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We asked a female personal trainer in Abu Dhabi who has holistic health experience what her views are on ‘Holistic Nutrition’ and how it benefits the health in general.
Question: What is ‘Holistic Nutrition’ and how does this differ (if at all) to nutrition in general?
Holistic Nutrition emphasizes the connection of mind, body, and spirit. This ancient approach to nutrition considers the whole person rather than focusing on illness or specific parts of the body.
Generally, to follow a holistic diet means choosing foods as close to its natural state as possible.
A holistic diet differs from a conventional diet in that it includes organic and locally grown whole foods, nothing unrefined or processed.
Holistic diet means getting in the kitchen and preparing everything from scratch.
In many ways holistic nutrition is about getting back to basics, to how “we” used to do things.
A few benefits of holistic nutrition include but not limited to:
Question: Does the practice of Holistic Nutrition work well with a personal training plan for general fitness in the UAE?
Yes, the practice of Holistic Nutrition works very well with personal training in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.
Following holistic guidelines allows the body to “reset” so-to-speak and when coupled with a training plan, you will feel more energetic through each workout rather than bogged down.
Benefits of a holistic diet with personal training include:
Question: Are there any rules about foods and food groups that apply when adding a Holistic Nutrition aspect to my lifestyle, if so can you describe these rules and how they help?
A good rule of thumb when following a holistic diet; eat the rainbow every day. Eat within season.
As once stated by Hippocrates, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
No food is taboo, everything in moderation, even butter.
It is important to ensure you are eating enough leafy green vegetables.
And though I personally follow a paleo diet which excludes all wheat and cereals, a holistic diet typically includes whole grains. I think it is up to you if you want to include these food groups.
If you choose not to, it is vital to increase your intake of beans and legumes as well fibrous vegetables such as broccoli and dark leafy greens not only for the nutritional content but to achieve the 45 grams of fiber needed per day.
Question: I have a young family, is Holistic Nutrition beneficial to children and is it a realistic option considering I am also working full time – in other words I don’t get too much time for planning elaborate meals?
Yes, I do believe a holistic approach to nutrition is beneficial to children. I truly believe that good nutrition starts at home.
The healthy food choices you make for your children will carry on into the choices they make in adolescence and adulthood.
A recent study in Norway revealed that children are more likely to accept new foods between the ages of 6 and 10.
Nutrition VS Convenience
An example of good nutrition vs. convenience…
When you think of the convenience of heating frozen foods such as french fries and fried fish fingers, the time it takes for the oven to preheat you can just as easily cut tofu into strips and dredge into a mixture of almond powder (or breadcrumbs) and grated parmesan with herbs and seasonings, and peal a sweet potato and cut into fries and toss with a tbsp. of coconut oil.
Question: Eating a healthy, balanced diet is something we are advised about every day. It’s well-known that exercise, personal training and nutrition go hand in hand but does an Holistic approach have added benefits when it comes increasing my fitness levels or working on a specific area of my body for improvement – the abdominal area for example.
No, there is no difference in following a holistic approach to dieting vs. dieting for targeting specific areas of the body.
This is achieved in the gym in the UAE. And yes, cutting back calories and fat is conducive to weight loss, but you cannot body target which areas you lose fat from.
General fitness and nutrition will result in systemic fat loss and increased muscle mass.
Though, there are foods that help to increase metabolism such as chilli peppers, cinnamon and ginger.
Question: Can you give an example of a breakfast, lunch and dinner menu (food choices) that are considered ‘Holistic Nutrition’.
Below you will find an example of a dinner menu that is considered holistic, there are also plenty of resources on the internet when looking for meal and menu planning if you are following an holistic eating plan.
½ cup cooked brown rice
Poulet en Papillote (Chicken in Parchment)
4 oz. chicken breast
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 oz. cherry tomatoes
bouquet garni of fresh rosemary, thyme and tarragon tied together
1 oz. fresh haricot beans
salt and pepper to taste