Food Glorious Food and What To Do

hara hachi bun spoonFor many years I have been studying nutrition and playing around with food to see what works and what doesn’t. There is so much conflicting research on what is healthy and what is not, that it’s nigh impossible to rely solely on information from books, websites or even health practitioners.

The best diet is the one you tailor for yourself: gathering information from a variety of sources, listening to your body and understanding your own experience of food with experimentation. And we all know that our finger licking habits change over time anyway.

Questions: What about cholesterol; saturated fats; sugar? Paleo diet; vegetarianism; fasting; Mediterranean diet; pizza diet; the 127 supplements diet; the raw food juice enema diet? The list is endless. A cloud of uncertainty hangs around like a polyunsaturated miasma.

So much of the food hype is beholden to fashion. Many years ago everybody was keeling over because of saturated fats. Then the naughty foods shifted to carbohydrates. Now sugar is the cause of all our ills (actually sugar is a carbohydrate so not sure what happened there).

So what to do? For what it’s worth here is is my simple guide (and don’t we just love simplicity 🙂

Eat only till you’re 80% full – Hara hachi bun me. A Confucian teaching, but a Japanese axiom. If you make this a part of your eating ritual it will leave you ever so slightly hungry when you finish, but 20 mins later satisfied with no bloating.

Eat mostly plants and if you eat meat, use it more as a condiment rather than the main part of the meal.

Focus on individual foods, not food groups – Listen to your body and see what foods are good for you. It may not be a good idea to cut out a whole food group just because of the latest fad or someone wants to sell you their special powdered exorbitantly priced superfood.

Eat as few things as possible that have a list of ingredients – A tough one, but as best as you can avoid packaged food or food that comes from packaged food which comes from packaged food….etc etc.

Eat mindfully, take your time and enjoy your food – For each meal or snack, focus on the eating: not on work, the cat’s dentist appointment, the football or whether your in-laws are going to visit on the weekend.

(And if you hear someone say “I’m a vegetarian but I eat seafood” then flee).

(And if someone says “I have the answer, read this book and shove this special green antioxidant slime up your nose and it will cure all your ills” – also flee).

3 replies

  1. Hi James,

    I would love to write a post explaining why there is so much confusion around sugar and carbohydrates and how understanding this can dramatically improve your health.

    Below is a link to my About page which will give you an idea of who I am.
    wisenutritioncoaching.com.au/2013/07/about-richard-harding/

    Let me know your thoughts, I’d be happy to put something together for your readers.

    Richard ♬

  2. Oh, yes, good stuff. Makes sense for the holidays, too. I’ve been preached to at a Thanksgiving dinner and sat with people who talked about getting drunk — all while faced with a plate full of glop! This holiday it will be just me with a good table cloth, bone china, and steamed veggies, maybe apples stewed with raisins and spices, a candle and some good music. “Keep it simple, stupid!”

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