Kellie Blake RDN,LD,IFNCP
National Nutrition Month 2021
National Nutrition Month® started out as National Nutrition Week in 1973. The American Dietetic Association (ADA), now known as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), wanted to bring attention to the dietetic profession, but also wanted to create an opportunity to provide credible nutrition information to the general public. The week-long campaign was so successful that the House of Delegates suggested increasing to a month-long version and in 1980, NNM® was born.
Every March, the AND selects a campaign theme and this year "Personalize Your Plate" has been chosen. While I don't always agree with my professional organization, this year's NNM® theme is spot on. You see, there is no one perfect diet that is appropriate for every person. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to nutrition. Personalizing a meal plan means taking into account genetics, lifestyle, medical and psychological history, family dynamics, food preferences, and motivation. We are all unique, so unique solutions are required.
While a personalized solution will provide the most beneficial outcome, there are some general nutrition rules to get you started on your health journey:
1. Quality matters. Food quality is a hot topic these days and for good reason. Our food supply is loaded with chemicals and toxins and it's taking a toll on our health.
a. Fruits and Vegetables: look for organic, which are environmentally-friendly,
but also free of pesticide residue
b. Eggs: look for cage-free, organic, pasture-raised
c. Meat: look for organic, grass-fed, local options if possible
d. Seafood: look for wild-caught, smaller, toxin-free options
e. Poultry: look for cage-free, organic, pasture-raised
d. Grains: look for gluten-free whole grains that are organic
e. Nuts and Seeds: look for organic raw nuts or seeds and nut-butters without
any added oils or sugar
f. Fats and Oils: choose avocado, olive, coconut oils and grass-fed butter.
Avoid inflammatory oils like soybean, vegetable, partially hydrogenated,
and corn oil
g. Dairy: look for A2 cow's milk, or better yet, choose goat or sheep's milk. Opt
for grass-fed dairy options and avoid low-fat versions.
2. Avoid food-like substances. Just eat real, whole, food and avoid foods that have
been ultra-processed with unknown ingredients. Ultra-processed foods take
more nutrients to digest and have nothing to offer in return. Fuel your body
with foods that provide a nutritional benefit. And remember, healthy food can
3. Learn to cook. It may seem like a simple statement, but cooking your own meals
is really the best way to create health for yourself! And cooking doesn't need to
take much time - you can serve wholesome, delicious meals in less than 30 minutes.
If you're unsure of how to get started, follow me on Instagram @nutrisensenutrition
for simple, healthy recipe ideas or purchase my The Psoriasis Diet Cookbook, which
has 75 anti-inflammatory recipes appropriate for everyone.
4. Drink water. A good rule of thumb is to drink 1/2 of your body weight in pounds
every day in ounces of water. Stop drinking soda and diet soda, the research is clear
that both contribute to health problems like metabolic syndrome and diabetes, but
are also implicated in stroke and dementia. I used to be a diet Coke fan, but it's just
not worth what these beverages do to your body in the long run. Flavor your
water with fruit slices or choose sparkling water if you like the carbonation.
5. Eat routine meals. Skipping meals leaves your body depleted and takes your
blood sugar on a roller coaster ride. Eat a larger breakfast to fuel your day, a light
lunch and a light dinner. Just this simple change alone can provide powerful health
6. Consider your gut microbiome. The trillions of bacteria living inside the
gastrointestinal tract are responsible in many ways for our overall health. To keep
them healthy and in balance, eat a fermented food every day (plain yogurt,
sauerkraut, kefir, etc...), avoid sugar, artificial sweeteners, and inflammatory oils,
which kill beneficial bacteria, consume an adequate amount of fiber (the preferred
fuel for beneficial bacteria) in the form of vegetables, fruits, and beans.
If you don't see the results you're expecting, or if you're still struggling, meet with a registered dietitian. Registered dietitians are trained to not only translate the science of nutrition into practical application, but can also help personalize your meal plan for optimal success. Remember, food is information to the body. If you provide beneficial information, your body will return the favor by operating well and helping you maintain a wonderful quality of life.