Why is Choosing so Confusing- A Guide to Food Selection (Part 1)

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As a Nutritional Therapist, I strongly believe that a properly prepared, nutrient dense, whole foods diet is the ultimate foundation that leads to optimal health.

Although there are a variety of other pillars that rest upon this foundation, if we don’t start here we will never be truly healthy. The problem is that many of us get stuck and never figure out what a healthy diet actually means for us as individuals.

Unfortunately, this has a lot to do with the fact that we are fed a lot of misleading information about food. Which ones are bad, which ones are good and which ones are “superfoods”. Ultimately, the truth is- THERE IS NO ONE DIET THAT IS OPTIMAL FOR ALL OF US.

Let me repeat that and rephrase it in as many ways as I possibly can.

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all diet.

We all need different ratios of macronutrients, different amounts of food in each meal, and different meal timings to feel our best. We all come from different lines of heritage that survived and adapted to specific environmental influences and developed unique tolerances and intolerances for different types and ratios of foods.

IMMEDIATELY put down any magazine and exit out of any blog article that tries to feed you “the perfect diet”. Even and ESPECIALLY for weight-loss.

I know its tough to digest (haw haw) , but you’re going to have to use the good old, tried and tested method of trial and error to figure out what your body is asking for and what your body thrives upon.

The reality is that people of the world can thrive on drastically different diets and not face the debilitating illnesses that we are now facing in the western world.

Some of the most interesting work I’ve ever read was by a dentist named Dr. Weston A. Price who travelled the world studying the diets of indigenous people of a variety of climates. What he found was absolutely amazing.

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Dr. Price found that the diets of these people varied incredible amounts, however, the groups of people who were the healthiest all met a certain set of criteria when it came to what and how they ate. These commonalities were:

  1. Their diet contained no refined or heavily processed foods.
  2. They used some types of animal products, with some raw.
  3. Their diets were four times as high in calcium and other minerals and encompassed 10 times the amount of fat-soluble vitamins as the modern diet.
  4. They included foods with high enzyme contents.
  5. Seeds, nuts and grains were soaked, sprouted, fermented or naturally leavened.
  6. Fat content varied from 30-80% of total calories, but only 4% from poly-unsaturated fatty acids.
  7. Contained nearly equal amounts of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.
  8. Contained some salt (real salt).
  9. Made use of bones, usually as broth.

Another astonishing thing that Dr. Price found was that when any of these groups strayed from their traditional diets for one closer to a western diet, their health rapidly declined and these changes were immediately visible in the development of any offspring born during that time.

***If you’d like to read more about Dr. Weston A. Price and his work I’ve included a link to the Weston A. Price Foundation website and a summary article of his work at the end of this post. Even if you’re not much for reading, I would suggest clicking over there to check out the photos of the generations who followed a traditional diet vs. the photos of the generations who switched to a western diet. The photos and the body of work are absolutely eye opening!

However, the good news is, that when diets improved, so did the health and development of future offspring. The damage can be undone! And a great deal of change can be affected within only one generation. We are not doomed to continue getting sicker and sicker if we put a stop to the ludicrous food philosophies we’ve been choking down for the past 20 plus years.

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“If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as the souls who live under tyranny.”  Thomas Jefferson (1778)

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I’m sure you’re at the point now where you’re asking yourself how I’m going to help you with all of this. And so I shall.

This series of posts are going to cover a basic set of food selection principles based upon the research and findings of a group of nutritional pioneers. These guidelines don’t ban any food-groups and they don’t promote and one-specific diet philosophy.

So with out further adieu, the guidelines are as follows:

  1. Incorporate a proper balance of fats, proteins and carbohydrates in your diet.
  2. Think Variety. Think Seasonally. Think Locally.
  3. Research your water supply and select a good source and/or filtering system.
  4. Avoid refined and denatured foods including:
    • Refined and hydrogenated vegetable oils
    • Refined sugar and corn syrup products
    • White flour products
    • Canned foods
    • Pasturized, homogenized, skim and low-fat dairy products
    • Artificial vitamins
    • Toxic additives and colorings
    • Refined table salt

Don’t get too worked up just yet. Over the following four blog posts I will explain the significance of each of these principles and how they will help you build a strong foundation for lifelong vitality and health.

Health is a journey, it’s not a destination you reach. It’s tuning in to the constant ebb and flow of your body and its homeostatic mechanisms. Health is being in touch with what your body wants and needs and knowing that that may change at different times in your life.

As that lovely cheesy saying goes, give a man a fish, and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish you feed him for a lifetime.

By learning these simple guidelines you’ll be armed with the knowledge and skill to make the healthiest choice you can in any situation, while still enjoying your life. I am all about balance and prioritizing enjoyment- so I guarantee you, if you follow along with this series, you will be MUCH happier as a result! No more guilt every time you go out to eat!!!

Link to Weston A. Price article: 

Ancient Dietary Wisdom for Tomorrow’s Children

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