We live in the information age constantly bombarded with fads, diets, trends, and the latest in research. But with access to an overwhelming amount of data how many of us find ourselves more confused and conflicted than ever? Is the information we are being fed accurate? Can we trust it? And even if it is accurate, is it right for us and our unique constitution?
According to Ayurveda, nutrition is Ahara Rasa or the end result of digested food. Ahara Rasa is responsible for forming our plasma, lymph, blood, bones, muscles, fat, nerves, and reproductive tissues. Sounds important right? The quality of the food we eat is imperative to the quality of our tissues on a cellular level.
You would think food companies’ main aim would be to keep us nourished on every level. But guess what? It’s not. Let’s not be fooled; food is big business and profit is a large motivating factor.
Ideally, food companies would strive to educate consumers on what foods provide optimum vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, but this is not so. Commercials, advertisements, packages and labels are graffitied with false health information. Let’s clear the misconceptions…
1. Calorie Counting Is A Flawed Approach
Not all calories are created equal. There are 100 calories in a large organic apple and 100 calories in a snack bag of Cheetos. Do you think these two sources of calories are equivalent? An apple is loaded with a nuanced nutritional profile; it is packed with vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants. Cheetos (and the like) are not only devoid of nutrients; packaged junk foods that dress up as “low-cal” deplete your bank of nutrients.
Your body has to dig into your reserves of vitamins and minerals to break down chemicals and additives in each bite. Calories are not an accurate cut and dry measure of nourishment.
Tip: Seek what nourishes you, not what label states as calorically sufficient.
2. Not All Sugar Is Created Equal
The sugar found in fruit is called fructose. This sugar is naturally balanced by the anti-oxidants, vitamins, and fibers that are also contained in the fruit.
A teaspoon of white sugar can have the same amount of sweetness as a couple of grapes but the body metabolizes the sugars differently. White sugar creates rapid acidic and inflammatory reactions in the body, while sugar from grapes remains alkaline (acid-free).
Tip: Get your sweetness from whole foods like root vegetables, fruits, dates, coconut water, whole grains, honey, jaggery, and even a dab of maple syrup.
“We all eat lies when our hearts are hungry.” – Geneen Roth
3. Fat Does Not Make You Fat
Good fats give us slow release, sustainable energy. Amino acids increase our cognitive functions, memory, and focus. Good fats provide us with brain fuel. We need omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids to support cognitive function and memory.
In addition, fat help to alleviate crepitus (crackly joints), lubricate the colon to prevent constipation and serve as a cushion to protect our nervous system.
Tip: Good fats come from sardines, salmon, nuts, seeds, avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, and ghee to name a few.
4. Fat-Free Will Not Make You Skinny
Fat-free items are typically loaded with sugar and chemicals. Sugars process and store as fat, and chemicals boggle the metabolic hormones – creating innumerable interferences between the brain and the gut.
This type of miscommunication creates more cravings and symptoms such as weight gain, fluid retention, and excess phlegm. Chemicals forge a disconnect between hunger and satiety. Sugar and chemicals provide no nutritional value. They do the opposite. They rob us of nourishment and satisfaction.
I recently read a quote that stuck and continue to resonate, “When I see a sign that says, Fat-Free, What I actually see is a sign that says Chemical Shit Storm.”
If something is not naturally fat-free (like a pineapple or radish, for example), then you can guarantee chemicals and sugars have been added to replace the fat. You are far better off eating fat.
Tip: Avoid foods that should have fat, but are now miraculously fat-free.
Here’s The Deal
- The body is smart. Your body is constantly giving you signals and feedback to support your highest good.
- Knowledge is power and being informed is your prerogative. But even beyond what you read and learn, just listen to your body.
- Be mindful of what you invite into your kitchen, onto your fork, and into your belly.
- Eat whole foods.
- See how particular foods make you feel.
- Pay attention to your hunger and satiety.
- Notice what foods give you energy and what foods make you feel lousy.
I’ll leave you with the infamous words of Micheal Pollen, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”