Our bodies and our engines have a lot in common, including their preference for quality fuel. Whether you drive a truck, car, motorcycle, or boat, you know that its performance and mileage varies based on fuel type, so why would you expect your body to be any different?

What we eat is literally what allows us to function; anything you eat is broken down into energy, with certain foods providing more energy and health benefits than others.

So if you’re eating heavily processed foods that lack in nutrients (think energy drinks, cookies, fried food, etc.) how can you expect that your body will function properly? Hint: you can’t, and it won’t.

These poor quality foods may give you an initial feeling of energy or satisfaction, as many of them result in the release of feel-good hormones such as dopamine and serotonin. This hormone release is what causes food addiction, but that’s another topic of discussion. What I want you to focus on it the feeling you get long after the initial buzz wears off – after your blood sugar crashes and the caffeine wears off. How do you feel then? I can guarantee it’s not very good, because that’s when you find yourself starving, tired, cranky, and maybe even bloated or gassy. All from a little junk food you thought you needed.

And how did your body actually benefit, long term? Did it receive the proper nutrients (vitamin C, iron, B vitamins, antioxidants…) needed to thrive and repair itself? Nope. Instead it was burdened by your choice and forced to filter out what it can’t use (think preservatives, artificial flavours and colours).

We know higher quality fuel is more expensive, so is there a cost to this higher quality food? Many like to argue that healthy food costs more, but after a short while you’ll quickly see that isn’t the case. Don’t think that you need to be buying all organic produce, fancy shakes and expensive bars. Get back to the basics:

– Fruit and vegetables (fresh or frozen, whatever is on sale is just fine)

– Smaller portions of meat (no, you don’t need to be eating two chicken breasts for dinner every day; this is where many people throw money away)

– Dried or canned beans, rice, oats, grains, etc. to add bulk and nutrition to your meals – it doesn’t get more affordable than these!

– Water to drink (if you’re concerned about money, why are you spending it on pop, juice, drive-thru coffee, alcohol…?)

These building blocks are what your body craves. They will allow your body to perform efficiently, provide you with plenty of energy, and keep you as healthy as possible.

This doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in your favourite treats here and there, but your diet needs to be primarily high quality, nutrient dense foods, or else you’ll slowly become more run-down and unhealthy as the years pass.

Start paying attention to the QUALITY of your food, and start looking at it as fuel that can either hinder or enhance the way you look, feel, and perform. This simple mindset shift can take your body from feeling like a rusty, sputtering Oldsmobile to a shiny new Mercedes running on premium.