I was listening to a podcast this week about diet and lifestyle and I felt compelled to share with you some of my fundamental beliefs about food and life. When we eat right for our body we can enjoy food with joy and abundance. I know I’ve talked a lot about my philosophy of listening to your body and eating with joy, without guilt and without deprivation. And at the same time my recipes are generally wheat and dairy free. So perhaps this is a little confusing and I wanted to take a moment to be really clear about my beliefs and how you can apply that to your life and generate great benefit to your health and happiness.
We all have a unique evolutionary biology and we are all a sum of our ancestors who have gone before us. So what is right for one person is not necessarily right for another person. There are lots of lifestyle diets out there – paleo, LCHF (low carb high fat), vegan, Mediterranean, blood type, low calorie, high protein and the list is endless. And food today is certainly not what it was even 50 years ago. We have changed the fundamental structure of wheat for example but our biology cannot change that fast and we are now unable to process wheat with the same ease with which we once did. If you are interested in wheat specifically I wrote a whole blog post on modern wheat which you can read here.
If you are Middle Eastern descent, your body may well respond well to legumes and pulses where as if you are from Asian descent, you most likely do well with rice in your diet. If you are from Mediterranean ancestry you may well do better with olive oil rather than coconut oil. We need to look at where we came from and allow that to guide (not dictate) what we eat.
So here’s what we do know, unless you are from Inuit heritage (where they didn’t eat vegetables and were really healthy!), your body will thrive on plentiful fresh fruit and vegetables, moderate amounts of proteins, good quality fats and limited processed foods. The rest is up to you.
My advice has always been that you need to listen to your body and act accordingly. If you feel that your belly is a little bloated or sore after eating bread, try not eating bread for a few days and see if you feel better. If your sinuses are blocked up, try going without dairy for a week and see if it clears up. I always advocate from the removal of processed foods from our diet because everything we put into our mouths has an impact on the workings of the body. Our bodies are made to thrive on food from nature, not from a laboratory.
When you take stock of your health and you listen to your body, taking note of aches and pains, you will be able to work out easily what foods your body thrives on and what foods limit your health. We also need to remember Maslow’s theory of happiness. Maslow says the most important factors in a happy life are life purpose and community. So sharing a great meal of real food with friends and family will do more good for your health than following a strict diet that doesn’t allow you to participate in celebration.
What we also know is that the bacteria in our gut (called our microbiome) decides what we want to eat. Children who are fussy eaters often have gut problems because their microbiome dictates what it needs to survive and thrive. The great news is that the microbiome can be easily changed to thrive on good stuff, meaning you won't crave the foods that cause us to put on weight, make us cranky and leave us feeling sluggish and lethargic. With the use of probiotics, fermented foods, lemon juice in warm water, removing sugar, drinking green juices and persisting with eating more vegetables, we can change our microbiome until we actually chose to eat that salad from desire! It's a wonderful day when you realise you are craving your greens.
At the end of the day, life is for living, for sharing with friends and family, participating and enjoying ourselves. We need to take care of ourselves so that we can get the most out of our lives but we need to do so in a way that is in line with our beliefs, with what we can manage at that time in our life and with what sits true for us. When we are authentic and we love our lives (including what we chose to fuel ourselves with), we are able to get the most out of every day.
If you’ve found something in this post that resonates with you or you think will help someone in their life, I would love for you to share it and help me to support our community towards abundant health and happiness. When we eat right for our body we can enjoy food with joy and abundance.