Personalized Nutrition: BLGs

This is the second blog in a series I’m writing about personalized nutrition.  The whole idea behind personalized nutrition is that you eat what is right for you, NOT what is right for someone else (or what sells the most of a particular product, pays lobbyists’ salaries, or is trending on Twitter right now).

Personalized nutrition begins with the person, that’s what I wrote about yesterday.  Once you understand where this individual is coming from–you know their goals, priorities, history, and current state–now it’s time to help them get where they need to go.  Step 1 is looking at their lifestyle.


Basic Lifestyle Guidelines

I’ve written about the Basic Lifestyle Guidelines several times before, and I’m sure this will not be the last time.  Whatever the problem is, BLGs are usually the best place to start.  These are the foundation of your health and well-being.  In terms of nutrition (and the effects of nutrition), lifestyle is going to influence everything from the person’s ability to make good food choices to their body’s ability to digest and absorb nutrients from that food.

When working with a client on their personalized nutrition plan, it always begins with the Basic Lifestyle Guidelines.  If they can get a handle on these things, they will be in a better position to tackle nutrition changes because they will be more mentally acute with less stress and anxiety in their life.  This enables better decision making, as well as allowing them time to prepare and enjoy high-quality meals.  Each BLG also directly affects nutrition in its own way:

  • “Balance” is a skill related to how you manage time within the day.  Every human being gets the same 24 hours each day, but we all use it differently.  Learning to balance your work and rest will allow you to make time for planning meals, purchasing the best ingredients, prepping foods, and packing leftovers for later in the week. By practicing balance, you’ll also be more appreciative of the time you take to enjoy (and chew) your food.
  • “Purpose” is all about putting things in perspective.  If you have something to live for, you’ll have a greater appreciation for the little things that keep you alive and make life worth living.  I call these ‘daily habits of longevity’, of which taking the time to enjoy healthy meals is one.
  • “Hydration” is one of the top 4 most important nutrients to human beings.  Practicing proper hydration is a basic skill of maintaining a human body, like keeping gas in your car’s tank and getting the oil changed every 3 months is to the car.  We’re mostly made of water, and on a molecular level it is used for like a zillion things in the human body.  Drink water so your body can function.  Salivation, swallowing, digestion, absorption, elimination of waste, these are all things that require H2O to happen.
  • “Sleep” – the line between sleep and nutrition is a little harder to draw, but have you ever noticed how messed up you feel when you don’t get good sleep?  Patterns of sleep are a direct determinant of energy levels and daily rhythms, which in turn affect your ability to devote time to preparation and enjoyment of meals, as well as your body’s ability to devote resources to the digestion and absorption of those meals.
  • “Energy” is the skill of honoring the sun and the moon in the management of your own energy patterns.  This practice will give you a structure within which to time meals, and also make you more sensitive to your body’s use of energy for digestion and absorption.
  • “Rhythm” is about doing all the things you need to do to feel healthy every day.  Water, moving blood (through exercise or activity), and proper digestion are just the beginning.  Your daily rhythm will also include eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner at roughly the same times every day, which will improve the function of your body’s various organs and systems in relation to digesting and absorbing those foods.
  • “Recovery” is focused on movement, sure, but you also need nutrients for recovery.  When you circulate blood during some easy recovery activity (such as a daily walk), you are also circulating amino acids, fatty acids, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals within that blood.  So, this practice of movement for recovery also helps your body distribute nutrients.
  • “Digestion” has been a theme for at least half these bullet points and I think you’re starting to get the idea.  When you eat food, your body uses various enzymes and acids to break down that food as it slowly passes through you.  Food must be digested thoroughly before the constituent nutrients can actually be absorbed into the blood stream and used in the body.  So, respect digestion and absorption.  Chew your food.

No matter who you are or where you’re starting from, these BLGs are the first set of considerations when developing a personalized nutrition plan.

Published by nicnakis

Nicholas |nik-uh-luhs| n. a male given name: from Greek words meaning "victory of the people" John |jon| n. a male given name: from Hebrew Yohanan, derivative of Yehohanan "God has been gracious" Nakis |nah-kis| n. a Greek family name derived from the patronymic ending -akis (from Crete) Amha |am-hah| n. an Ethiopian given name meaning "gift", from Geez Selassie |suh-la-see| n. Ethiopian name meaning "trinity", from Geez

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