A holistic diet is a personal road map to eating that goes beyond the food on your plate, counting calories and exercising a few times per week. It takes into account your whole person and encompasses a healthy lifestyle. It nourishes your body, eliminates chronic health issues and increases your energy, all in an effort to create a sense of well-being.
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Goal of a Holistic Diet
The goal of a holistic diet is to achieve and address good digestion, adequacy, balance and moderation. It is a natural method used to develop a healthy balanced diet in the attempt to build a solid foundation for a lifetime of good physical and emotional health. The traditional USDA Food Guide Plate focuses on food suggestions that uniformly work for everyone, but it fails to acknowledge that individuals are different. That is why proponents of a holistic diet believe the Food Guide Plate to be ineffective.
The American Holistic Health Association differs, proposing that an individual achieves a state of well-being through the ongoing process of balancing and integrating an individual's physical, emotional, mental and spiritual self. An integral part of this process is the holistic diet, which treats an individual’s well-being through proper nutrition and takes into account all aspects of his life.
One of the fundamental principles of a holistic diet is your need for a certain balance of macronutrients such as carbohydrates, protein, and fat; micronutrients including vitamins and minerals; and fiber to help your body optimize energy to reach maximum physical and emotional health. Individuals have different nutrient requirements, so holistic diets are devised to meet an individual’s health and nutritional needs. It is also important to remember that you need to eat a variety of different foods to achieve balance.
In a holistic diet you eat natural food, avoid highly processed foods, eat in moderation foods high in fat and sugar. Natural foods that are included in a holistic diet include vegetables, whole grains, fish, fowl, meats, fresh juices, herbal teas and coffee substitutes. Freshly prepared foods provide more energy and are better for your well-being than previously prepared foods. In addition, making the right food choices can help prevent future health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, obesity and cancer.
Digestion and Health
It is important that foods are easily digested in order to benefit your health. Cold foods and beverages slow digestion and are harder to digest than foods that are warm, and therefore are not recommended. In an effort to aid digestion, it is also suggested that foods be chewed well before swallowing. In addition, foods containing probiotics, or friendly bacteria, are recommended to contribute to intestinal health and good digestion.
In conclusion, making the right food choices can help prevent future health problems. Modern medicine focuses on treating the symptoms of illnesses and chronic conditions rather than the cause factors. The World Health Organization states, "Health is more than the absence of disease. Health is a state of optimal well-being." By eating healthy, natural, nutrient-rich foods, you will facilitate good health.
- American Holistic Health Association: Wellness From Within: The First Step
- The World Health Organization: People Centered Health Care
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Well-being Concepts
- World Health Organization: Health Systems Strengthening Glossary
- USDA ChooseMyPlate.gov: Dietary Guidelines Consumer Brochure