If you are like most of us these days you are overwhelmed with messages about what to eat. One week everyone is going on about how Paleo is the way to go, and the next week we’re told that eating meat gives you cancer and we should all go vegan instead.
There’s a lot of very compelling but often contradictory advice on what we “should” be eating.
If you are like most people you’ve maybe dabbled with different diets but found all the rule-following way too difficult and soon threw in the towel and went back to your trusty cheeseburgers and brownies.
I know all about food confusion. During my schooling at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, we learned 100 different dietary theories – from Atkins to raw vegan and everything in between. We were taught by the leading experts, doctors, and scientists about each way of eating and were presented with all the corresponding research on why that particular style of eating was the best. Week after week we were bombarded by contradictory claims and research for each dietary theory…and encouraged to try them all!
I literally felt like my head was going to explode! I felt stressed, anxious, and more than a little overwhelmed around food.
I got to a point where I couldn’t look at a food without thinking of all the ways it was probably slowly poisoning me.
About halfway through the program, the lead instructor asked if we were feeling confused about what to eat. OMG ya think? He then explained that this was done on purpose, with the point being that nutrition is not an exact science – what’s a great way of eating for one person is terrible for the next person (he called it ‘bioindividuality’) and that we needed to get away from believing there is one right way to eat.
The only way to figure out the best way of eating for you is to simply play around with it and not get hung up on food rules or worrying about fitting into some kind of one-size-fits-all box. (And FYI the stress caused by trying to adhere to someone else’s rules about what you should eat is likely far more damaging to your health than what you actually eat.)
Practising intuitive eating, and paying attention to what your body actually wants (including honouring physical cravings), is a really great way to know what and how much of each food your body actually needs, and is the method I most recommend. However if you are looking for more objective advice to get to know what the best types and ratios of food is for your body, there are some simple things you could play around with.
For instance you could try varying the amounts of
- proteins (particularly meat and other animal protein)
- complex and simple carbohydrates
- water (not a food I know but deserves to be on this list)
Simply pick 1 thing to do differently for 2 weeks and monitor things like mood, digestion and energy throughout the day and keep track. After 2 weeks you should have a very clear idea on whether that change made you feel better, worse or the same. Going forward you have that information to help guide your food choices with no rigid rules required.
I love helping people out with their food conundrums…so if you feel like you could use some guidance in this area hit me up at Leanne@leannebrunelle.com for a free consultation.