an interesting article by Lesh from Mindfully Nourished

Given the vast number of options on the correct way to feed yourself, how do you find what works for you and have the confidence to stick to it?

I appreciate where this lady is coming from. The more I write {and read} about food and health, the more I sense people are seeking definitive answers on what and how to eat. In fact, I often get asked what my dietary paradigm is – for example, whether I’m paleo vegan, vegetarian, grain-free or gluten-free, etc.

The thing is, food has become fashionable. Not just for gourmands, but for healthy foodies too. Tantalising photos of green smoothies in mason jars, raw vegan desserts, chia puddings, paleo meals of meat with sauerkraut, sugar-free cakes are popping up everywhere — on our facebook and instagram feeds, pinterest boards, and even mainstream media.

And for every green juicing, smoothie loving, super food munching, foodie hipster and celebrity expert, it appears there is an equal number of healthy ways to eat.

With so much dietary choice everywhere you turn, it’s no wonder that it causes perpetual confusion and doubt. Too much choice can also cause people to be stuck in overwhelm, instead of making changes for the fear of eating something ‘wrong’.

Now, let me tell you:

There no one-size-fits-all diet. Because there is no one-size-fits-all person.

{Sorry to burst the bubble.}

There are, however, 3 guiding principles that are consistently present in most healthy diets — which, unsurprisingly, aligns to Michael Pollan’s infamous mantra:

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Let’s explore these principles a little further.

Principle 1: Eat food

  • eat food that is closest to it’s natural form {wholefoods}
  • minimise the Western diet {packaged food} as much as you possibly can
  • when buying any packaged foods, read the ingredient labels, not the health claims, to make sure they’re ingredients you’d cook with
  • if eating animal-based foods, do your best to choose animals farmed in their natural environment eating their natural fodder

Reasoning: With chemicals and processed food-like substances, food has markedly changed over the last 100 years, much faster than human evolution. Which means the human body is less likely to recognise such foods and satisfy its needs from them. Also, the body mounts an immune response to anything it cannot identify. Over time, this can lead to low-grade, chronic inflammation, which is believed be the cause of many diseases arising in the developed world today.

Principle 2: No too much

Reasoning: Besides what to eat, how much and how you eat is the other health concern today. Eating nutrient-dense wholefoods and eating mindfully naturally promotes satiety {feeling full} with fewer calories as people can naturally gauge how much their body needs. Eating less than what we currently do has known beneficial effects on long-term health and longevity.

Principle 3: Mostly plants

Reasoning: Whole plant-based foods are high in fibre, antioxidants, and micronutrients, which have proven anti-inflammatory, disease-protective effects on the body. And we’re simply not getting enough in the standard Western diet, made evident by the rising obesity and food-related disorders.

You can’t go too wrong when you eat this way. The key is to practice these principles amongst the chorus of dietary noise.

Of course, you can customise these principles further by honouring your needs, not others. To do this, you need to be willing to experiment, consciously pay attention {mindfulness} to how your body responds to food, and be kind to yourself.

Most of all? Enjoy what you choose to eat. The guilt isn’t worth it.

 

In her heart, Lesh Karan is a writer and teacher, with traditional education in undergraduate pharmacy and a masters in medical sciences. A diagnosis of endometriosis led her to train as a holistic health coach and create The Mindful Foodie. Drawing upon her professional and personal experience, Lesh helps people to make conscious eating and lifestyle choices. 

You’ll find her work at themindfulfoodie.com.