We’re inundated with opinions, pushed and pulled in every direction and at the end of the day, more confused about what to eat than ever. When it comes to looking at nutrition from a physiological perspective, for the individual person in the context of the modern world, I personally disagree with the majority of what the mainstream deems to be “healthy”. The foods and specific nutrients that end up being most conducive to a well-primed metabolism would surprise you.
Most health ‘recommendations’ don’t solely have the interests of the individual at heart, or even hard science, for that matter. There tend to be other competing factors involved – marketing, profit, popularity, maintaining current opinions, etc. it’s worth keeping this in mind when you’re evaluating the latest ‘detox’ program, supplement, fitness regime or popular diet – consider where the information is coming from and why, and question accordingly.
The same goes for food labeling. A “gluten-free”/”organic”/”natural” sticker doesn’t necessarily correlate with any increased nutritional benefit of attached food products (although such labels seem to align proportionally with cost, as a rule).The same applies to foods and products touted as “wholegrain”/ “low-GI”/“low-fat”/“sugar-free”/ “vegetable-based”/“Heart Foundation approved” – don’t make the mistake of assuming these terms are synonymous with what’s best for your body. I have seen “health” foods and products, in popular health food shops and aisles, that are some of the worst offenders out there. Generally, the most optimal foods don’t need fancy health claims.
L-i-s-t-e-n to your body. If you’re legitimately craving salt or sugar (gasp!) but avoiding sweet and salty foods like the plague, question the physiological reasons for your natural cravings. If you’re loading up on supplements in your quest for nutritional nirvana then you might want to think about if and/or what your diet is actually lacking, and whether it’s possible to correct any issues without popping a nutriceutical (or many). Really want to jump on the ‘detox’ bandwagon? Educate yourself about how your liver functions to naturally ‘detoxify’ the body each and every day, without the need for some wacky cleansing routine (besides, going on a ‘detox’ suggests an initial ‘tox’ or post-detox ‘retox’, no?). If you’re choking down vast quantities of Brussels sprouts and broccoli daily because of their on-paper nutritional profiles, at the cost of a whole lot of digestive grief, maybe, just maybe, they’re not the best foods for you. Trust your gut – quite literally!
Even for the dedicated health nuts and health experts, to quote Mark Twain, “don’t let your education get in the way of your learning”. Scientific progress isn’t made without questioning and critically evaluating the status quo.
Question everything (including me).