I’m very passionate about eating healthy foods that nourish my body so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to ask naturopath and wellness expert Karina Francois a few questions about clean eating. She shared loads of great insight and helpful tips on improving your health…
Clean food is nothing new. It’s all about eating foods in their most natural state and steering away from packaged, processed foods full of additives and preservatives. Clean foods don’t place stress on the body’s organs of elimination, and don’t create a toxic environment that compromises all of our bodily functions.
For our bodies to function at an optimum level, our pH levels need to be balanced. Ideally our body functions at a pH level of 7.4. Food and liquids have a significant effect on pH levels in our blood, and clean foods that have less acidity play an important role in balancing this pH level.
Having too much acid in our blood is the precursor to health conditions such as cancer, arthritis and heart disease. Replacing acidic foods with alkaline foods will make you less susceptible to disease, provide an immense energy boost and promote fat loss. The key to optimum health is to alkalize your body.
Making smart food choices is the key. Ideally you should be consuming 80% alkaline foods and 20% acidic foods, but I start the majority of my clients on 60% alkaline and 40% acidic foods. Some of the best alkaline foods include cucumbers, kale, avocados, salad greens, broccoli, cabbage, celery, asparagus, quinoa, almonds and fresh herbs. Conversely, some of the highest acidic foods include cheese, yogurt, beef, poultry, eggs, fish, potatoes, and dried fruit. You don’t have to eliminate all acidic foods from your diet to establish a healthy pH level, but your diet should involve a higher ratio of alkaline foods.
The most common misconception I hear is that fat is fattening. Low fat diets were a thing of the 80’s. All of our cells are surrounded by a double fat layer and fats in our body act as insulation to reduce heat loss, cushion the skin and provides a source of stored energy.
Fats are also a component of myelin, the fatty material that sheathes nerve cells and makes it possible for them to fire the electrical messages that enable you to think, see, speak, move and perform a vast array of tasks.
Fats are also a constituent of hormones, such as sex hormones and other biochemical such as Vitamin D and bile. I recommend that people consume fats from coconut oil, olive oil, deep sea fish, avocados, nuts and seeds.
3.How important are your thoughts about food in achieving your health goals?
“Your thoughts about food
are the most important thing to manage
if you want to achieve your health goals”
To achieve your goals, you need to uncover the reason why you really want to achieve your weight loss goal. Fitting into those jeans or getting a bikini body in time for summer are not real goals. A goal that will actually motivate you to change is one that is in line with your values.
My reason for living a healthy lifestyle is that I need to set a strong example to my children and clients.
Let me explain in more detail. As an example, if you’re a parent it’s safe to assume that the wellbeing and happiness of your family means a lot to you. If you have a weight problem, it could be posing a serious threat to your health and your ability to be around to provide for your children. So an example of a goal might be to lose weight so that you can improve your wellbeing so you can be more active in raising your children and ensuring their security.
Setting goals such as this will create an emotional attachment to your goal. When you become emotionally attached to your goal this will permeate your subconscious mind, where your habits are entrenched. Then you will be able to change those habits to accomplish your goals.
Emotional eating can be very challenging to overcome. However by being more mindful when it comes to your emotions, and also more conscious of the food habits that people attach to their emotions, you can make a change.
Food addictions can often arise due to unresolved emotions, a deficit of pleasure in your life, or a lack of life balance. Compulsive eating or bingeing is usually triggered when you keep your feelings at bay. People often control negative feelings without actually dealing with them, which eventually wears thin. Many people then turn to binge eating as a coping mechanism.
Another driver of negative food behaviours is lacking pleasure in your life or a balance between work and play, which can be satisfied by food quite easily. Human beings are driven by pleasure, and if you life is fuelled by stress and responsibility, a quick chocolate fix at the end of the day can seemingly satisfy this drive.
The best thing to do is understand is that addictions and compulsions are a signal that there is something bigger going on beneath the surface. Become more aware of your behaviours and what is driving them, and try to take the mask off and be more open to experiencing your emotions.
Look for pleasure in your life. What is it that makes you happy and makes you come alive? Explore these pleasures, instead of replacing this with food. If you adopt this mindset, you will no longer look to food as your lone source of pleasure.
- Take the time to get your mindset right
- Avoid alcohol, coffee, sugar and processed foods
- Focus more on what you can eat rather than feeling deprived
- Plan your food for the week
- Surround yourself by like-minded people that are on the same mission. The energy is infectious!
- Seek support from a healthcare practitioner
- Education and motivation is the key
I created this tea for its suggested therapeutic benefits. The herbal combination is designed to assist all your elimination organs to function better, thus keeping the body’s systems ‘clean’.
Chamomile and peppermint is amazingly soothing to the gut and helps the nervous system relax, while lemongrass can be cleansing and relaxing. Clivers has been traditionally used to reduce fluid retention and help keep the kidneys and lymphatic system clean. Dandelion and liquorice assist with improving gut , liver and bowel function. Lemon balm is soothing to the gut and nervous system. Fennel helps with wind.
The tea is a perfect addition to your clean eating lifestyle. You can drink it hot or cold and preferably with breakfast and lunch as it contains hibiscus flower which is very high in chromium, a trace mineral that has been shown to help balance blood sugar and reduce cholesterol.
The tea can assist with the following issues:
- natural detox processes of the body
- immunity-antibacterial and antiviral
- menstrual cramps
- IBS, digestion, pain and discomfort
- soothing to the gut
- menstrual cramps
- period regulator
- useful in skin irritations
- body fat and cholesterol lowering
- blood pressure regulation
- blood sugar control
- rich in vitamin c
- heart tonic
- gallbladder/liver and thyroid support in graves
- oedema and swelling of the lymphatic system, swollen glands and cysts
- useful in water retention, cystitis
- mood regulator
If you want to read more about clean eating and how it can benefit your health make sure you pick up a copy of Karina’s new book Clean Food Clear Thinking and you can purchase her tea from her website Infinite Health.