It seems fitting that with the introduction of our new and exciting wholefoods and nutrition leg of Pure Home Body, Pure Nutrition, that we kick off with a fab blog on Debunking Nutrition.
Welcome Sam Mair from Sam Fit. In today's article Sam's gets chatting with us about debunking the myths around nutrition. I love Sam. She's a wholefood advocate and her advise is simple and so easy to adopt. A perfect little inspo piece to get you thinking about what it is you want to achieve for your wellbeing.
We live in an age where we are spoilt for choice. We are constantly bombarded with information on the next best way to health and fitness – paleo, vegan, keto, sugar free, gluten free, intermittent fasting, cleanses, detoxes and the list goes on.
They say knowledge is power but with all this information and everyone with a Facebook or Instagram account magically being a nutrition ‘expert’, there’s a ridiculously large amount of conflicting dietary advice floating around and it’s become hard to separate fact from fiction. What to eat has become a very complex subject and if you look at the evidence, sadly it appears all this knowledge may actually be hindering rather than helping our health.
In the last 100 years there has been radical changes to our food supply. The western diet has been ‘industrialised’. Overtaken with highly processed seeds (corns, soybeans), grains (rice, wheat), a host of refined food like substances and a focus on economics and quantity versus quality.
Food has become fast, cheap and easy and as a result we have created a plethora of overfed and undernourished people. Levels of obesity, cardiovascular disease and cancer are higher than they have ever been and there is a growing body of evidence to suggest this has a lot to do with what we are putting in our mouths.
Simple: eat REAL food.
For many, clean eating conjures up images of people existing on nothing more than green smoothies and kale chips. We wrongly assume that clean eating revolves around restrictions, birdlike portions and feeling hungry all the time however this is not the case at all. Quite the opposite - clean eating is all about giving your body more - more fresh food, more nutrients, more of what it needs to function at its peak.
1. Fresh is best.
Simple unadulterated whole foods should always be your first choice. For the most part any food that comes in a box has been refined and its nutritional value compromised. Whole foods have higher amounts of fibre and water and a far superior nutrient to kilojoule ratio than their highly refined counterparts designed specifically to push our evolutionary buttons and overstimulate our appetites. Our inbuilt preferences for sweetness, fat and salt which date back through the ages are difficult to find in nature but very cheap and easy to manufacture in today’s industralised food supply.
Choose to fill your trolley with as many single ingredient foods (spinach, nuts, avocadoes, salmon, lentils, tomatoes etc) as possible.
2. Step back in time
Adopting a diet more like our grandparents and great grandparents will automatically clean up your plate. In generations past, food was all you could eat, but today there are literally thousands of edible foodlike substances in our supermarkets – the novel products of food science, economics and marketing - masquerading as food. Take yoghurt for example. In our grandparents day, yoghurt consisted simply of milk with a bacterial culture, now most have an list of ingredients as long as your arm - high fructose corn syrup, starches, artificial flavours and preservatives just to name a few. Simple rule of thumb here - if your grandmother wouldn’t recognise it as food, it’s not something you should be keen to put in your body either.
3. Get out of the Supermarket whenever possible
It is hard to eat badly from a market or from your own garden. At farmers markets you will find fresh whole foods picked at the peak of their taste and nutritional quality. Eating fresh seasonal foods will add more nutrients to your body, more colour to your plates and more punch to your culinary repertoire.
When you do enter the supermarket, shop around the periphery, that’s where the fresh stuff lives. Beware however of the hidden nasties that have crept in here as well such as flavoured milks, yoghurts and ‘Wonder’ breads - yes the are a wonder indeed, unfortunately of science rather than nutrition. If it contains ingredients you don’t recognise, why you would expect your body to. Be wary of those containing more than 5 ingredients and forget the ones that have some form of sweetener (sugar, high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, agave syrup etc) in their top 3 list of ingredients.
4. Be wary of foods that make health claims or you see advertised on TV.
Avoid food ‘products’ that contain the work ‘lite’, diet’ or low fat in their names or that make health claims on their packaging. Check out the Aussie documentary “That Sugar Film” which demonstrates this point perfectly. Electing to eat many of the commonly perceived ‘healthy’ options in our supermarkets for 60 days, the effects on filmmaker Damon Gameau’s body was alarming to say the least.
Today, food scientists and marketers have us believing that even processed foods may be considered healthier for us if they contain the appropriate quantities of certain nutrients e.g. the highly refined sugar laden breakfast cereals that are high in protein or the omega 3 enhanced, cholesterol lowering margarines that line the dairy aisles.
5. Get Busy in the kitchen and get back to the dining table
It’s not just what we are eating but how we are eating it that is changing. We spend less of our income on food than our Asian and European counterparts and far less time shopping for, preparing and enjoying food together. Instead we are trending towards snacking on supersized convenience foods and consuming more of our calories alone or on the run - in cars, in front of TV’s, computer screens and electronic gaming consoles - and the humble ‘meal’ is dying.
Eat what you like as long as you prepare it yourself, from scratch. Once, this was a given: few people had a choice but to feed themselves any other way. Not only is it cheaper and healthier, if you’re cooking from scratch you control exactly what is going into the food you’re eating. And once you’ve cooked it, gather together at the table to enjoy it and begin bringing back our food culture.
The food we choose to put on our plates is powerful medicine. It fuels our bodies, powers our brains and can totally transform our health, wellbeing and energy levels. The trick, as with most things in life, is to keep it simple. Good nutrition is really nothing more than reducing processed foods and keeping your food as close to nature as possible.
So forget the diets, the science and the marketing claims - food was never meant to be this complex! Get some good old fashioned foods in your kitchen, dust off your pots and pans and start creating a healthier lifestyle for you and your families - one meal at a time!
About Sam Mair
Sam is a lifestyle coach and passionate health advocate providing practical health and lifestyle solutions that allow you to think, feel, function and show up for life as your best self.
Kid Mum. Dog Mum. Blogger. Speaker. Educator. Hiker. Culinary Creator. Bookworm. Lifter of heavy things.
Find her at www.samfit.com.au