My Food Philosophy
‘What do you eat?’ I get asked this question all of the time. It seems when people hear the word Nutritionist, they want to know what diet I am on and why.
In my opinion the word diet is so confusing, and has actually received such a negative connotation. Restriction. Deprivation. Punishment. In reality, all the word diet refers to is what a person is actually eating. ‘Food and drink regularly consumed by a person’ or ‘habitual nourishment’. People are constantly ‘going’ on a new type of diet, but the truth is, we are all on a diet, day in and day out; we just might not be on the best one for us.
The interesting and exciting thing (to me) about nutrition is that is affects us all differently. Nutrition is not a one size fits all or a cookie cutter solution. There is no single diet that will work best for everyone; if there was, we would all be on it already! We all come in different shapes and sizes with different hair, skin and eye colours and different personalities. Although it would be awesome if we were all 5’4 fiery redheaded females, the reality is that we are not. We all have unique features and characteristics that make us individuals, and the same is true for our dietary needs. In a nutrition context, we call this ‘bio-chemical individuality’. What this simply means is that on a chemical level, our bodies function and react uniquely to the food we eat.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that this means that you can go ahead and eat whatever you want and tell yourself that it works for you. Eating a dozen doughnuts for lunch does not actually work for anyone. Rather, what it does mean is that there is a true need for tailored nutrition support on an individual level. The diet that is right for Jane Doe will likely not be the right diet for John Smith. Vegan, vegetarian, paleo, raw, alkaline, Feingold, SCD and the diet list goes on… can all have their place in specific situations for specific Individuals. What is important is finding what works for the individual at that given time and finding the balance to sustain it.
Balance. This word is so important to me in terms of nutrition. We live in a culture of zero to hero, all or nothing. People are too often on the band wagon, off the band wagon and then back on again. Consider health a spectrum or a scale. If at one end is being supremely ‘unhealthy’ and the other is optimal ‘health’, we can all plot ourselves along our personal scale somewhere. The interesting thing is that we can dance back and forth along that scale from week to week, or day to day, or even hour to hour. What is important is not to get hung up on it. I want to live my life, and want you to as well. It’s about learning not to punish ourselves for those moments of enjoyment. If we over indulge at the party on drinks or cake or both, and dance backwards along our scale, accept it. Enjoy it and be happy you did. And when you wake up the next morning don’t feel guilt, but rather whip up a healthy breakfast and get on with your day. True balance is about doing it in a sustainable way. If you consider that almost all of the cells in your body are continually being regenerated every day; what you eat today literally becomes your body tomorrow. I don’t know about you, but I want to set myself up for success tomorrow. I only got one body, so I want to make the most of it as much as I can.
So, the answer to that question, ‘What do you eat?’. I eat real, whole, unrefined and unprocessed food. I am not on any type of diet; I’ve learned the foods that make me feel good, and removed the foods that don’t. I eat a lot of plant foods and some animal. I shop local when I can, eat seasonally when I can and I enjoy my food. The diet that works for me, may not be the diet that works for you, or for Jane Doe. But that’s my job, to help you find the foods that are right for you and show you how the food you eat can make you feel better. Your mood, your behaviour, your energy and any other goal you are working towards. It’s time to eat real food, indulge in our treats and feel good about it.