The Six Pillars of Health: Optimal Nutrition

The goal with this pillar is that we support our body, our lifestyle, our lives in general with nutrition that allows us to do what we want to do in our day-to-day lives. Nutrition that supports the optimal operation of our physical and mental bodies.

We need to be mindful of what we put in our bodies. You’ve heard the saying “Garbage in, Garbage out” right? Here is how optimal nutrition relates to that saying. If you’re putting in a lot of nice and juicy and nourishing foods that can be easily broken down by your body, your body is able to take what it needs from that and process that through your system easily. Conversely, if you’re putting in a lot of processed foods that don’t occur in nature and are highly processed, your body doesn’t know how to process these foods. The results of not supporting your body with optimal nutrition, is weight gain, inflammation, and disease to name a few.

Today I will be introducing the concept of Eating the Rainbow. When I suggest that we should be eating the rainbow I am suggesting that we eat foods that occur in nature and span the colors of the rainbow. This practice is an uncomplicated way to encourage us to eat diverse foods that support our body requirements.

I am not saying that it is realistic to think that we will be able to avoid some processed foods or those that don’t necessarily support our optimal health. Even as we strive to eat for optimal health, we easily fall into a routine of our favorite foods without thinking about the diversity of foods that our bodies need. I remember my mom after eating a few meals that I prepared telling me I need to include more green vegetables with my meals. My mom was right! Again!

This “Eat the Rainbow” practice is an easy to implement step to aid you in getting your body what it needs. As easy as it seems there is a lot of information, I want to share with you, so this week we will talk about the benefits of eating the rainbow and next week we will discuss the benefits of each of the colors.

The Benefits of Eating the Colors of the Rainbow

First, for the nutritional benefits of each of the foods. When you are looking at a food the color gives us a clue to its nutritional content. Your body requires a variety of nutritional values in order to operate optimally. Different foods provide different vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant properties. By eating the rainbow, you assure that the nutritional requirements of your body are met. Now, it’s no guarantee that you’re getting everything at the level that your body needs. But it is a great start.

Next, we want to make sure we are getting a variety of foods in our diet. Balance, always good and balance in diet is no different. Earlier I mentioned that my mother told me that I needed to include more green vegetables with my meals but if it’s the only thing that you’re focusing on your body is missing out on many of the nutrients and needs that it has from other plants. We will learn more about specifics of what you would be missing next week.

And there is always the enjoyment of different foods. I have always been an adventurous eater. I love different tastes and am always willing to try something new. Variety is truly the spice of life. Not only is it enjoyable but your body craves variety. Sometimes our cravings are the result of your body letting you know there is a deficiency that needs to be remedied.

Also, it helps to eat foods in season. This is not only when foods are at their best support nutritionally but typically are also what your body requires. They are their most vibrant in color and packed with power nutrients. Our bodies are aligned with the energy of the seasons and typically wants foods that supports us in the energy of the season. Think salads in the summer and soups in the fall and winter.

  • Check out this website to look up what is in season where you are at any time of the year > Seasonal Food Guide
  • Search local farms and restaurants that subscribe to seasonal produce > Eat Well Guide

Again, I invite you to start by being aware of eating the rainbow and see if there are colors you need to add to your diet. As I am writing this article, I am aware that I rarely eat orange/yellow vegetables. I am going to be intentionally adding this color to my diet. Take a moment to do an inventory of your diet.

Next, we will discuss the benefits of each of the colors and the gifts they provide us for optimal nutrition.