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We have all heard the phrase ‘we are what we eat’. In today’s modern world saturated with information about well-being, the best new diets to follow, latest findings in gut health microbiome science and more, it’s ironic that we can still be as lost as ever when it comes to understanding the relationship between what we eat and how it effects our health. You might think that a person would have had to have crawled out from under a rock to not understand on some basic level that the food choices one makes can influence our overall drive to take on the day, but I can tell you right now that is simply not the case. At The JCN Clinic our clinical Nutritionists and Naturopaths see a mixing pot of clients that span too busy with the daily grind of life to even give this notion thought, through to those lacking the fundamental education around nutrition that many readers here may take for granted.
Even if you would describe yourself as an avid ‘healthy person’ with an interest in healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle you would be surprised by what can often be missing, even though you feel you have a general grip on the concept of health. You scroll your phone, you read health posts, listen to podcasts and take in what makes other ‘healthy people’ tick. You collate the data in your head and apply it to your own life. Before you know it, you’re saturated with conflicting health tips with ironically a lack of the foundational framework that holds our health in good stead.
Here are the most common points we see people missing:
Consuming enough macronutrients each day as a routine habit is paramount
Most people do not understand what eating a macronutrient balanced diet means, let alone what macronutrients even are. More confusing is the mixed information online that demonises certain macronutrients creating an array of confusion for the consumer. Believe me, we see it every single week. From clients here in Australia to international clients globally, it is a common underlying problem that drives sub optimal dietary intake.
Macronutrients are the cornerstone macro (large) nutrients we need to not only survive but thrive.
Protein – essential
Fats – essential
Carbohydrate – strictly not essential and we could survive without them, but certainly not thrive!
When we combine these 3 macronutrients within our meals, especially our main meals of the day which for the average person are breakfast, lunch and dinner, then we provide all the foundational building blocks to ensure our cellular energy systems are supported with the key nutrients that help us thrive. The combination of macronutrients in a meal also creates slow release of sugars into our system thanks to the presence of protein, fats and fiber creating more sustainable energy levels for hours after. This helps keep us mentally alert and able to take on the challenges of the day.
Under consuming protein is super common, especially for women
Out of the three macronutrients, protein is most commonly under consumed. Especially with females. This is not just a diet specific problem allocated to vegans
or vegetarians, but commonly also found within omnivores and pescatarians.
Consuming enough protein each day, and over the weeks and years that become our life is essential. We are made up of protein – our muscles our organs, our hormones, our neurotransmitters. The mental demand each day that we deal with in busy jobs and home lives is fundamentally supported by the protein that makes up our neural communication highways, our resilience hormones like cortisol, dopamine, adrenaline, and noradrenaline. The list goes on! In fact, with functional testing at The JCN Clinic we often see a correlation between poor energy and stamina, poor adrenal hormone performance and diets lacking enough protein to support daily demands.
What suits you is best for you, not for others
Once you figure out what suits you nutritionally it’s like sliding the right key into a lock. Everything just feels right. You have a fabulous natural balance between feeling hungry and feeding your body, thriving for the hours after eating on the surge of pure energy you feel. You don’t waiver up and down on energy lulls and highs needing the support of stimulants. People talk about the 3pm slump and you think ‘I don’t even know what they mean!’. Sounds great right? Well, it is. It’s great for you. All those nuances that you’ve worked out with tweaking your diet to suit your lifestyle are individual to you. Likewise, if your best friend, or sister or favourite influencer also shouts from the rooftop about how you should eat just like them to feel as fabulous as they do, please be mindful that you are not made up of their genetics. It might sound obvious put this way, but it’s a common trap we can fall into when in search maximising our overall wellness.
Gut health is your foundation, without this you will run into problems
The foundations of a wholefood macronutrient diet underpin the solidity of our health. I would say however from 15 years of clinical experience that the number one area that will knock a person’s general wellbeing and quality of life despite the integrity of their diet can be poor gut health. In fact, this was my own personal experience (which I talk about in the introduction of my cookbook and nutritional resource e.a.t) that led me down the career pathway of clinical nutrition 20 years ago. Or course if you eat a poor diet with a lack of quality protein, carbohydrate, and fats on top of gut health issues then you can bet your bottom dollar you will feel worse than the person who strives to fuel their body well. Yet, despite the foundations of a healthy diet if you do not deal with poor gut health then it can be like pushing the proverbial sh*t uphill. The magic happens when you treat your gut and create a robust and happy digestive system that is also paired with a wholefood macronutrient balanced diet, individualised for you. This is the true cornerstone of vitality and well-being that we invest our passion, guidance and education into at The JCN Clinic. Afterall, everyone has the right to great health and vitality!
About the author: Jessica Cox
Jessica Cox is the published author of e.a.t cookbook, passionate foodie and qualified practicing Nutritionist with a Bachelor Health Science (Nutrition) and over a decade of clinical experience. Jessica is the founder and business owner of the successful JCN Clinic based in Brisbane, Australia.
The JCN Clinic treats all facets of health conditions, through specialises in gastrointestinal health and its multidimensional relationship to systemic wellbeing. Jessica is well respected within the public space of health and wellness for her no fad approach and utilisation of evidence-based nutrition. Find Jessica at www.jessicacox.com.au or @jescoxnutritionist