You’re what you eat! You have heard this many times, but it’s a phrase that holds true for persons of all ages. The healthier you eat, the healthier you are.
One step to eating healthier is to embrace holistic diets. It’s important to note that holistic diets are one part of a broader approach to healthy living. More specifically, a holistic lifestyle.
Here, we’ll look at holistic eating for beginners, with a focus on men.
Many men put so much effort into meeting their work schedules and providing for their families that they find it hard to incorporate healthy eating habits into their lifestyles.
The absence of a meaningful, holistic approach—including healthy diets, exercising, and social interactions—to life partly contributes to men’s low life expectancy.
While the topic is a lot to unpack, we’ll start with holistic eating as a means to feed the body and mind and have a brighter outlook on life. So, what is holistic eating?
What is Holistic Eating?
First off, you must understand what it means for something to be holistic. The underlying principle of holistic approaches or systems is wholeness. A holistic system accounts for all parts of its existence as a whole instead of isolating and accounting for each part individually.
Holistic medicine considers every part of a person’s existence as an important factor in the person’s overall well-being.
Hence, holistic treatment is not merely about treating the symptoms of a condition; it covers all other factors that could contribute to the person’s condition, including their mental health, social life, physical health, and rate of physical activity.
So, back to the question, what is holistic eating? Different sources define holistic eating differently.
At Craft Medical, when people ask, “What is a holistic diet?” Our answer relates to eating foods that are as natural as possible and provide the most benefits to your being as a whole.
With holistic eating, you acknowledge that the chemical components of food can interact with the chemicals in your body. You acknowledge that what you eat affects your physical and mental health, so you don’t just have to feed only your body.
For context, numerous studies link alcohol, refined grains, artificial sweeteners, sugar, and energy drinks to depression.
So, yes, a holistic diet feeds your body, mind, and soul. It might sound corny, but it holds true.
According to the National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP), “The philosophy of holistic nutrition is that one’s health is an expression of the complex interplay between the physical and chemical, mental and emotional, as well as spiritual and environmental aspects of one’s life and being.”
For a better grasp of the answer to “what is holistic eating,” it helps to understand the principle behind the concept. And subsequently, how to eat holistically.
Understanding the Principle of Holistic Eating
A study looking into The Evolution of Nutrition Research starts its abstract with a quote from Thomas Edison, thus: The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but will rather cure and prevent disease with nutrition”.
The study points out that there are more benefits to the food we eat beyond the nutritional content. Additionally, the ability to access these benefits differs from person to person, depending on certain factors.
Generally, holistic eating is a lot about eating food that is as natural as possible. This means consuming whole foods with zero or nearly zero preservatives, additives, or other artificial substances that may alter the natural composition of the food.
You may agree with us that you feel better about yourself when you eat vegetables and fruits you grew in your garden. You may also feel fulfilled when you eat fresh fish from the local farmers’ market instead of fish from a frozen foods section.
A general sense of satisfaction comes from eating naturally, which can make you consider making everything about you healthy. For starters, you may now want to use soaps, deodorants, or other personal effects that are as natural as possible.
Over time, you may start feeling a sense of interconnectedness with nature, which could bring you to a level of mindfulness and consciousness that totally improve your outlook on life.
You’ve fed your body, mind, and soul.
Holistic Eating for Beginners
There are influencers out there that claim to be masters of holistic lifestyles. There is a high chance that if you’re following some of them, you may find some of what they preach leaning toward the extreme.
Being holistic is about finding balance and being mindful, none of which you’ll find at the extremes.
You don’t dive head first when you come across a new swimming pool or lake. You test the depths to determine the convenient points for diving, if any.
The same theory applies to holistic eating for beginners; you want to try variants to find what works for you. Recall that people access the benefits (beyond the nutrient content) of food differently.
Similarly, holistic diets work better when you find what really works for you. You may need the help of a professional nutritionist who understands the interconnection between the body and mind in line with your prevailing conditions, environment, and physical demands.
That said, below are steps to holistic eating for beginners. You should pay close attention if you want to learn how to eat holistically, develop healthy eating habits, and achieve optimum health.
Know What Makes a Holistic Diet
As a man exploring holistic eating for beginners, you should know what a healthy diet should look like. What should you eat? What should you avoid? Where will you be getting your carbs, proteins, and healthy fats?
Below is a list of food items you should have in your kitchen.
Whole Grains and Whole Grain Foods
Think brown, black, or red rice, whole-grain bread/pasta, quinoa, millet, wheat, millet, and oatmeal.
With whole-grain holistic diets, you can be sure of having a good supply of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin A, vitamin B (1, 2, 3, 6, and 9), vitamin E, and other nutrients.
Do away with foods with “enriched,” “fortified,” or “refined” grains.
One of the first instructions you may get from your doctor or fitness instructor when trying to get back in shape is to avoid fats. This does not mean you should avoid fats entirely, as your body needs them for optimal performance.
Some sources of healthy fats include fish (salmon, anchovies, herring, sardines), avocado, extra virgin olive oil, nuts, and seeds.
Emphasis on clean water because stuffing your body with contaminated water can cause you a lot of harm. Your body relies on water to function properly, and when you deny it that essence of life, its system and functions start to crumble.
The heart and brain alone are made up of about 73% of water, and the lungs are about 83% of water. In adult males, about 60% of the body is water. We really cannot overemphasize the functions of water in your body.
Just make sure to be adequately hydrated throughout the day.
Think organic fruit juices and herbal teas. As much as you can, try to replace all your caffeine- and sugar-ridden beverages, such as energy drinks, sodas, and fruit juices with organic fruits and teas.
You can blend your fruits into juices and store them in your freezer.
There are a lot vegetables out there to choose from, but some, such as cauliflower, broccoli, red cabbage, brussels sprouts, and kale, offer many more benefits to men.
Organic, Grass-Fed, or Free-Range Meat and Dairy
Each of these is very helpful, but a combination of all works even better. More importantly, always opt for lean meat.
Find the Right Supply
The study that quoted Thomas Edison saying that the doctor of the future won’t cure with drugs but will prevent and cure diseases with nutrition also noted that we’re inching close to this reality.
As much as this notion highlights the significant benefits of a holistic diet, it’s also a pointer to treat food as you would drugs.
When your doctor prescribes a particular drug to you, you want to ensure you can access such a drug at a nearby pharmacy. If the pharmacy doesn’t stock it, you may even request that they stock it for your sake, so you’re never out of supply.
Similarly, as a man incorporating holistic eating for beginners, you should make it a point to have a steady supply of healthy foods. Usually, this could be your local farmers’ market.
Don’t stop there; ask and confirm that the produce you’re buying is as natural, healthy, and organic as possible. Ask questions.
Did you spray these vegetables with insecticides? Where can I get lean beef? Is it grass-fed beef/milk? Is this organic-fed chicken?
When unsure where to start, you can request the help of a professional, friend, or relative who knows how to eat holistically to find where they get their supplies.
If you have space in your backyard, try growing your vegetables and some fruits. Maybe even raise hens for eggs. The satisfaction and fulfillment of growing some of your food would do your mind and body a lot better than you can imagine right now.
Goodbye to Unhealthy, Processed Foods
Now that you know what to have in your kitchen, it’s time to say goodbye to unhealthy foods. Rid your fridge/kitchen of sugary drinks, cakes, sweets, chocolates, processed meat, carbonated/sugary drinks, potato crisps, canned soups, and refined carbs (muffins, pasta), among others.
If you can, trash everything at once and give yourself an outright fresh, organic, and natural start. Alternatively, you can start small by replacing drinks with fresh fruits. You’ll naturally find yourself working your way up to eliminate every other unhealthy food in your space.
Note: We do not recommend going cold turkey for men dealing with alcohol or cigarette addiction. Seek professional help to assist in quitting in a controlled manner without triggering grave withdrawal symptoms.
Know How to Eat Holistically
Now that you have everything available to make a holistic diet and know where to get them, how do you eat holistically?
Below are some quick pointers to guide you.
- Stay prepared: Restock ahead of time, not when you’re hungry. You might be tempted to grab a quick bite at a fast-food outlet. If you must eat out, go for the healthiest option available.
- Have a healthy meal plan: Opting for holistic diets might make you feel like you have limited food options when you actually have a lot. You can get holistic diet recipes from various sources and create a meal plan with enough varieties to keep life interesting.
- Find alternatives: Have quick, healthy alternatives to fall back on. Some days, you might be unable to stick to your meal plan; healthy and easy meals will be there for you.
- Keep some healthy snacks: Think carrots, mangoes, bananas, pears, celery, watermelon, or any other filling fruit or vegetable in season. It can also be home-baked cookies or organic smoothies made with natural ingredients.
- Eat slowly: No, not like a sloth. The point is not to eat hurriedly and cause your body discomfort.
- Drink water: Learn to drink water at intervals. If you’re thirsty but need something other than water, keep fruit-infused water or organic, homemade juice in your fridge.
Embracing Holistic Lifestyle With Craft Medical
At the beginning of this article, we did mention that holistic eating is only one part of a holistic lifestyle.
At Craft Medical, we believe that a man’s health is everything about him: his perspectives, his job, his work-life balance, his social life, his (rate of) physical activities, sleep patterns, and what he consumes (food, drinks, drugs).
We’re a men-focused healthcare provider prioritizing men’s health across the board.
We’re here to help you create a holistic diet plan and lifestyle change suitable for your age and unique bodily and mental needs, ensuring you get all the nutrients you need to stay healthy and better your overall well-being.