When did we come to need to read the fine print on the nutritional analysis on the back of foods to understand ingredient lists: when did food stop being food and start being products, and when did we all start needing degrees in biochemistry to understand all that? And if you think about it, following “government guidelines” or “The Food Pyramid” for healthy eating applies to everyone, and you’re not!. Just consider what now constitutes “food” in government guideline-designed school lunch programs. After all…everyone knows that “ketchup is a vegetable”, right?!
Perhaps our first basic tenet is this: if it wouldn’t look like food to someone wandering around 40,000 years ago with a loincloth and a spear, it probably isn’t food for you, either! Real food doesn’t need ingredients lists; real food is ingredients!
Real food doesn’t need ingredients lists; real food is ingredients.
Relying on the media, your doctor, or anyone else other than yourself, actually, to provide nutritional information about your body is going to be fraught with dangers: we’re all as different on the inside as out. We need to take responsibility for our food choices and in doing so our health. When it seems diet alone is not working, it’s probably not.
I think it was Cher that was credited with the saying ‘if dieting was easy, everyone would be skinny’. But the truth is that 30 years of a low fat, and other loud health-food-claim-infused-marketing of our food, we’re far from it; a lot of us are ‘fat, sick and nearly dead‘. Personally, I think that if someone is telling you there’s one diet for all, they’re either selling something, misguided or both.
The truth is that we’re all nutrient not calorie deficient. Our biggest nutrients come from a balance wholefoods. Many of us believe that we can make up for eating crap by just taking your daily “Once A Day” vitamin. There is no such thing. “Supplements” are just that: supplements. They can be an incredibly useful adjunct to an already healthy diet…but never a substitute.
The other biggest misconception is the belief that exercise can “make up for” unhealthy eating habits. Exercise does not determine your biochemistry—diet does. It’s true that exercise (properly done) has many important health benefits, particularly talking sugar, insulin sensitivity. It will not, however, somehow magically compensate for eating that stack of pancakes for breakfast: it is possible to burn off the sugar (with anaerobic exercise); it is not possible to burn off the insulin. Trans-fats, too, will not melt away and evaporate on the treadmill or stationary bike at the gym after you ate those French fries for lunch. Exercise is an adjunct to a healthy diet…not a substitute.
Our biggest nutrients from whole foods are our macronutrients: carbs, fats, proteins and I always include water too. And we need all of these, not one over the other or not one at all. We’ve all been guilty of overindulging on carbs, refined especially as they’re highly profitable and addictive and make up most of our processed foods. But we need to get off this blood sugar roller coaster, back into more variety and greener leafy veggies, protein as a side and back onto healthy fats in their stead. This is the second biggest tenet is this: nothing is either good or bad just in or out of balance.
Nothing is either good or bad just in or out of balance.
Lastly, we also seem to have developed the belief that eating healthy means having to give up enjoyment of food, good flavor, fat, dietary cholesterol or animal source foods. All of us, regardless of our ideologies, are genetically “hunter gatherers” and 99.99% identical to humans living 40,000 to 100,000 years ago. We are, in effect, creatures of the Ice Age and designed to consume a diet rich in animal source foods and natural fats, together with a variety of fibrous plant matter. Animal source foods are only as healthy as their sources, and no one should be eating hormone and antibiotic-laden, feedlot-fattened, or unethically-treated meat sources. The alternative is not vegetarianism/veganism…the alternative is finding healthy, ethically or naturally raised sources of these animal source foods that we have consumed.
And there’s also a lot more to life than food, and in fact in some cases it’s better to eat the wrong food with the right attitude than the other way around. Enjoy!
There’s also a lot more to life than food