One Size Does Not Fit All, Adam Milligan
every human should eat like humans ate up until about 10,000 years ago, in the Paleolithic era; every human should eat like the humans who lived after 10,000 years ago and had started growing food; every human should eat low fat foods; every human should follow the Mediterranean diet model; every human should be a vegetarian. This list could continue and does continue as more and more “experts” jump on board with promoting some new ideal way for all humans to eat. When you step back though, you can tell that it just doesn’t make sense.
It doesn’t make sense because their premise is based on the belief that all humans are the same. As well as the assumption that science has proven the exact nutrition the human body needs, and the ability for each human to pull the same nutrition from a given source. All of which is not even mentioning that particular human’s microbiome and its ability to generate nutrition for the human from otherwise indigestible materials. (If humans cannot digest something, like fiber, then the food item listing doesn’t have to include those Calories. Even if, once inside the gut the bacteria are able to digest the fiber and produce fats which the human does absorb, those are effective Calories to the human body that would not show up if you were tracking your diet.)
For every “proven” diet there are many more that directly conflict with it, and that is just from the actual science. When you consider all of the fabricated research created to manipulate data and the statistics, even that which is printed in peer reviewed journals, it is easy to understand why our Western diet is such a mess.
We are encouraged to decrease our sugar consumption by using artificial sweetners, when the research clearly says that these sweeetners are often more harmful. Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota
So, do we take this one piece of information, condemn the food industry, and ban all artificial sweetners? Tempting as it might be, it doesn’t consider the facts that we are all different and how our body responds to one item, like artificial sweetner, isn’t the same.
There are too many variables. As much as we would like to believe that by breaking a diet into food and then into the components of food -- macronutrients (Carbs, Fat, Proteins) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals) and even if we go as deep as the secondary compounds of the food -- that we would be able to truly know the food. Its value to the human body is greater than the sum of the parts. All of those pieces interact with each other, with our microbiome and with our body.
We all know that food is more than fuel. It is more than the breakdown of components. Well, it at least has the power to be more. Whether we chose to allow it to be a source of great pleasure, nourishment and life (as do some cultures, like the French, who according to the New York Times, don't care about the ingredients of the food label as much as about who made the food and where it is from), or a source of stress through focusing on the breakdown of numbers of grams and Calories, is a choice each of us has to make.
Whatever choice you make, own it as right for you, and please consider allowing others to do the same.
And, as always, let me know how I can help.
Eat Well, Be Well, Katherine Baxter
New sciences are emerging, and what they’re finding is that "epigenetic marks are reversible, allowing reprogramming after birth” and “nutrition and dietary factors can alter the expression of genes involved in immune responses”. That’s right, our immune system is programmable — and this is accomplished through our diet! This means things from birth (and thereafter) such as asthma, allergies and inflammatory diseases may be reversible through proper nutrition and diet.
What you’re eating is just as important as where what you’re eating comes from — not all foods are created equal. In the era of mass production/agriculture, there are a lot of foods that are low in their nutritional value due to nutrient-stripped farm lands. The more you can eat foods grown in small batches from local growers (such as foods from farmer’s markets), the better. Plus, you’re helping support the community! Often through obtaining the right amount of nutrients through our food, we can begin to not need to rely so heavily on supplements and vitamins.
When we think about diet, we often just think about the foods we eat. However, diet is also any regular occupation or series of activities in which one participates. So your diet is what you eat, what habits you keep, what television programs you watch, what environments you immerse yourself in, what music you listen to, the people you surround yourself with, and lots more. Anything that you are “taking in” is part of your diet — physically, mentally and emotionally. Our diet makes up a large part of who we are, from the inside out.
Nourishment and the Senses, Carla Fox
Nutrition can be interesting and useful, and ultimately isn’t comprehensive when we consider the larger picture of nourishment. That which contributes to our growth, health and good condition. That requires a more qualitative assessment, and hopefully leads us to a more empowered, less fearful relationship with our digestion through all the senses.
Anything we perceive/ingest has to be, in varying combinations, assimilated, stored and/or eliminated. The scary movie you watched, digest. The argument with your kid, digest. The beautiful opera, digest. The workout and massage, digest. The homemade meal, digest. How you feel about any of these experiences matters. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all chart for what to do and not do, eat and not eat. Super inconvenient for mainstream industries of dieting, fitness and even nutritional guidelines.
While it requires commitment to curiosity, slowing down to perceive and perhaps a few missteps along the way, our personal journey in nourishment can be interesting and rewarding.
Charis shares a piece on the six tastes of Ayurveda in this newsletter that may generate some curiosity around getting to know flavors as an experience, a good jumping off point!
Happy exploring! Let me know what questions you have!
The 6 Tastebuds Introduction: A Guide Map to
Optimal Nutrition, Charis Nawrocki
The 6 Tastes of Food: Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter, Pungent, Astringent.
The brain sends the body signals when it requires energy in the form of food. When only some of the 6 Tastes are regularly consumed, those specific taste buds can become over-stimulated. Incorporating all 6 tastes into each meal/snack can ensure that these signals are adequately met, thus avoiding food cravings or the overconsumption of certain foods. For example, if the taste bud receptors most commonly stimulated are sweet, salty, sour, then these specific receptors become over-stimulated and the urge or craving for more of these ‘tastes’ grows more habitual. Make sense?
Here are the 6 sensory receptors in the tongue and their correlating physical properties:
SWEET (milk, meats, grains, fruits, natural sugars)
-builds tissues, calms nerves
SOUR (sour fruits, yogurt, and fermented foods)
-cleanses tissues, increases absorption of minerals
SALTY (natural salts, sea vegetables)
-improves taste of foods, lubricates tissues, stimulates digestion
BITTER (dark leafy/most cruciferous greens, coffee, herbs and spices)
-detoxifies and lightens tissues
PUNGENT (chili pepper, cayenne, garlic, ginger, horseradish, ‘heat’ herbs/spices)
-stimulates digestion and metabolism
ASTRINGENT (legumes, raw fruits and vegetables, raw herbs)
-absorbs water, tightens tissues, dries fats
If this resonates with you then start incorporating all 6 Tastes today! Practice consistency with it for at least 30 days – though many find results unfold and certain food cravings diminish within as little as 7 days! Take it easy with it, have fun with your meals and snacks, and enjoy the feelings and improved healthful experiences you create for yourself with this ‘mindful eating’ practice! Peace-