In a sea of diets and theories around food. It is very easy to get lost and give up hope. However, food should not be so complex that we require a Phd. just to eat and feed our family. As a result we throw all the diet recommendations out the window and give up!
However there are four key principles that all nutritional recommendations agree on, whether it be Keto, Paleo, High carb, Low carb, High protein, Atkins, Vegan, Meatatarian, Lectin Free, Mediterranean. (Did you know that there were so many?) These are:
- Buy foods closest to nature: This means foods that have the lowest levels of processing done. Eg: a “potato” vs. “powdered potatoes in the shape of smiling faces that are frozen and ready to fry”. “Onions” vs. “Onion powder as a condiment”. A “leg of chicken” vs. “a chicken sausage”. When you buy an ingredient, it should resemble what it looked like in the ground, on the tree and part of the animal (which part of a chicken does a nugget belong to?). Think about this one principle and see how many of your food choices it could affect? What would you end up buying in a grocery store? A more difficult version of this principle is “Don’t buy anything which has an advertisement”. Cucumbers don’t advertise.
- No Sugar: This is a hard one to do. Most processed foods will have sugar in them, read the ingredient list (tomato ketchup for example is full of sugar). Sugar is an opioid, it has a reaction similar to opium in the brain. Making it a highly addictive substance. Furthermore it makes you sick, fat and unhappy (yes unhappy). It spikes the blood sugar causing all sorts of havoc on the circulatory system, damaging veins and arteries. It increases the amount of insulin released, that promotes fat storing. It creates unnatural cravings that lead to more consumption or depression from over bombarding the dopamine (pleasure) receptors in the brain. It is best to avoid sugars in all forms, starting with the most common granulated sugar. Check out our 100 day no sugar challenges for more information.
- No wheat: The wheat we get today, is not the same wheat our grandparents consumed. Our wheat has been selectively bred (pun intended) to make our breads and chapatis fluffier, the way we like them. The protein that makes them fluffier is called Gluten, it makes dough sticky. Now gluten affects everyone, whether you are intolerant or not. It enlarges the gap between our gut cells, thereby allowing little particles of food to leave the digestive system and float around our body, places where food is not supposed to be. The body launches a full blown attack on these particles to remove them, thus keeping your body in a constant state of war within itself! This is what is known as inflammation. Check out gluten free alternatives to use instead, it is a little cumbersome at first but eventually becomes easy to do.
- No vegetable oils: This is a tricky one, especially with so many brands touting how good they are for the heart. The name itself sounds so innocent, it has the word vegetable in it for heaven’s sake. Oils like canola, cottonseed, palm, safflower, sunflower, soy and corn are refined and highly processed. This breaks rule number one. Secondly, these oils are foreign to the human body, it doesn’t know or possess the right enzymes to break them down and use them for energy. As a result the body ends up storing it as fat around the belly. Studies have shown how consuming these oils also damages our DNA! Thereby creating tiny defects for you and future generations (the damage can last up to 4 generations). Replace these oils with fats and oils such as, coconut oil, Ghee (clarified butter), Butter and Olive oil.
While in our modern world of fast food and convenience eating, these principles might look hard. In reality they are easy to do and a gift to yourself.
The key to any nutrition is to think about it but not obsess over it. Food should be fun!