To say that the world of nutrition is full of conflicting information is an understatement.
All too often it has become a battle between the natural, preventative health community conflicting with the medical community on topics such as whether drugs and medication are really helping or harming, what foods are actually good for you and what substances in our food are safe or destructive.
Should the focus be on the cause or looking at the symptom — and how much of the symptom is nutritionally related? We ultimately are what we eat, right? Meat eaters criticize vegetarians for not getting enough protein and vegetarians criticize meat eaters for leading themselves to degenerative diseases.
Then we get into the world of vegans, raw vegans, fruititarians, the Paleo diet, macrobiotics, Ayurveda, and Chinese medicine.
So which is right? I could show you government issued studies demonstrating that microwave ovens are completely safe and others that show how they change the molecular structure of the food and that their use should be eliminated.
But I want to know . . . what do you think? And I know you can find studies on how we are meant to consume animal products and others that will describe the correlation between these foods and the pandemic of our society’s degenerative diseases. But what do you think?
There are studies saying aspartame is a safe alternative sweetener and others showing it as a neurotoxin. Again . . . what do you think? Then I’ll ask you to consider what may be at stake with your choices?
Fact: people can smoke cigarettes, drink beer, and eat highly processed foods and live to be 100.
Fact: people can eat meat or be vegetarian, vegan or a raw foodist and live to be 100.
So then is it longevity that we’re looking for? The questions then defer from our views on soy, kale chips and whether or not milk is good for you but rather how do you feel and what changes do you need to make in your own life to feel the way you want?
There are so many factors involved when it comes to your health that ultimately it comes down to . . . What is going to work for you?
From food allergies, to likes and dislikes to social experiences to personal desires it becomes a very individualistic approach.
It’s not about who’s going to live the longest or what causes what but isn’t the common goal here just overall health and wellbeing . . . feeling good and being free of illness!?
In my experience I have found that consuming a higher plant based diet, avoiding processed refined foods, including sugar, caffeine and alcohol has been when I feel the best. Hands down.
Of course, a lot of my choices were initiated by reading studies on health. But now it comes down to what I’ve come to experience for myself.
I no longer need a study to tell me that a microwave isn’t the best thing ever or that aspartame is actually not ok — in my opinion. I sort of just “get it”.
Ultimately I’d love to see all walks of health practitioners stray from the “dietary tribalism”, as so eloquently put by whole foods dietician Andy Bellati — and look towards the common goal — health.
If you feel vibrant and amazing — keep doing what you’re doing. Let’s use studies as a means of reference, information and guidelines to explore things for ourselves but ultimately reflect and always ask . . . “Is this working” and are you feeling better because of it?
Getting back to basics and using a little common sense will help you filter through some of this stuff and just focus on some of the common denominators that I think most if not all will agree on — and that’s avoiding the “junk” or “non-foods”.
Maybe just reflecting on your own life to find ways to add the best quality foods and find the right balance for you is all that really matters in the end — and respect the choices of others to do the same.
Kristin Fraser, BSc, is a registered holistic nutritionist and local freelance writer. Her column appears every second Wednesday. She can be reached at email@example.com