We have to eat. Why not consume what supports thriving health and vitality? Here is a fundamental daily to-consume list to make doing so as simple as possible.

Of course, it’s even more important to pay closer attention to nutrition when stressed, chronically angry, or anxious, and/or consuming too much alcohol, drugs, sugar, carbs, or processed foods. When healthy consumption is increased, it can reduce physical and even emotional cravings for what is harmful. 

Remember that when making healthy lifestyle changes, we can feel worse before feeling better. That is the body removing toxins and damaged cells and is completely natural!

Be patient and respect the process by acknowledging that when perhaps feeling worse at first, it’s a sign that the body is healthy enough to rid itself of damage from the past. Implementing basic, daily DIY detoxification methods will aid this process of transformation.

Other than reducing and/or eliminating consumption of toxic foods and drinks as to not deplete crucial nutrients, here are the most critical aspects to ensure optimal nutrition and health:

red, orange, yellow, green, purple, and white foods organized by color

1. Eat whole, fresh foods of as many different natural colors as possible, particularly green, red, yellow and orange, blue and purple, white (not bleached) and brown. The colors contain different essential nutrients. To put it simply, the body thrives from the full spectrum of the rainbow! How vibrant and colorful can your meals be, NATURALLY, meaning not from artificial dyes made from chemicals?

2. Get in as many different tastes as possible—pungent, bitter, sour, naturally salty and naturally sweet. Just like colors in food, various natural flavors differentiate in their essence, offering distinctive aspects and nutrients. We need to challenge ourselves with unusual and stronger tastes to build resilience as much as we need the (natural) sweetness of life, metaphorically and literally! The body loves diversity in real taste from whole foods, not “flavors” from processed foods!

3. Use sea salt or Himalayan salt rather than processed table salts. Salt is vital for the kidneys and energy levels, supplying crucial electrolytes, so daily consumption is necessary. Might as well use salt that has a wide array of essential minerals rather than processed salt that is bleached, stripped of all of its minerals, and has aluminum derivatives, bleaching and anti-caking agents, and a long list of other synthetic and/or toxic additives.

4. Eat or drink a fermented food everyday to balance gut health, which is crucial for mood—90% of serotonin and 50% of our dopamine live in the gut! Gut health is fundamental to overall health, including the immune system, heart, respiratory system, and the brain.

Adding a fermented drink into your morning routine can easily make this a habit and offers extra health benefits when consumed on an empty stomach, so more of the probiotics reach the GI tract. Otherwise, eat and drink probiotic foods with healthy fats (mono- and polyunsaturated fats) to aid probiotic survival.

Stress, gluten, sugar, processed foods, dairy products, and alcohol can throw off gut health. Antibiotics do as well, so beware! Do your best to reduce intake of these foods and drugs, and if you consume any of them, then definitely give your gut extra love!

*If you have histamine intolerance, you need to skip the fermented foods and supplement with specific pre- and probiotics instead.* (Accumulated histamine symptoms range from allergies, migraines, digestive issues, itchy skin, and overall stress and fatigue.)

Because fermented foods aggravate histamine, you need to be cautious of the probiotics you consume. It’s a delicate balance—you need to rebuild your gut health to reduce excessive histamine, yet many probiotics exacerbate histamine. Check here for more information and a list of types of probiotics that will work for you, which can be found at health stores or pharmacies. 

5. Make sure to eat enough fiber to have at least one bowel movement per day, which is covered when eating a diet of whole foods and supporting a healthy gut as noted above.

If fibrous foods upset your system, or when you’re sick, it’s better to have cooked foods rather than raw. Steam vegetables to lighten the roughage and make it easier on the digestive system (and take less energy for a tired body to digest), but while they still retain their color for their nutrients.  

Here are a few extra tips that when consumed as much as possible — working up to daily — create the ultimately thriving diet.

* Eat quality fats, avoiding processed, hydrogenated oils and margarine at all costs. WE NEED HEALTHY FAT IN OUR DIET. Our brain is 60% fat, so on a low-fat diet, we deprive our brain of what it needs most! Granted, going low-fat for a limited length of time helps to restore the liver, but otherwise, omega 3’s and 6’s and short-chain fatty acids are crucial for our brain, nerves, hormones, energy levels, and mood.

Enjoy avocado and ground seeds like flax and sesame, and use quality oils like olive, grape seed, coconut, and sesame, etc. Quality oils taste incredible and easily act as dressings, drizzles, and dips. As far as sautéing and frying go, using saturated fats is actually healthier because they withstand heat better, which reduces free radicals. Coconut oil is a great option for this. If using olive oil, though, keep the heat as low as possible.

And sure, margarine and those cheap cooking oils ARE cheap, but these hydrogenated oils are loaded with trans fats that disrupt numerous physiological functions that produce inflammation and various diseases! Take care.

* Eat or drink different spices and herbs. Herbs can help you get special flavors and colors in beyond food sources. Use what tastes best to you—if it feels like your cells are rejoicing in response, it is probably giving you exactly what you need!—and be open to experimenting. Any herb can be steeped for tea, and expanding the palate can give the body nutrients that help it thrive. Herbal teas are also an easy replacement when switching out sugary drinks, excessive alcohol or caffeine.

If you want a drink that isn’t hot, you can store teas at room temperature, and although it isn’t optimally healthy, if you want it cold, keep it in the fridge. Mint, rose hips, lavender, hibiscus, lemon, or any combination of the above are all nice cooled, for example. 

* Eat or supplement with superfoods to ensure that you get all the nutrients you need and make up for any deficiencies whether known or unknown. Considering the stress in our modern world and how this robs us of essential nutrients, all of us benefit from mindful maintenance. “Superfoods” are packed with nutrients, which is why they’re called superfoods, and because they are foods, their wide array of nutrients are more easily absorbed than vitamins.  

Switch off between spirulina, chlorella, or algae tablets or add them to a green veggie juice for a super-boost. Other more common powerhouse foods are dark, leafy greens, berries of different colors, raw cacao, seaweed, mushrooms, and sweet potatoes. (Can you see the rainbow?)

What from this list is already implemented in your daily life, and what elements could be easily, and joyfully, added? Let us know by commenting here, and subscribe to receive extra support as you make one small, healthy change, one step at a time.

Holistic Liberation: Holistic Practices for Freedom From Stress Effects written on image of sun breaking through clouds over water

Jyllin is an integrative health coach and creator of the Holistic Liberation Method that repatterns chronic stress in the body, mind, beliefs, emotions, and lifestyle. Learn more about Jyllin and The Holistic Liberation Programs