Recently, I have been on a complete nutrition & health podcast binge. I just can't get enough and download anything I can get my fingers on.
But things can get confusing pretty fast with all of this information and unfortunately, sometimes these experts are contradicting themselves. In the light of that, I am trying to find the golden nuggets, that I can extract for my personal eating choices. Changes, that I want to apply to improve my health and performance. A concept, that has resonated with me a lot is JERF. JERF stands for "Just Eat Real Food" and the expression has been coined by Sean Croxton from undergroundwellness.com.
I like JERF because it's simple and free... You just try to eat foods that have been minimally processed by yourself in the act of taking them out of the fridge or pantry and cook them. It's fruits and veggies, meats and dairy and grains. In my opinion there is no need for anybody to cut out a food group like meat and dairy or grains, if you don't show any sensitivity towards them.
On top of that, I also don't like to put a label on me saying that I am e.g. vegetarian, paleo, zone, gaps etc. I don't like the limitations of these diets and the expectation* that seems to come with them. Don't get me wrong, all of those things have their place! A lot of people with e.g. arthirits have great results with a paleo diet in managing their symptoms. If you are dairy or gluten intolerant, you can improve your health drastically, by "just" cutting out those food groups. But for somebody that doesn't show any signs of food sensititvity or inflammatory issues, I just don't see the need for it. Of course things can always change. What worked for you two years ago, might not work for you today. What you don't realize today, you might connect the dots tomorrow about a health issue you have and the foods you are eating.
* Just one example from a couple of weeks ago was a food blogger that posted a "vegan" recipe only to be told by her audience, that honey is not vegan and how dare she can calls this a vegan recipe. Everyone needs to relax a little... If your opinion is that honey is not vegan, then don't eat it. Your choice!
What I start believing more and more is the fact, that instead of popping this or that pill for an ailment*, we need to clean up our diet. It's real foods, that put real nutritients in our bodies. Stuff that doesn't make us addicted to it (Hello sugar!) and/or change our brain chemistry and/or hormone balances.
* Actually, there are resources out there, that give you the info on which foods you should consume for whatever your ailments is.
"There is no treatment or drug which can overcome or negate the effects of a poor diet, inadequate nutrition, lack of exercise, and an unhealthy lifestyle." David Getoff
But I also believe in the 80/20 rule. Try to make the best possible choices at least 80% of the time and give myself a pass for the remaining time. There are fast food burgers and ice creme on my "plan". I don't want to completely stress out over a menu when I am out with friends, because I don't know what's in the food. I want life to be fun and don't want food be a stressor to me.
This is not about weight loss or weight maintenance, this is about continuously learning and about applying the things to your life that you think are right for you. There is no one size fits all. All I can recommend is that you educate yourself and find the size that fits you.
And I am stepping down from my soap box now.