Food – for some of us our diet is our religion – we can be passionate missionaries for our way of eating. A tangle of unconscious and conscious factors determine our relationship to food. discovering and establishing a approach to food that is right for us can be daunting in the face of ever-changing information but don’t despair! A few simple tenets can guide you towards a healthy and happy relationship with food.
Food! For some of us food is our religion – we can be passionate missionaries for our way of eating. Food plays a complex, four-quadrant role in our life – our personal emotional and sensory relationship to food, the nutritional factors involved in our health or disease, the complex web of economic and environmental factors surrounding food and what it takes to get a meal onto our table, and the rich tapestry of culture which interlaces community and family, spiritual and ritual with our cuisine. Our relationship with food is conditioned by a complex tangle of unconscious factors. This relationship can be healthy or unhealthy, inspired or insipid, vitalizing or demoralizing. For some food is simply fuel, for others it is creative expression and celebration – our relationship with food can be characterized by repugnance, disinterest, passion and even something resembling addiction – or, even more frequently a complex recipe of emotions, opinions, and habits.
Don’t despair, there are a number of important principles, guides to follow to creating a personalized approach to food. One that is nutritious, practical, and suits your own particular tastes and health requirements while being founded upon the most up-to-date understanding of diet and nutrition for the prevention of disease (blood-sugar issues and diabetes, inflammation, cardiovascular issues, cognitive decline, cancer and so on). In the following section we’ll explore some of the basic tenets of healthy nutrition/diet and guidelines for developing a positive relationship towards food.
This is part one of a series exploring the “Tenets of Health Nutrition.”
The Tenets of Healthy Nutrition
There is no one size fits all perfect diet.
In light of the diversity of human culture and genetics, the adaptation of the various branches of humanity to our worlds many geographical regions and climates, the individual differences in lifestyle, activity, work, constitution, age and gender, and the impact of all of this in upon our metabolism and physiology it ought to be of little surprise that there is no perfect diet for everyone. There is a plethora of dietary fads out “on the market,” each of them trying to convince you that this is “the one” for you! Don’t buy it, when it comes to health and nutrition, guidelines are more effective than rigid rules, and finding what works for you requires openness, experimentation and perseverance, and (unfortunately) changes over-time. Yes, I’m still working on it, and have yet to find my “perfect diet.” This requires, as do many other lifestyle changes, unfailing adherence to the principle of joyful experimentation and curiosity. Be playful in your culinary explorations and keep it fun. Even the highly customized diets, such as Ayurvedic or blood-testing, if interpreted to strictly (religiously), will tend to fall into a number of shortcomings when applied to any given individual.