UPDATED: What's the real key to more vibrant health and a fitter body?
Though there's no 'once size fits all' approach, creating optimum health comes down to what you eat, how you breathe and—ahhhhhhh—taking time to properly stretch, says Brigitte M. Britton, H.N., a holistic nutritionist, organic gourmet chef and author of The Mega Way.
But there is no getting around it—what you eat is the cornerstone to more vibrant health, says Britton. "It's human nature to look for the quick fix, and unfortunately there's more emphasis in society on weight loss than health."
We asked Britton to elaborate on her unique approach to health and well-being. Here are some excerpts from that interview:
How do you really know if what you're eating is helping or hurting your health?
Food is supposed to energize you, not sedate you. If a meal sedates you, you're eating the wrong foods. If you're eating right you should feel great after a meal. Think of it this way: you put fuel in your car to keep it running, not to shut it down. Your body is the same.
What are five foods that we must include in our diets to stay fit, lean and feeling good?
First, let me mention two things that are essential for better health—fiber and water. Fiber helps your body achieve overall balance; it eliminates toxins and wastes in your body, helps eliminate cravings for bad foods and gives you more energy. It even helps your body burn fat! And without enough water, your body can't flush away toxins. Water is essential.
That said, the must-have foods include Ground Omega Golden Flax Seeds, which are a fantastic source of fiber. One shot of Wheat Grass each day is the equivalent of eating about two pounds of greens, which alkalize the body. Be sure to eat least five (6 ounce) servings of protein to support lean muscle mass. Ginger root and garlic are essential to support immune system health. Goji berries (pictured above) are amazing anti-oxidants, and Fuji apples are the best for heart and cholesterol health.
What are five foods we should avoid at all costs?
Avoid refined sugar, as well as Aspartame (sugar subsitute) and a common food additive known as MSG. They're all poison for your body. Also avoid enriched foods like white bread, pasta, potatoes, and rice. Packaged deli meats are full of chemicals and gluten adversely affects digestion and causes bloating.
You said that proper breathing and stretching can actually improve your metabolism. How does this work?
Oxygen is key to rejuvenating the cells, therefore slow and deep breathing will speed up the metabolism because your body's cells are constantly being replenished. If you take even five minutes every day and just practice breathing, you will see an amazing difference in the quality of your daily life.
Remembering to stretch while breathing deeply gets us in touch with our magnificent bodies. Do you have any idea how many people have trouble just breathing and hardly ever bother to stretch? We can live without food for awhile, water for a shorter while but if we stop breathing for just a few minutes, we die. The now is where all healing takes place, where life is actually lived, not in the past or present. So take some time to breathe and reconnect with yourself.