The Power of Nutrition
“Let food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food.” ~ Hippocrates.
Although it has been awhile since I have posted, I didn’t fall off the wagon, and I’m still reading lots of articles and books. I have become fascinated with how nutrition can and does affect your health. I have entrenched myself into nutrition. I have become amazed and at the same time, shocked just how antiquated so much about nutrition, health and medicine actually is.
Nutrition is subjective. Food is personal.
As I have learned from all my research and personal interactions, food can be as controversial and combative as politics!
Some may call reading food labels and not buying or consuming certain foods, time consuming or extreme. I like to view it as being an informed consumer. Some will view information as scare tactics. But what should be frightening is what is actually in the food, not the fact that someone is telling you about it.
The world is not static. It is ever changing. But why do we assume nutrition should be? Many people have told me that they feel frustrated because one week, this is healthy, and the next week it isn’t, and how are any of us supposed to know who to believe and what new health trend to follow? Great question.
Perhaps a better way to look at nutrition is to ask what foods would help maintain optimal health.
From all the references and studies I have read, there is so so much the average American is unaware of when it comes to what we put into our mouths day in and day out. In some ways, it is not directly all ones fault, the food industry has done a great job of keeping these “secrets” out of the public eye. But as more and more research emerges and bloggers in the health space gain traction, the general public will hopefully we awakened. The more you know, the harder for marketing alone to trick us into buying unhealthy food becomes.
Relying on the food industry (as a whole) to tell you what is healthy for you is most likely futile.
I mentioned earlier that food is personal. It really is. The term “comfort food” was coined for a reason. We all have our routines, and we get comfortable with our diet, with our lifestyle and life is busy and stressful enough, to have to worry about food, something that is supposed to taste good and get us through the day.
My judgment and fire, is directed at the food industry. I don’t know about you, but learning about what is actually in a lot of the foods that is sold on grocery store shelves has lit a fire under me.
I get it. I do- Change is hard. And it is easier to just put your trust in the FDA or the idealist belief that the food industry won’t make food unhealthy. Initially, I was surprised that most people are so quick to defend the food they eat, without even knowing what it is they are actually eating and/or companies who are FOR PROFIT.
Although I will caveat my stance on the food industry, there are more and more companies who are responsible and do want to bring whole, healthy foods (back) to consumers. Eden Organic, AppleGate, Organic Valley, and Theo Chocolate to name a few.
The non-GMO Project is also a great organization to get behind. http://www.nongmoproject.org
And maybe most people aren’t defending the food industry, but more themselves. Maybe I’ve either made them feel guilty or angry with me for bringing their attention to something they did not want to have to think about. Because who doesn’t love a warm slice of bread? And why should you give that up? And who am I to tell you what to eat.
For me, it isn’t about being right, or telling you what to eat or even changing you, but rather once I became aware, I couldn’t close my eyes to it.
My passion comes from wanting to know what the research says and to inform others about all the interesting things I have learned. Perhaps, this information becomes a launching pad to fuel your own desire to learn more. Or at least be more informed. There is some really great information emerging, out into the public eye. It is exciting. It is revolutionary. The wonders and the power of good nutrition. It is truly amazing!
I began this journey about a year ago. It started with just reading food labels. I then started to eliminate preservatives, additives and chemicals out of my diet. I increased my leafy green vegetables and fruit intake. Then I started to remove wheat and gluten, and now I am delving into the elimination of all grains, and the addition of healthy fats.
Fat (healthy fat) doesn’t make you fat. Yippee. Bring back the (organic) butter.
It isn’t as daunting as it sounds. And below I have included some relatable videos and practical ways to alter the way you not only look at food, but what you will WANT to eat.
For those of you who haven’t heard of the book, Wheat Belly, by Dr. William Davis. I highly recommend this book.
This episode from Dr. Oz, is a great overview of the book. Once you read it, you will never look at wheat the same again.
Wheat Belly is a great starting point into the rabbit hole.
Actually, you might also want to watch the critically acclaimed documentary, Food Inc. Get a glimpse into how food is made and processed.
Next up, is how do you possibly live without Wheat?
Did you know the Paleo diet was one of the top things googled last year? If you haven’t heard of it, the premise is: to eat like our Paleolithic ancestors did. What does that mean? What did they eat? Removing processed foods, refined sugars and carbohydrates.
The Flintstones may be on the box, selling Fruity Pebbles, but cavemen certainty weren’t eating anything from a box.
The next video is a great segment because they give viewers, practical ways to make Wheat Free eating feasible.
Nell Stephanson, author of Paleoista, explains that it isn’t like a fad diet (such as Atkins) because it isn’t just focusing on just eating red meat and bacon, but a balance approach: eating a balance of local vegetables, healthy fats, healthy proteins and staying clear of and refined and processed carbohydrates.
Chris Kresser, author of Your Personal Paleo Code, seems like he has a more practical, less restrictive way of eating, by personalizing eating for your individual needs.
I liked this because we all have heard about or experienced the yo-yo diet. It is hard to stick to and so many times, diets fail.
Committing to removing refined sugars and carbohydrates is NOT a quick change and you won’t last, if you look at this way of eating as a diet. This is not a diet. It is a lifestyle.
My friend John describes this best as: it is a choice to eat food in its most natural state, the least processed form of food.
Perhaps once we learn more about what it is we are actually eating, we can all get a better handle on the term moderation. Quite possibly, moderation is only applicable when a truly healthy diet is the foundation.
I believe that those who eat to be thin, rarely ever are. Conversely, people who eat to be healthy are usually thin.
If you recall, I said this is a journey, a process if you will. For some of you, reading that whole grains are actually not so heart healthy after all was new and shocking to you. Dip your toes into this. Let it sink in. Start reading labels and maybe you too will be surprised to see how food has evolved from our grandparent’s era.
This post contains a lot of information to digest, but I want to include one more thing. Depending on where you are in your journey, this information may blow you away.
A friend of mine, who has gone Paleo, told me about the book, Grain Brain. I haven’t read it yet, but I just came across this Q&A video and now after watching this, I cannot wait to read the book.
Dr. David Perlmutter, a Neurologist, and author of Brain Grain, has compiled evidence that carbs can destroy your brain; eating wheat (carbs) could increase your risk for Alzheimer’s.
He says the idea that food matters a lot for our health, is coming back and being recognized again.
This video is about an hour. It is definitely worth listening to. On your commute to work, or the next time you are in traffic, play it in your car.
For a quick preview, here is his appearance on Dr. Oz:
I would love to hear about your journey.