Listening to the Wisdom of Your Body

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One of the keys to improving your diet is to be aware of what your body tells you to eat. You were born with an inner awareness that steers you to foods that make you feel your best. Try to tap into this awareness. What you eat and how you take care of yourself influence your energy level, your mood, your frame of mind, and your temperament. Ask yourself these questions: "What did I eat for my last meal? Have I had a snack recently? How do I feel right now? Am I thirsty?" What you consume contributes to how you feel right now.

As the saying goes, you are what you eat. Everyone understands that drugs and medicines have direct effects on the body, but few people stop to consider what effect foods have. Eating sugary foods, for example, gives most people an energy rush. These foods cause your blood-sugar (or glucose) level to spike for a short period of time, which feels good. You feel like you have more energy, and you may even feel happier for a little while. But then you experience a rapid drop in blood-sugar that leaves you feeling drained of energy. Being aware of your body's responses to different foods can direct you to foods that bring energy, health, and vitality.

Think of the food you eat as medicine — it provides vitamins and minerals that are essential not only for good health, but also for strong muscles and a sound mind.

No two people are the same, which is why we don't recommend the same diet for everyone. Writes Dr. Elson Haas, author of The New Detox Diet Book: Staying Healthy with Nutrition (Celestial Arts) and Vitamins For Dummies (Wiley), "Our diet, or best eating program, is an individual exploration and there is no one right diet for everyone. Our heritage, seasonal and local environment, activity level, digestion and health state all influence what makes up our best diet. That's why the personal attunement process is so crucial."

To eat nutritiously, you don't have to follow a strict diet like it's the letter of the law or even follow someone else's rules about what constitutes a good diet. You can follow what we like to call the 85-15 percent principal: Eat at least 85 percent of the time from the group of healthy whole and organic foods; the other 15 percent of your diet is for the occasional splurge or treat, a big dinner party, or a grand fiesta. Having a base of good, wholesome foods gives your body the foundation it needs to be healthy enough to deal with the occasional treat or splurge.

Starting an exercise program and changing your diet all at once can seem like an overwhelming proposition. If you're unsure how to change your diet, and you don't know where to start, we encourage you to seek help. Consult a cre-dentialed expert in nutrition. Find out from an expert what diet is best for you. Get help in tracking your responses to different kinds of food and different food groups.

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