Can you learn everything you need to know about nutrition from Google? Yes, potentially, but first there is the tiny problem of deciding which bits of nutrition information are actually true. Next, there is the task of deciding what facts will be most helpful for YOU.
It gets complicated because science is evolving. Every year, new research comes out that can redirect our learning and knowledge. So if an article, website or piece of advice is more than a few years old, it may have some flaws or just be flat out wrong. A great example of this is the myth that fruit has too much sugar and should be avoided. This is just wrong. Fruits are among the most nutritious foods we can eat. They are loaded with antioxidants, phytonutrients, fiber and glucose that sustains our energy and nourishes our brain and liver.
On the other hand, there are also “tried and true” approaches that get reinforced as new research confirms what we already know. Eating a whole-food diet is a health strategy that keeps getting re-affirmed year after year in nutrition studies. Manufacturers try to generate trends and fads: juice fasting, frozen meatless mycoprotein burgers, diet books and diet products that are said to “change your life.” The tried and true approach, however, is to eat more real foods in their original form: whole fruit, fresh vegetables, intact whole grains, beans, nuts, and pasture-raised / wild caught animal products. Sadly, cauliflower nuggets and veggie tots are not part of this list.
A very popular phrase among some nutrition advisors is “everything in moderation.” While this sounds like a great idea, it is fraught with problems. What does moderation mean to you? Next time you are unsure about a food, find a moment to sit down in a quiet place and ask yourself this question:
“If I eat this food, will it help me to make the changes I desire in my body?”
Allow your body to speak to you. You may notice a clear answer or conflicting messages. If there are answers that conflict, (like “This food makes me feel calmer right now” and “This food will make me feel tired tomorrow.”) ask who is the “voice” of each answer. Is this my body speaking? Is this the voice of my exhaustion and frustration? Is this the voice of my “inner physician?” Recognize that there are needs that want to be met with this food, like relaxation. Are there other ways to relax without this food?
If a person struggles with weight and has a fatty liver, then eating a few cookies and drinking a glass of wine every day is likely to be part of the overall problem. These foods, even in moderation, will not likely reverse many years of eating not-so-healthy foods in moderation. Especially if that glass of wine leads to another glass of wine…and then some great smoked cheese to go with it. On a few crackers. And washing it down with another glass of wine. Do you see why this approach might not be for everyone?
In our workshop, First Stop Nutrition, we address many common myths and misunderstandings about diets, what kind of fats to eat, how much protein you need in a day, what kind of “healthy” ingredients should be avoided, and what meals look like that are based on these ideas. Whether you are well versed in nutrition or new to these ideas, we think you will find this course to be a valuable resource! Stay tuned, and sign up for our enewsletter, to be notified for the First Stop Nutrition webinar, coming soon!