We need to eat food too frequently to become intimidated by it. If you're confused about what ‘good nutrition’ actually is, you are not alone. All the noise coming through media and mixed authority figures is making it considerably hard for the everyday person to put their finger on the magic formula to optimal health. One week it’s all celery juice, the next it’s vegan and then you get nothing at all (yup, fasting). Why are there so many ways of eating?
Because that one size that fits all magic formula you are hoping your nutritionist whispers to you simply does not exist. The easiest way to not overthink nutrition is to break down the required bare minimum framework to survive and add as much nourishment as possible on top of that. As long as every meal includes one of the three macronutrients (protein, carbs, fats) and ideally, they also include some micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), washed down with a regular glass of water - you'll be doing more than many. If you have certain foods you cannot eat, simply research a large list of alternatives so you never go without.
But if you're still seriously getting confused about which foods to walk away from and which to run to try asking these grounding three questions the next time a diet fad pops up and intrigues you.
Is this safe?
It’s pretty much the most integral and important question. Nobody's goal is worth risking your health for even if it is justified with putting up with a few short-term uncomfortable symptoms. Keeping a check on your energy in (food) versus your energy out (moving) is the simplest way to see if you are fuelling yourself with enough energy, which should be our number one priority.
How does my body and brain feel?
If you're not feeling better on a fad, then you have to ask yourself why are you eating in that way?! Your work colleague may feel like Superman on a bulletproof coffee, but you may feel like you are stuck on a broken rollercoaster ride. The keto diet made your Sister lose 5kgs, but you just feel nauseous daily. We are all uniquely different, that’s what makes us interesting. Keep a food and mood diary if it helps to work out if it’s for you.
Is it sustainable?
Life is busy, ask yourself if you can realistically keep the preparation and finance of keeping a certain way of eating up. If you feel good, and you can do it daily, fantastic. If you cant, following simpler eating philosophies like the 80: 20 rule can be much easier than a strict style of eating. What is it? 80% of the time trying to eat as healthy as possible e.g. salads, soups, smoothies and 20% of the time moderately indulging in ‘sometimes’ foods e.g. chips, pizza, burgers, lollies, chocolate and cakes. Topping it off with practising the art of ‘Hara Hachi Bu’, eating until 80% full is a much more sustainable habit shift.
Appreciating all our incredible bodies do for us and rewarding it with nourishing foods is a great mindset to get alongside. We want to live long lives, but it’s also integral they are happy and healthy years too!