Food is Fuel So Fill Up with the Good Stuff!

By Chef Shane Kelly

I met with a friend of mine the other day and during that visit she drank a few diet sodas, and I asked her, “What grade of gas do you put in your fine car?”  She said, “supreme gasoline.”  “And, what would you think if I told you to put that diet soda in your tank?”  She said, “I’d say, that wouldn’t be very good for my fine car.”  I said, “That’s right, so is your body not more valuable than that car?”  “Of course it is.”  Then why are you putting low-grade food in your body?”  End of conversation.

I’m sure that friend of mine is still drinking diet sodas but, maybe she’s cut back to one a day because she’s thinking food is fuel and this “chemical cocktail” isn’t really that good for my engine.  Silly story I know, but you get the point. Food is fuel…that is a fact.  Our human fuel comes in the form of nutrients, minerals, vitamins, good fats, healthy protein, whole grains and a rainbow of veggies and fruits to give our body what it needs to do all that it has to do to keep our engines humming along.  (Of course, a lot of good lovin’ fuels us as well!)

I believe that it is hard to do anything really well in life if we’re not taking care of ourselves to some degree.  Good sleep, for one, is critical to our well-being.  Sleep is the number one fuel upon which we need to focus.  Apparently, we will die from lack of sleep before lack of food or water.  And we all know that a good night’s sleep makes us feel like “new money.”  But, if you want to have good and restful sleep then you need to support your body with satisfying and healthful foods so that it can repair itself while you sleep.  It is a real good “catch 22:”  Eat (fuel-up) well, so you can sleep well, so you can repair well, then get up and do it all over again. I know that if I wake up and feel groggy and have low energy then I immediately look at what I ate the day before.  And, the reason for my “low mood” always points back to too many grains/breads and something sugary to boot.  Bad fuel equals a bad night’s sleep and then I wake up with a “food hangover” because I didn’t focus on top fuel and give my body what it likes to feel nourished  — so I can sleep well.

I always tell people if you don’t nourish your body primarily with real, nutrient-dense foods then it’s hard to do any of the following really well:  sleep, pray, volunteer, work, achieve, dream, parent and LOVE.  It’s really hard to “be all that we can be” when we’re running on half empty tanks of bad fuel.  So start 2011 off right and make the choice to begin to prepare and eat real, nutrient-dense foods for you and your family.  When I refer to real food I’m talking about food with one ingredient, itself; foods that are as close to how they were grown and raised with little or no processing.

There is no quick fix diet plan to heal you and keep you strong for the long haul except real food…the way God made it!  If you need help getting started on a real food journey then check out my book, “Fourteen Days of Eating in a Real Food Way.”  In my book you’ll find ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, shopping lists and all the recipes.  And then it’s up to you to take it step by step and make a real food change in your life each week.  You can do this!  And when you start to feel better you will make the connection between what you eat and how you feel and you won’t want to turn back to your old ways.  But, don’t drive yourself crazy with making too many changes at once, just focus on the rule of 80/20:  80% of the time be diligent and 20% of the time be human…because you are!

So why should you bother to “fill up with supreme food?”

To live a healthy and happy life for as long as you are able, that’s why.  Unfortunately, we have been misled for years on the importance of real food and which foods are essential to our well-being (more to come on this subject later).  Sadly, it is easier than ever to take a pill rather than choose to heal ourselves with food, rest and less stress.  I know that real food won’t cure everything that ails us but, it’s a great start towards better health and great energy to achieve all you’re being “called to.” One of the greatest gifts we’ve been given is the ability to choose…so choose well.

May You Have a Glorious and Blessed Year in 2011!

Chef Shane Kelly

To purchase “Fourteen Days of Eating in a Real Food Way,” please click here.

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