THE SWIFT NUTRITION MANIFESTO: MY 9 PILLARS OF NUTRITIONAL WISDOM
When patients arrive at my office, often it’s because their bodies have in some way run aground. This things-aren’t-working right, time-for-a-reboot state often makes itself known through unwelcome ailments like gastrointestinal distress, weight gain, allergies, cognitive issues, mood issues, lethargy, even auto-immune problems and more.
While the symptoms and causes may differ, at the heart of most of them is a common element: a lack of knowledge about how to feed oneself in ways that will enable the body to flourish.
To me, it’s a shame that most people receive little if any nutrition education, spending much of their lives suffering as a result. It’s a big reason why I’ve made it my life’s work to educate people on the miracle – and the medicine – that is food.
Over the years, I’ve worked with thousands of patients to bridge the educational gap and end years’ worth of ill health. My approach to food and nutrition combines the science of nutrition and sustainable food systems with the wisdom of mindfulness. It embodies the idea of “whole food as medicine” – food that is thoughtfully grown, selected, prepared and shared – has the power to heal and create health.
When I am teaching, lecturing or simply putting together a family meal, I do so with these Food and Nutrition Guiding Principles always in mind:
1. Wholesome food and nutrition is a basic human right necessary for the proper nourishment of the body, mind and spirit. We must do what we can to prevent hunger and malnutrition, starting with our own communities.
2. Each person has a unique relationship to food mediated by culture, traditions, and economics. We must eat as well as we can, discarding what compromises our ability to live a healthy life.
3. It is possible to transform our health through an awareness and understanding of nutrition. The more we learn and put into practice daily, the better our health becomes.
4. Our unique genetics and physiology respond to high-quality, unprocessed, fresh, whole food, which contributes profoundly to optimal health and healing. The more we expose our bodies to wholesome foods, the more it craves – leaving little room for addictive, low-quality foods.
5. Our food choices extend far beyond the plate, impacting not only our own health but also the health of the planet and our fellow human beings. It is our responsibility to shop with a conscience and with consciousness, looking for products that support rather than deplete the health and resources of Mother Earth.
6. Dietary choices built around sustainable, plant-based whole foods foster health, well-being, and vitality. Processed foods don’t.
7. A variety of culturally diverse ingredients, recipes and preparation methods enhance the enjoyment of food. To find the joy of cooking (and eating), look beyond the confines of what you know. Step out of your culinary comfort zone and taste the world from your kitchen!
8. Food is a natural instrument to nourish and bring people together. I encourage everyone to prepare meals mindfully and share them with love – our most essential nutrient.
9. Choosing the freshest, most nutritious food nature has to offer – local, seasonal and sustainable – is the kindest choice for the planet and the individual. Be good to both to sustain health, not only yours but also for the next generation and beyond.
For more ideas on how to create a vibrant diet, a healthy gut and microbiome (the bacteria that live in your gut), check out my book The Swift Diet: 4 Weeks to Mend the Belly, Lose the Weight and Get Rid of the Bloat.