As a Food Sensitivity Coach, I find that many of my clients feel quite challenged when it comes to the shopping for groceries. I can sympathise because I have to admit I have been there.
Many feel that there is no ‘food’ they can eat. I have been there too!
To ‘just eat food’ is kind of an ambiguous statement because we all don’t have the same definition of what food is.
The dictionary definition of foods is: any nutritious substance that people, animals or plants, eat, drink or absorb in order to maintain life and growth. Interesting!
Previously, I have often defined food by what would fill my tummy be it good for me or not.
So, the question of the day is … What do you consider to be food? Does food include your breakfast cereal, granola bars, hamburgers, condiments, fruit, eggs, meat, cheese, or veggies? All of these foods have at least some nourishing nutrients and could be thought of as nutritious, but are they all really good for our bodies?
In prep for my Culinary Nutrition Expert course, I have a list of books to read or listen to, and a list of documentaries to watch. I decided to start by reading In Defence of Food: An Eaters Manifesto by Michael Pollen. I am a food lover after all. I also watched the documentary just for my own enjoyment. He is an entertaining guy and he has some interesting advice. One piece of advice I really liked was ‘Eat food, Not too much, Mostly plants’.
Today, we tend to focus on individual nutrients instead of the whole food. Many of us take supplements to ensure we are getting the proper nutrients instead of just eating the food.
That is not to say that supplements are not beneficial. Sometimes they are needed because certain nutrients can be very challenging to get what your body needs from food alone.
So what is food?
When Michael Pollen wrote ‘In Defence of Food’, I believe he was referring to whole foods. The kind of stuff you find in the fresh department in your favourite grocery store, not the processed food like products that we find in those center aisles.
I used to purchase a lot of prepackaged, processed food. Let’s face it, they are called convenience foods for a reason.
Pre-packaged foods tend to have a lot of health claims like low in fat, low in sugar, etc. But if a product is claiming to be low in fat but has more sugar and salt to replace taste that removing the fat has taken away, is that really something I want to consume?
Nutrition labels can be very misleading, by focusing on just the nutrients listed instead of the processed product as a whole. What else is in there hiding? Many ingredients are also added in as extras to extend shelf life, but all that can change how your body reacts and digests that food and then how the nutrients are absorbed or used.
Many of these processed products have been created in a laboratory in conjunction with a marketing team to produce more sales instead of better nutrition. Does that thought bother you, I know it does me?
I have found over the last few years, as I journeyed toward a better life after breast cancer, that I shop less and less in those center aisles, skeptical of health claims in general. I still have a few favourite products that I buy in those aisles, but generally most of my shopping is done in the outer aisles, veggies, fruits, meats, etc.
Now, with different circumstances and having more time on my hands, I look to do the processing myself. Taking the raw ingredients and cooking, baking or preserving them for my family to enjoy.
By doing this I get to choose what goes into it; I get to avoid those food additives that I cannot pronounce; or additives to give the product a 2 year shelf life. I get to concentrate on just using the whole food that gives me all the nutrients those foods can offer.
I am amazed that it takes a lot less time than I ever imagined it would.
Is the topic of ‘what is good food’ something you have pondered, previously?
Now that we have had a reset on our priorities, is the fuel you put in your body something you would like to take more control of?
There are so few things in this world today that we can control, but the food we consume and the choices we make regarding that food are things we definitely can control.
If you are interested, I highly recommend reading Michael Pollen’s book ‘In Defence of Food’. It is a relatively short entertaining read (or relax and watch the documentary). Make your own opinion of what is best for you and your family.
Let me know in the blog comments any thoughts I might have provoked or any topics you might like to explore.
Everything that opens our eyes is worthwhile. Explore your world of food, decide what works for you, make your own rules and like Michael Pollen says ‘Sometimes you have to break the rules’.
Food Sensitivity Coach and Food Lover exploring the world of food.
diane Couse, Food Sensitivity Coach
I am passionate about exploring the world with a view to food allergies and sensitivities. I look forward to sharing with you what I find, from books, blogs and websites to recipes, hacks, inspirations and opinions, join me in a journey to live your best life.