below is a fun summary for your family that I talk about all the time with my family so it becomes normal instead of an embarrassing subject.  I even posted these descriptions up in the bathroom of my sports training center and, believe it or not, children love it! 

● Sinker n’ Stinker – He is like a smelly piece of black coal that sinks to the bottom of the bowl after an arduous attempt to squeeze him out with tremendous force. His appearance is due to an over exposure to toxins such as processed foods, environmental toxins and medical drugs.

● The Swimmer – This guy is light in color and floats. He doesn't like to be flushed. His appearance is due to a high content of undigested fat.

● Bodybuilder – He is typically big and round. He makes you strain to get him out of ya. If you pop a blood vessel in your eye ball when you poop, you’ve probably met this guy. His appearance is due to eating too many protein bars and shakes. This is due highly processed protein. 

● Pellet Man – Looks like deer poop. His appearance is due to dehydration.

● Diarrhea –  A poor choice diet that your body is attempting to have a quick evacuation due to harmful bacteria, rancid fats (White Castle/McDonalds/Burger King, etc...)

● The Flasher – Undigested food particles making an appearance in your bowl is a sure sign of food intolerance and an inflamed gut wall. 

● The Poopie Policeman - This guy is what our poopies strive to look like. He is Well Shaped (with a consistent contour), Passes Easily, Light Brown In Color, Smells Earthy – not foul, yet he floats.

credit: Paul Chek, “How to Eat, Move, And Be Healthy”

5.      Try a farmer’s market.  This is a wonderful outdoor experience to share with your family.  It often opens up the door for communication about food as each of you may see items from local vendors that you have never seen before.  My son always points out something he hasn’t seen before which not only results in a wonderful conversation but also results in us purchasing a “new” fruit or vegetable and tasting it together. 

I know all of you have the courage to at least try a few of these action items in the following month.   I’m looking forward to introducing my QUICK AND EASY nutrient-dense meal and snack ideas next!

jamie Day