Remove the labels from your eating
If it sounds ‘too good to be true’ then it usually is. This saying very aptly applies to diets and foods.
Be careful about incredible promises made by the average person on the street who has claimed to ‘cure her cancer with her diet’. These people seldom have any medical training or background and are usually anecdotally applying what they did for themselves to everyone that they then see.
One size fits all does not apply.
Often people will apply the blanket recommendations and actually not feel as good as the person promised. What then? It may surprise you to know that not everyone is suited to a vegan diet, for example. Some people have to include animal protein in their diet in order to be healthier.
As a dietetic practice we advise our clients that eating shouldn’t be considered a diet or have a label. So often people are either eating paleo, banting, keto, raw foods and so the list goes on.
The true benefit in eating well, and making informed choices about what to eat and what not to eat, lies in individualising it for you and not doing what has worked for other people.
So how do we know what each one of us should do and how we should each eat? By looking for clues. What is your body telling us? How is your body responding to the environment – the air you breathe, the food you eat and the water you drink? It is often a process of trial and error. As a practice there is no one test that we advocate for that can do that will tell you equivocally what food is good or bad for you.
People are overly concerned and consumed with what foods they might be reacting to or what food is causing their symptoms. Testing shows that we very seldom have adverse reactions to foods. We have evidence now to suggest that it is more linked to what we are likely to be eating too little of and not too much of.
Genetic testing of individuals reveals that some people have above average requirements for micronutrients like folate, vitamin B12 or vitamin D. The standard or average recommended allowances will not suffice for them. They will always need more and will need to accommodate their diet accordingly. Having this information is invaluable to managing your health.
Listen to your body
Your body is incredible. It has ways and means to protect you and deal with the choices that you throw in its path. There are countless biochemical pathways happening every day in every single one of your cells. These pathways generate energy and protect us from harm. They allow a cell to respond to an ever changing environment which is essential to cell survival. Your cellular capacity ultimately determines your body’s capacity.
These biochemical pathways are dependent on, in other words they cannot happen, without key micronutrients and co-factors which you get from your diet and the foods you eat. These are the vitamins and minerals that no one seems as concerned about as they do with their sugar, carbohydrate, fat and protein intake.
Seldom is enough emphasis placed on the types of foods we eat. Have you ever gone to a doctor because you are sick and have them ask you “What is your diet is like?” This should surely be the starting point as without key micronutrients your cells won’t function and therefore you won’t function optimally.
A Western diet is proven to be typically devoid of these micronutrients. The food industry processes food extensively resulting in a low micronutrient content all for the sake of convenience and time saving. These foods are called ‘empty calories’. They might fill you up as they contain carbohydrates, fats and proteins so you feel as though you have eaten, however energy only helps us so much. The content of these ‘calories’ has to be considered.
Relax, and eat micronutrients
So forget about what label you apply to your eating. The biggest success stories come from people who understand better what specific micronutrients they need to be eating in order to support their body and allow it to function at its best. Some people need more of some and less of others.
Understand your own individual needs and key areas to focus on. When you understand this then only can you start to develop principles and rules to live by when it comes to you food choices and cooking methods.