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Feb, 2015

Nutrition Hack 3 Getting Clean from the Inside Out

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Going for perfect is a recipe for disaster.

Before we get into hack #3 we need to be absolutely clear on the difference between practical progression and perfection.

Some nutritionists and researchers set the “clean living” standard so unrealistic that the average family could never attain it. It would be a full time job just shopping in specialty stores for “perfectly clean” products.

That is a recipe for something psychologist’s term “decision fatigue” or sets you up for something worse, Orthorexia.

But every year (especially in January) people still try to be perfect, fail and then feel guilty. Then the guilt causes them to put on more weight and self depreciate even further.

Orthorexia, an obsessive-compulsive disorder is where someone has a phobia of not eating completely clean foods all the time.

Orthorexics spend hours each day thinking about what they will eat. Meals are planned well in advance, and follow a strict schedule. They seek out products billed as healthy, without a trace of preservatives, fat, sugar, or salt. Some go so far as to invent their own dietary rules in order to determine what is healthy and what is not.

Orthorexics find eating anywhere outside home is difficult. They travel with a “first-aid kit” of permissible foods. They often have a contempt for others: they feel morally superior to people who are less vigilant about what they eat.

But it’s not just their interpersonal relationships and psychological health that can suffer: sometimes an orthorexic would rather go hungry than eat something not perfectly healthy.[1]

This is not what we are talking about in hack #3

Balance in life doesn’t always allow us to drive all over town to get our groceries. We absolutely need to keep things in perspective so we aren’t psychotic and alienate our friends. If we’re doing things right our friends will want to follow what we are doing, rather than be offended by a “holier than thou” attitude.

I’m a big believer in a 90:10 rule. Many nutrition people talk about an 80:20 rule but I like to shoot for 90% of my nutritional choices being healthy. If I only think 80%, I slip too much and don’t get the benefit I’m looking for.

So if 90% of the time I load up on veggies and skip the potatoes when I am at a friend’s house then I’m good. But it also means I don’t give the waitress the “evil eye” if all they have is starchy side’s for my meal during a business trip.

It also leaves room for some frozen yogurt a couple times a summer and the occasional brownie at my business partner’s house because his wife makes the best brownies on the planet.

Some the strategies we employee at our home are simple.

  • Eat organic as much as we can but we WILL NOT substitute local grown produce for organic shipped from far, far away. We go for nutrient density.
  • Some weeks our grocery trip is all about what’s affordable. Yes, it is important to prioritize food quality but there are some shopping trips that the less expensive option has to win. The key is where are your priorities? For us having quality food is more important than the latest iPhone, a new car every 3-5 years or cable TV. If you’re saying, “organic, clean foods are too expensive”, check your priorities.
  • Get familiar with our local farmer’s markets and our local growers. There are some really practical way’s to find produce for less. Buy in bulk during the growing season and preserve. Often growers are willing to give you access to their “seconds” that don’t bring them top dollar but they are glad to get rid of. Ask, you never know what you’ll find.

Rather than repeating what has been said a thousand times on line, just Goggle “How to Save Money on Going Organic” and you will get all kinds of top ten lists and suggestions that will fit your life.

Every family is unique, you never know who else in your circles are moving towards clean nutrition. You may have a neighbor or close friend that you can partner with, share information and make it happen together.

Sharing a “cow” from a local farmer, splitting bulk purchases of vegetables, helping each other with preserving when you find a great deal are all great strategies.

AND, I think this is one of the most creative ways to build community with your friends and neighbors. Food may not be your “thing” but getting together with a neighbor around food preparation is in our ancestral genes. It really could be an incredible opportunity if you choose to make it happen.

Some of us don’t do it for the food; we do it for the relationship, and get the benefit of the food.

Getting defensive

Finally, the benefit of going organic (or at least moving toward clean eating) is that your body won’t get defensive.

One of the way’s your body defends itself from toxic chemical overload is to wrap those chemicals in fat tissue. This way the toxin is walled off from the other cells in your body and the toxin can’t harm other more important tissue. The more toxic you are, the more fat cells your body requires.

Getting clean works with your body so it doesn’t need to defend itself from consuming harmful chemical additives, preservatives, herbicides or pesticides. And remember it’s not just in the food that we eat, it’s now in the water we drink and the air we breathe. We have done an excellent job in messing up our environment.

And when it comes to eating clean, we can only do the best we can, for where we are.

We are not shooting for perfection. Trying to be perfect may just cause more damage to your life than eating clean.

There is a huge psychology connected to food, ignoring that will lead to disaster.

So that’s it, 3 hacks that will turn your nutrition and grocery cart on its end. Although our 100+Living hacks are counter culture, they are all heavy in science AND keep the main system, your brain and nervous system healthy.

When you do that, your brain and nervous system can keep the other 9 organ systems healthy from the inside out!

[1] http://www.readersdigest.ca/health/healthy-living/healthy-eating-obsession/ (accessed January 11, 2015)

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