There are some hard and true facts about nutrition that can’t be ignored. Some foods cause inflammation. They stress your body, they slow down your systems, and they cause health problems. The biggest culprits are sugar and processed carbohydrates. This may not be anything new to you. You might already be keenly aware that sugar and starchy carbs affect your energy, your creativity, and even your moods.

If you want to keep your body at its best, here are a few of the top tips toward maintaining optimal nutrition.

 Eat Whole Foods

Whole foods are those that have undergone very little, if any, processing. Examples include whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, grass-fed and free-range meats that are not processed into preserved meat products, and natural sweeteners like honey.

A clean system is one that is fueled with foods that don’t contain any additional preservatives, artificial flavorings or colorings, or added sweeteners. This does not mean you can never indulge, but it does mean that your diet should consist of at least 80 percent whole foods.

One approach that many health and fitness experts recommend is to eat well six days a week and to take one day off and eat what you want. That way, when you do choose to indulge, your body can handle it and eliminate the toxins effectively.

You Don’t Have to Get Rid of Carbs Completely (and you shouldn’t)

First, it’s important to know that fruits and vegetables are carbohydrates. Additionally, you can have some breads and traditional carbs the key is to try to replace the white carbs with brown.

This is a basic nutritional rule of thumb for optimal nutrition. Replace all refined or “white” foods with whole or “brown” foods. It’s not the color of the food (white popcorn, for example, is very nutritious); it’s the level of refinement.

For example:

  •  White flour/Whole wheat flour
  • White sugar/Raw, unfiltered honey
  • White rice/Brown rice
  • Pasta made from refined flour/Whole grain pasta

 Choose Nutrient-Dense Foods

Nutrient dense foods are foods that provide the most nutrition for their caloric value. In other words, they are the opposite of “empty calorie” foods like candy or fried potato chips that are full of calories but lacking nutrients. Nutrient-dense foods are not necessarily low-calorie (although they can be) – avocados and nuts are examples of high calorie nutrient dense foods – however, for their calories they deliver large amounts of nutrients.

Dehydration sucks…

The energy out of you. Try not drinking for half a day and see how you feel. Chances are you’ll lose energy, you’ll feel a bit sick and you’ll just want to take a nap. Not great for making progress on your romance novel or anything else. Coffee is great. I should know, I drink about a half a pot each day.

Drink water too. Water isn’t my favorite. However, I do like flavored mineral waters or sparkling waters – I like the bubbles, not sweetened or artificially sweetened though. And if you don’t like the bubbles you can flavor your water with citrus. Add a few generous squeezes of lemon juice, lime juice or even a slice of orange to your glass of water.

Start slow and take it one change at a time. Identify one way that you can fuel your body just a little better. One bad habit you can replace with a good one. The healthier and stronger your system is, the more effective your body will be at managing anything you throw at it.  You’ll have more energy, you’ll sleep better, and you’ll even feel more excited about your writing projects.