Let Us Eat Food

How to discover the real food balance.

By Corinne Nash.
2 minute read.

So, you have been paying attention to facebook, instagram, your friends chatting, the ads on TV and Aunty Rita and you know what you need to do to achieve the ultimate, the right diet to make you feel amazing, ten years younger and to guarantee perfect skin, a size eight figure (but no loss of flesh from my face or my boobs please…) and to avoid cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

It seems to involve bucket loads of broccoli, assorted other super foods, quite a few supplements, no carbs, especially no sugar (evil) and no animal products (clean eating is vegan…or is it plant based…) No, hang on…only eat meat and lots of fat…we need to be paleo.

Let’s face it, you’re confused. Like most people. The advent of the internet has created information at our finger tips. So much information (largely unverified by trusted sources) that we are awash in a sea of partial facts, utter nonsense and sometimes even a little bit of good advice!

The question is how to separate the good from the bad and the crazy (and wrong) from the crazy and true!

The answer is, the right diet for you is the one that works for you. When I say diet I don’t refer to weight loss, just to the usual eating pattern that you follow. We are all a little bit different and so one size does not, cannot, fit all. Neither can we all be super slim, have perfect skin or lustrous hair.

What we should focus on is what the science and the evidence over time says about which foods, and which eating patterns generally mean less incidence of the nasties of modern living –chronic disease such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer being the main ones. Humans were not designed to need superfood bars or to live on green powders. We are designed to eat food, the less processed the better.

There are healthy diets all around the world, from Southern Europe to Japan. Each has its own cultural traditions and relies on local produce and food availability – e.g. fish, red grapes for wine or rice. Each diet has merit. If you’d like to make changes in your way of eating then consider the Mediterranean diet . It is well documented to be a great way to ensure flavour, satisfaction (no calorie counting!) and a high chance of a long and healthy life.

The basics of a healthy diet, with lots of variations to suit your tastes, lifestyle and budget are:

  • Lots of vegetables and fruit.
  • High fibre (wholegrains, vegetables, some fruit, nuts and seeds)
  • Healthy fats (such as from plants – olive oil, avocado, nuts…)
  • Lean protein, not too much meat.
  • Fish twice a week for omega 3 fatty acids
  • Enough calcium from dairy or dairy alternatives
  • Limited alcohol
  • Limited sugar… these last two can be omitted completely if that’s your choice!

 

Nothing is off limits. That is not the same, however, as saying that you should eat just whatever you fancy every day. Balance is the key. Don’t beat yourself up. Enjoy your meals, eating slowly and savouring the flavours.  Recognise foods which are not helpful for you and try to replace them on most days with something else. Recognise emotional eating and try to do something else to make yourself feel good. Exercise is great for the soul.

If you are struggling with finding a good balance that leaves you feeling happy, healthy and alive then consult a university qualified nutritionist or dietitian. The investment is often less than a good haircut, and the difference can be life changing. We are, after all, what we eat.