Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How Then Shall We Eat?

Ah, the diet dilemma. Is it any wonder we are more confused than ever? (And by diet, I do NOT mean weight loss diet. I mean the kinds of food we eat. Just to be clear.) There are so many thoughts on what humans should eat and they all vary so much. Even the way of thinking within certain diet plans has many variables. It is enough to make us pull out our hair in exasperation. Let me expand.

The following summaries are my understanding. They are not a thorough evaluation.

The newest diet trend seems to be the Paleo Diet. Primal Diet. Eat Like a Caveman diet.

Do eat: meat
             fruit and nuts

Do not eat: dairy
                    starchy vegetables

Once a week, run around like crazy as if a dinosaur was chasing you.

Then we have the ever more popular Vegetarian or Vegan Diet.
People all over a choosing forks over knives. On the surface this diet seems ultra healthy. Of course eating more fruits and vegetables can never be a bad thing. Living food. Green food. Super-foods. Sounds good, no? But when my daughter told her Naturopath that she was adopting a vegetarian diet, the Naturopath questioned why? She did not think it was a good idea. In fact she told her she should have high quality animal protein. Of course any diet that requires supplementation (B12) cannot be what our bodies were designed to eat. Or can it?

We then have all types of variations on a theme. High Protein. Low Carb. Low fat. No fat. Grain free. Wheat Free. Gluten Free. No Dairy. Food Combining. Eat Right for your Type.

I just don't get it.

Another way to eat, and one I find most practical is the Whole Foods Diet.
The book that I am reading now is Nourishing Traditions and it is very wordy and reads like a text book off the start. It talks about eating meat, dairy, vegetables, grains. There is talk of soaking grains and fermenting food and on and on it goes but the thought here is if your Grandmother could not recognize the food, don't eat it. This, to me, sounds like the most natural diet for humans to utilize. BUT... even within people promoting Whole Foods, the types of foods considered whole vary from person to person.

Some say no wheat.
Others say yes to wheat but no meat.
Some say dairy is fine, others, not so much.

Wouldn't reason tell us to eat real food? Real food. Make our own food at home. Don't open boxes or packages. Don't open cans or bags. Make your own food.

No matter which diet we choose for ourselves and our families, I do feel it is so important to create a positive environment around the dinner table. Make it a priority to prepare good meals for your family. Encourage them to linger at the table just a bit longer. Light some candles and play some quiet music in the background. Pour some wine and really connect with those you love or with those you invite to share a meal. Strong family bonds and the sense of tradition can be built this way. Family and food are two of the best things in life and when you put them together on a very regular basis, who knows what can happen?



dawn said...

Yes, I and food are two of the best things in life. My diet is a little weird right now because I'm trying to lose some weight. Ordinarily though, I just try to stick to real foods. I was probably eating a little too much real sugar though. That is something that I'm going to have to be more aware of from now on. ;)

Kaivalya said...

This should work for everybody: Eat a wholefoods diet, in moderation, avoiding processed sugar and excess salt and moreover, eat food that your body responds well to.

In my opinion, this can be different for everybody and it takes a openminded health professional to realise that a meat or vegan diet can be right for one client, but completely wrong for another. (it could be right for your daughter, in other words).

I'm a vegan because this is the diet that makes me feel strong and healthy. When I stick to it, I don't break out in hives or skin rashes (which I have a tendency), experience inflammation in my body, I don't get colds, I don't go through periods of mini-depression.

So the big question is, what foods make your body feel healthy and strong? The best part: you get to figure this out by trial and error, by eating food! Yay :-)