Nutrition is simple yet complex. We all need nutrition to sustain our well-being although our food philosophies vary depending on our current and inter-generational beliefs, values and accessibility. Our food choices need to be individualized. Often our diets are not sustainable because they are not balanced and they are based on deprivation not enjoyment. In general nutrition involves four phases:
- Sourcing: fresh, local and clean. This can be challenging when accessibility is a problem.
- Preparation: This can be the glue that binds family/friends together. It influences the quality and nutritional value of the food. Usually, simple, minimally cooked foods have more value and are processed by the body better.
- Context of eating: Eating with family/friends in a relaxed environment with ambiance enhances digestive juices to do their job. Eating while watching TV or reading negative news has been shown to reduce digestive enzymes.
- Assimilation: We really are what we eat but equally important is what we do with what we eat. For most part, we should feel nurtured after ingesting food and not experience bloating, gas or belching. Likewise our elimination should be regular and we should not have a coating on our tongue in the morning.
It is easy to fall into the trap of eating to maximize pleasure and minimize pain. This often is impulsive with no awareness regarding food choices. Also eating for energy often entices one to eat more refined carbohydrates. This impacts on blood sugar regulation and body acidity. The impact is often followed with chronic health challenges. Eating for recovery is the result of eating impulsively and for energy. Often it involves a diet plan formulated by someone else like: Zone, Atkins, Ornish, Weight Watchers, Food usually is an immediate positive effect from eating fewer refined and processed foods, but then we reach a point of diminishing return. Combining, Blood Typing and Raw Foods. All have their merit but they can be restrictive, lacking balance and therefore be short-lived. The diet is no longer satisfying and no longer producing the promised result. Thus there is a tendency to slip back to our faulty food choices.
Eating for health is optimal. It allows for more personal choice, variety, seasonality and individuality according to one’s personal needs, tastes, ethnic origin/culture and commitment level. Food choice are made by discerning what the body needs and what is best at any given time. We choose a wide variety of healthy, clean/organic foods. We choose moderation in the amount of foods we eat, and take time and care in its preparation and presentation. Food is appreciated as an instrument of personal healing and sharing with community.
In summary, these basic rules will support well-being:
- Do not skip meals.
- Eat foods that are local, organic and in season.
- Eat in balance: Protein with vegetables and healthy oils at each meal.
- Eat more frequently in smaller amounts.
- Share food in community
- Be a flexitarian!