Diet is by far the most complex discussion in today’s information-overloaded world. I’ve heard it all. And everyone seems to be the expert. It’s confusing as HECK to say the least. I’m tired thinking about it to be quite frank. But that doesn’t get us anywhere, so…
Where do we start? Who do we trust? Who is RIGHT?!
I don’t claim to have all of the answers in any respect, but what I do know is that I have dedicated copious amounts of time and energy (and experience!) into researching and understanding different diets from a physiological and disease projection standpoint. Evidence-based, concrete studies are my thing, but you know what else is? Experiencing and seeing change first hand. Proof’s in the pudding, as they say 😉
We’ve heard it all. Keto, paleo, FODMAP, vegan, vegetarian, pescetarian, plant-based, and on and on. Books, podcasts, documentaries – they all offer great insights into how the food industry operates and more significantly just how much it has changed in recent years, leading to various severities of health decline. Which is critical for us as consumers who have the RIGHT to know what we are eating. However, is it possible that TOO MUCH information is harmful? Does it create obsessions, restrictions and shame? Absolutely. And as I always say, the worst thing you can eat is …guilt. So it’s time to shift this food culture craze, guys!
How do we do this? Is there one way – THE way? Nope. Does it have to be complicated? Nope. Does it have to consume you? Nope. (And if it does, you’re not quite there). Here’s what I do know (my opinion based off of research and experience);) :
- Eat REAL food! Alive, fresh, homemade. Then you know what’s in it, simple as that. If you can buy more locally-sourced foods, even better. Shop around the periphery of the markets, avoiding all the boxed, processed junk in the middle aisles. (Easy, ’cause real food tastes better anyways, right?!)
- Eat as many fruits and vegetables (organic) as humanly possible! Literally. Can’t eat enough. New research is even treating diabetes – Type 1 and 2 with a fruit focused/plant based diet – see : www.masteringdiabetes.org – its fascinating. Fruit is alkalizing, anti-inflammatory and fuel for your body and brain, simply put. Ditch those pesticides – they’re cancer causing and I do see a future without them, but for now, we’ve got to play it safe. Check out the dirty dozen if you’re financially concerned, but a great tip is to soak produce in baking soda (a tsp or two in a large bowl of water) and rinse well. There are also great products out now to help rinse the pesticides, fumes etc off of our produce.
- If you choose to eat meat, eat pasture raised, organic. I do believe plant based diets hold great benefit for healing chronic illnesses, however as I said there is, in my opinion, not ONE diet for all.
- Avoid processed sugars and foods. They’re inflammatory. Swap your sugar for pure maple syrup or raw, unpasturized honey (avoid the processing of pasturized honey as it loses so many of it healing properties). White sugar, in my opinion, is as bad as smoking. Sorry ! (If you know me you know I have the biggest sweet tooth on the planet so I get this!!) – Am I perfect? Nope, not one bit. But I try o be conscious of this and get my sweets from more natural sources. (Are Brooksides considered real fruit? 😉 – Ha! (you’ve gotta know me to get this one). Point is, we are all human.
- Ok this one sucks, but I do believe dairy and eggs are inflammatory. I’ve seen some pretty incredible healing with removal of these categories alone. This is a whole other post, but let’s just keep it brief and say the Canada Food Guide (which is normally a pretty terrible example of healthy eating but has come far!) has removed dairy. There are so many incredible alternatives to dairy now, this part actually isn’t hard. And if cheese is your thing, goat’s cheeses are easier to digest and less inflammatory than cows.
- GLUTEN… you knew it was coming ! 😉 OK here’s my two second take on this guy who’s getting a bad rep these days! Do I think gluten is the main problem? No. I think the glyphosate (toxic pesticide residue in wheat processing) is the problem more than anything. We are reacting to gluten in ways we never have in history. And its RARE to see celiac or gluten intolerance in Europe. Why? Because their processing is so different. Their product is different. So, I do suggest people who are healing from illness avoid Gluten products during this time. Or, move to Spain. 😉 (Sidenote: organic sourdough bread is a great alternative as the fermentation process helps to eliminate a lot of the glyphosate residue and gluten load).
- Increase awareness of your current relationship with food. If it consumes you, there is more internal work to be done. Eating isn’t supposed to cause stress! I don’t care if you eat cucumbers only every day for a year, if you’re feeling deprived and obsessed, you’re no healthier than when you started. It is IMPERATIVE to have a healthy relationship with your diet. To use it as medicine to keep you healthy and vibrant and full of life, but also to FREE you. Not to constrain you. It’s a process, and it often causes us to face some hidden beliefs when we really take a hard, deep look at what we eat (and often what we react to). Food is literally the best thing on this planet (Ok, well a close second to love and family) 😉 – but enjoy it! Don’t fear it. Find your way. Find what works for YOU.
This is kind of the tip of the iceberg on my thoughts around diet, but its a great start. Bottom line. Lots of options, but ultimately let’s just eat real food and feel good. K? xo