Christianity and nutrition seem like two different topics but if you really think about it, the way you eat can affect every area of your life. Just like how the things you believe in can affect every area of your life.
As a Christian, I tend to believe that every day we should be giving 100% in everything we do. On top of that, we should treat everyone with kindness and show them God’s love through our actions. Sometimes (okay, most of the time) this is just freakin’ hard! But you know what makes it worse? When I’ve been eating poorly and it’s affecting my health. How does it affect my health?
Recently I went on vacation and ate a ton of unhealthy foods I wouldn’t normally. I quickly realized how much my life has changed since I cleaned up my diet. Let’s talk about that.
Oh. My. Gosh. I did not realize the affects my diet was having on my energy level. I though I was a tired person before I even went on this binge. But afterwards? I realized I’m pretty much the most energetic person on the planet when I eat properly.
There was literally one day where I was just in a haze until at least 8:00 PM…even though I drank tons of coffee. It felt like I had a terrible hangover all day. And for the record, no, I hadn’t drank any alcohol the night before!
In my normal, non-vacation life, if I drink coffee after 3pm there’s no way I’m going to sleep before 2 a.m. that night. In my vacation-eat-whatever-I-want life, I can drink a gallon of coffee and fall asleep immediately.
When you eat real, whole foods like vegetables, meat, and fruit, your energy level is much higher.
Obviously, your energy level matters because being tired sucks but also, if you have more energy, you’re generally more motivated to spend your time doing something awesome! Maybe if Jesus’s disciples had had a better diet, they wouldn’t have fallen asleep on him so many times! (Just kidding, I don’t think twinkies existed back then.)
How can you eat to improve your energy? Try starting off your day with protein and fat instead of carbs. Carbs break down quickly, so while they may give you energy right away, it won’t last as long. Since protein and fat take longer to break down, you will get a more steady, longer period of energy (and obviously, when I say protein and fat I mean something that’s actually food like eggs or nuts or bacon as opposed to a protein shake or protein bar).
I’m kind of an irritable person as it is…but when I was eating poorly, it got at least four times worse. I found myself getting annoyed with pretty much everything and having to remind myself that I was actually having a good time and needed to stop being such a jerk.
Focusing on proper nutrition can help keep you happy as well as healthy.
It’s been shown that a diet high in Omega-3s can help boost your mood and even cure or improve depression.
I know what you’re thinking, “Oh crap, I better take my fish oil supplements”, but there are other ways to get Omega-3s that will also give your body other nutrients! The obvious would be to eat more fish in general.
But did you also know that you can get Omega 3 from meat? Grass-fed beef has twice as many Omega-3s as grain-fed beef. Obviously it can’t be your sole source of Omega 3 but, it’s a good reason to focus on locally sourced, ethically raised meat as opposed to factory farmed meat.
Another thing that is important, in terms of fatty acids, is having a good Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio. Most people eating the standard American diet have much more Omega 6 in their bodies than Omega 3, which is no good. Staying away from industrial seed oils like canola oil can help improve this ratio.
Why does your mood matter? Well that’s a silly question. If you’re in a better mood, you’re nicer to people and can better share the love of Christ! Who wants to do that when they’re cranky? Not me.
3. You don’t get sick as often.
When you eat properly, your immune system is stronger
Certain nutrients can give you a stronger immune system and if you’re eating a diet of real foods, you’re probably getting those nutrients. Not to mention, some studies have shown that high amounts of sugar can actually suppress your immune system in addition to causing inflammation.
Inflammation is pretty much the basis of every human ailment (okay, not every, but it affects a lot!) so you want to avoid that as much as possible. Chances are, if you eat a lot of processed foods (look at the grams of sugar in that yogurt you’re eating), you’re eating a lot of sugar. So quit doing that.
If you’re not sick as often, you spend less time feeling like crap and more time feeling awesome. With more time feeling awesome, you’ll have more time to do cool things like volunteer at church or hang out with the people you love. Who wouldn’t want that?
4. You can focus better.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I usually post twice a week but last week I didn’t post anything at all. Why? Because I couldn’t collect my thoughts to think of anything useful to write.
Maybe it was a combination of poor nutrition and switching from vacation mode to real life mode, but last week was one of the most unproductive of my life. I just couldn’t get myself to focus on anything productive and if I tried to write anything (or even create any graphics/videos at my real job) everything I came up with sucked and was uninspired (Here’s the part where you say, “how is that any different than your normal stuff” LOLOLOLOL. YOU’RE HILARIOUS. Shut up. Everything I write is pure gold.).
I’m sure there’s some sort of scientific study behind this, but when I eat properly, more often than not I’m ready to DO WORK. I’m motivated to be productive and when I sit down to do something, I get it done. Part of the reason I started this blog is because I had so much free time, nothing to fill it with, and the desire to do something productive and constructive.
Maybe it’s because I’m not tired or hungry or cranky and don’t waste energy on those things so I need something else to focus my energy on.
Why does this matter? If you can focus on things better, you get more done and you do it more efficiently. Then you can start a blog about why Christians should care about their physical health and be awesome. Or, you know…something else. Probably something else. I heard there was already a pretty awesome blog on that topic.
5. You have higher self-esteem
Is this one just me? It can’t be. If I’m eating poorly, I feel like a gross slob…even if I don’t look like one, I just feel like someone who isn’t taking care of herself and therefore, a gross slob.
When you eat properly, you know you’re doing something that’s beneficial to your health and you feel great for doing something good for your body.
Not only do you like that you’re doing something good for your body, you probably actually look better than you would if you had poor nutrition. Focusing on proper nutrition can often make you loose weight and do wonders for your skin, nails, and hair.
I haven’t had a pimple in at least six months. Until this week. Now I have at least five. It’s yucky.
Do I need to explain the benefits of having higher self-esteem? I think we can all agree that having high self-esteem is good. Unless it’s too high. Don’t get cocky, now.
Can you think of any other reasons good nutrition is important? Let me know in the comments!