After a decade in Nutrition “Demystify the junk and keep it deliciously real” still fits the bill.
When I was in Bali, about to return to Mackay to cook and teach at some of my first workshops held at my old high school, I coined a phrase
“Demystify the junk and keep it deliciously real”
…and it is something that I still come back to now. Let’s be honest, so much of the jargon and on-trend stuff that media promotes is to fill pages and pockets. Your best interests are not at the core of that decision to promote that information.
Sucks, but it is true - and I can tell you the public health strategies aren’t much better.
I get why it is confusing, especially as this in only the FOOD part involved in how we eat. It is not even touching on the connection of Self to food in regards to dieting, bingeing, losing weight or ‘being healthy’.
Michael Pollan’s book ‘Food Rules’ had me nodding my head a lot, almost so much I had to put down the book from motion sickness. I immediately wanted to send 10 copies to 10 people, and see which bits jumped out and which bits got actioned - this was about 6 years ago just as the wellness and health industry ramped up a gear.
This is before "paleo" and "plant-based" were even terms used in every day vernacular.
So what have I learned in over 30 years of eating (lol) and over a decade in Nutrition?
1. More veggies, and a little more fruit, will almost instantly change your health. The fiber, all those nutrients, all that edible sunshine - the results in your cells are pretty darn fast.
2. More water. It is so under-estimated that hydration and drinking more water can change your health. I think we get fooled into thinking that it couldn’t be that simple. Headaches, energy, cravings and appetite - even joint pains - can just be dehydration. Same with fine lines, and cloudy eyes. Go for the aqua (and perhaps some gratitude that we have drinkable tap water that flows freely from a tap - if you struggle with your gratitude journal start there xx).
3. Less stuff in packages. Any packages. Whether it is veggies packaged in plastic that seriously effect the world (and just make no sense) or the stuff that actually has no use-by date that lives in the centre aisles of the supermarket.
These three together work brilliantly. We have to turn off the tap before we can mop up the floor. That is precisely why these three together really have big impact.
4. Insulin and Inflammation are key players in weight management and disease. It always seems to come back to these two pathways. Toxins and shit that our bodies simply don’t recognise get stored in fat if our body isn’t functioning optimally to get rid of it (or it doesn’t know how). This is why it makes more fat, so that your body can store it and not keep it in circulation in your body to wreak havoc.
Our bodies are always working to the best of their ability to function at their best.
If we don’t give it the things it needs to operate correctly it finds a way to manage the waste - like making more fat, and this leads to more issues with insulin, hormones + inflammation.
Eating with a focus on 1-3 means you are not only giving your body what it needs, it means it cleans up the way that your body can communicate to you what it needs clearly (like cravings for what you NEED, not as a consequence of your body’s pathways not working effectively - I could talk about that point and calorie restricted dieting for 24 hours straight I think!).
5. We eat far too much gluten, and way too much dairy - and I wouldn't call them health food. I am not getting into this in depth here, and I (almost) always approach this from a ‘diet variety is important so let's eat lots of different things’ kind of perspective, but if you want more clues google either gluten and dairy with the terms insulin and inflammation.
6. Notice I said ‘far too much’? That means you can still have a little, but like a garnish in your diet, not as a foundation. Certainly not each meal in every day.
7. When it comes to animal based proteins I think we can eat less - for the sake of the planet and for the sake of food costs. I do believe that choosing 100% grass fed from a farmer you know is something that you may like to take on board if you choose to eat meat (yes, this includes bacon and salmon - well, your fish don't need to be grass-fed, that would be weird.).
8. If you have followed me for a while you know that I am not vegan, raw, paleo, gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian or anything all the time.
I eat intuitively, I eat seasonally, I eat to celebrate and I eat for daily connection. I believe the latter is sustainable, I am not so sure about the former.
9. Sugar is sugar is sugar is sugar. Sugar alcohols, processed stevias and xylitols aren't sugar - but they are processed AF. I would prefer some real sugar in my body compared to that, or some fruit (real fruit, not fruit that is blended to rob its of its beauty, with no fat, more sugar on top to make it pretty - yes, smoothie bowls, I am talking to you). See point 4.
Oh, and whilst I am here on this point $50 to make a raw snickers that you eat too much of is missing the point - or three tubs of coconut agave ice-cream. See the next point.
10. When it comes to sugar, address quantity before quality. Recap points 1-3 again too. :)
12. Cooking from scratch, knowing how to assemble food, is the greatest gift of health, self care and nourishment you can give to yourself and your family. You are actually in the best age to have access to great resources - if your issue is time or money or motivation you are really covered. It starts with responsibility and accountability for your health, first and foremost. Can't afford the resources? More programs are being delivered in community - I am teaching in Logan for $3 a class!
13. People don’t want it to be simple. People are creatures of habit. People want variety. ALL TOGETHER. This leads to a lot of failed starts matched with equal inaction, or progress. And lots of boredom.
It always amazes it in me, and in others. It is so true.
Most commonly seen as...
'I have had the same thing for lunch for the last 5 years, but if I go healthy I need 5 different options from the first week - but don't want to prep it'
'I have never eaten breakfast, but pretty sure I need to spend 30 mins creating something different each morning from the first week I begin, and then whinge about the time spent doing it'.
Our expectations, and where they come from are so entertaining! xxx
I was going to keep it at ten and we got a baker's dozen. Would love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!
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