Food, Confusing Food

A few months ago, my LH (Loving Husband) and I started going down the nutritional rabbit hole. By this I mean we started reading books and watching oodles of documentaries about food. This is something I had avoided in my life for a long time because I knew, I just knew, that once I got close to that rabbit hole, I might be lost on Wonderland forever.

What do I mean by this? In my lifetime, I’ve been walking through a maze of constantly shifting information around nutrition and diet. I’ve been through carbs being good, then bad, then good again and now bad maybe, if they contain gluten. Then there’s protein and fat, which were bad, then good if you cut all your carbs, then bad, then good again(?). When I was concerned with weightloss, I flirted with the grapefruit diet, tried Slim Fast in the late eighties and Somersizing in the late nineties. I was vegetarian for years until I heard they were cutting down rainforests to plant soy, then omnivore, then vegetarian, then omnivore, then vegetarian and closet omnivore. I’ve been off gluten and dairy and back. It finally got so that I just sat down in the sand, crossed my arms, and refused to play anymore. When Food Inc. came out, I jammed my fingers in my ears and sang a happy song. I didn’t want to know or think about my food, I just wanted to live my life and eat my grilled cheese in peace. And this was all before, before I really got serious about looking into this stuff. I thought if I gave it a long look, I’d get buried in the information and lose my sanity forever.

But I realized this past winter that I didn’t feel healthy. I mean, nothing was really wrong with me, but I didn’t feel vital, full of energy, springy like Tigger. And there was a little part of me nudging me to look at my diet. For real. Maybe, I thought, I could stand revisiting my love of chips and chocolate. And so, the documentary marathons began. I’ve now seen Food Inc. and Farmageddon, Food Matters, and Genetic Roulette. I read Crazy Sexy Diet and am working on Cure Tooth Decay. That’s not to mention the blogs, articles and YouTube videos, in addition to all the information I’m absorbing like a sponge from my LH, who is reading way more than I am. And yes, it has been confusing and maddening. One person will tell you to eat nothing but raw vegetables, and another implores you to only eat vegetables cooked and preferably with butter. What’s a body to do?

But, all hope is not lost. I think I found a way out of the craziness of Wonderland. Instead of looking at all the conflicting information, I started seeing where the voices overlapped. Once I started looking at things from that perspective, I actually found quite a few points that everyone (I’ve read or watched so far) agreed on. And these few things have given me little pillars to stand on while I continue my investigations. I don’t know where it will all end. I have come to the conclusion that in our abundant, information-packed society, deciding what to eat is like playing a game of Hot and Cold; always getting a little closer to the target, then missing it and revisiting. But in finding those few commonalities in the advice and making some changes, I actually do feel healthier. So I have another good indicator of what is good advice and what isn’t; my body. Having more information, I also feel empowered to weigh the advice I hear and make good decisions. Hooray!

Do you ever feel confused and frustrated trying to figure out what exactly it is you’re supposed to be eating? Is it just me?


6 thoughts on “Food, Confusing Food

    • I knew I was leaving folks hanging a bit, but started to talk about the overlap and realized I’d need a whole post to talk about it. πŸ™‚ Here’s the quick and dirty list.
      1. Eliminate refined sugar.
      2. Eat veggies.
      3. If you eat meat, get it from sources where the animals are treated well and fed their natural diet, where no antibiotics, steroids or homones are used. This is about health, not just ethics.
      4. Eliminate processed foods. If it has ingredients you can’t pronounce, don’t eat it.
      5. Cut down on and/or carefully prepare grains.
      6. Soy should be eaten in small amounts. Fresh or fermented (tempeh, miso) is best.
      7. Eat fermented foods (sauerkraut, kimchi, etc.).
      8. Eliminate or avoid commercial dairy products. Organic pasteurized or organic raw is best.
      9. Eliminate Genetically Modified Ingredients (GMOs). There are about 8 or 9 kinds of food on the market that have been genetically modified. Soy and corn are the big ones.
      10. Eat organic.

      I think that’s about it. πŸ™‚ This is all based on the North American food system, so some of it may be easier or a non-issue in your part of the world. For example – do they have factory farming where you are? GMOs? And so on.

      I hope that helps! πŸ™‚

      • I discovered GoKaleo recently who has a brilliant, (albeit with a grrrrlish bent) healthy approach to food. She’s gone from being a lumpy unhealthy lady to lifting more than an average guy, if you care. She doesn’t seem to care what others think but she’s found this cult following of people like me who are beligerently slow to convert to this paleo bird food stuff. It’s slow, but it’s working (some days)

        (ps I’ve finally an afternoon to relax and reflect and revisit the sweetness of you ladies). Sorry I’ve been away.

  1. Ok!! This has been my life for the past 4 years. It verges on a religion for me. I want to comment on this post. No, I NEED to comment on this post but there is too much that could be said. To be honest, I have a rough draft of a similar post saved on my desktop but I could never narrow the topic enough to make it functional. I need to think about this and then I will comment.

  2. By the way, my laugh-out-loud line, “It finally got so that I just sat down in the sand, crossed my arms, and refused to play anymore”. I’ve done this so many times it’s like you climbed inside my head and lived there for just enough time to write this allegory.

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