What’s the Best Nutrition Approach

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Last weekend I attended a Q&A and book signing with two incredible authors, Diane Sanfillipo and Liz Wolfe. First and foremost, my biggest congratulations to both women who are inspiring nutrition & lifestyle change among a society that really needs help. While I haven’t read their books yet, I have them in hand now (or rather on my iPad) and I am truly giddy to jump in and explore their ideas. I am an absolute nutrition nerd and love learning all things related which is why I attended the event. I find it intriguing to learn about different approaches, what people like and dislike about the system, and what they continue to struggle with.

There were a couple points brought up during the Q&A that got my wheels turning. Someone in the audience remarked that they weren’t eating grains, wheat, dairy, legumes… (possibly other items I’m leaving out) and they noticed a sensitivity to nuts recently. My eyebrows rose. I instantly thought, what does this person eat…if I took a snapshot of their food, what would it be?

Before I go further, I must say that I do find that certain approaches, Paleo included, and specific principles within the approaches, that are beneficial when you are healing your system. Now, getting down to it, here are a couple of very personal and humble thoughts that came up.

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I don’t support diets in general. Going on a cleanse, doing a whole foods detox, or following an eating plan for a certain period of time can be helpful if you’re healing your system. For example, if you’re healing your digestive system, following food combining principles is really beneficial.

Here’s the bottom line though. When you’re following a specific eating plan, this increases your awareness about what you’re putting in your mouth. That being said, you should see results, especially since the plan typically limits or eliminates not-so-good-for-you foods. My recommendation is to keep that same level of awareness with your regular meals, just as if you were on a specific eating plan. This increases our mindfulness and we choose foods that are automatically healthier. In addition, if we maintain that mindfulness throughout the meal we breakdown and assimilate our nutrients optimally. Without this mindfulness, if you go on a diet and then return to your old habits, you’ll do the whole yo-yo diet thing and that is what really wreaks havoc!

Also, traditional diets, while I really support them and love learning about them, in a very logical sense, we must honor where we are at in time. Our lifestyle and the world we live in today is much different than that of our ancestors. We must adapt with the times…hopefully in the best, most healthy way we can. Stress and busy schedules are the norm today. Perhaps it would be most helpful to focus on our response to stress, rather than get more stressed over being stressed…rather than having to make more appointments to see various healers and helpers which adds to our full schedules and stress. 

Referring to the remark from the person in the audience I mentioned earlier, when you’re limiting that many food groups, when do you say ‘hmm, I think it’s time I get to the bottom of these sensitivities and heal my digestive system.’ I say this very respectfully as I really don’t have the whole story. With that in mind, I get that there are food intolerances and sensitivities and that you should honor your unique system, however, if you feel like you’re limiting your food and it’s impacting your life so that you don’t feel free to enjoy food, it’s time to possibly take a step back, dive deeper and get to the root of the problem. Do you have low stomach acid or lack digestive enzymes that would help you break down your food? Why? Have you burdened your system with junk food and stress?

Each person’s biochemistry is so unique that you do really have to figure out the best approach for you. With that being said, I do believe that there are guidelines, some of which are upheld in the Paleo approach, that you should live by most of the time. In a very real sense though, you must look at your system and how it responds and what your lifestyle and schedule is. There is nothing better than eating real, whole foods and matching this to best suit your individual needs and schedule.  Again, so thankful for leaders like Diane and Liz and the wonderful work they are doing in the world! Ready for another great article related to this…check out 7 Eating Mistakes that Sabotage Your Health by Elizabeth Rider.

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