The go-to answer for most things ‘nutrition’ and here’s why.
“What’s good for spots? What should I eat for high blood pressure? Should I use a protein powder? Should I avoid dairy” – I love getting asked questions about health and nutrition, but when the question is so broad, well, the answer can’t be specific.
You’re probably sick of me saying this but; We. Are. All. Different. Whilst humans have plenty of things in common, we are also all wonderfully unique & biologically diverse. The best ‘diet’ ISN’T just about the food we eat (although that’s a factor) but it surely relies highly on the human eating it. What if differences in our gut bacteria, genes or even our environment around us effects how we respond to the foods? Why do some diets work better for others?
The human body is the human body – so broad principles of what makes a healthy diet can be generalised to a certain extent. For example – mainly a whole food, plant heavy diet works well for most. But the optimum diet for the 25 year old cross trainer is going to look a whole lot different to the 40 year old office dweller or the 33 year old wino (who, me?!). There’s no quick answers (don’t even get me started on detox teas *biggest eye roll ever*) because of the complexity of people, but there are some things that ‘usually’ work.
So when you ask ‘what’s good for skin?’ – it’s so much bigger than suggesting a supplement or bulking up on oily fish. The first question is ‘why are you getting spots?’. Rather than smothering your symptoms, we need to look at the root cause. Imagine if your bathroom was flooding – what would we do first? Grab a mop or turn off the tap?
Whilst studying nutritional therapy at my college, we use a mix of naturopathic and functional medicine model to look at the different systems in your body and see what is out of whack (I would say #balance but I’m getting sick of saying it). Asking questions about your family health history, any medications you’re on, how you cope with stress, what’s going on in the poop department and MANY more questions gives the therapist a small insight into what might be going on – what you could be lacking or getting too much of and the reason why your symptoms might be presenting. Now we are NOT there to diagnose you – that’s the GPs department – but by figuring out the missing parts of the puzzle, we can begin to try and give you the full set of jigsaw pieces (then you can at least begin to put it together)
Food is SO much more than what is on our plate. We’ve all had different experiences and these experiences can affect our relationships with food. The learnt behaviours and psychological impact of these affect our food choices and how we eat – it’s so wonderfully complex – but because of this, it’s always a bit concerning when people are ADAMANT about their diet being the perfect one for everyone.
So how do you figure it out through all the BS and nutriton noise? Well of course I’m going to suggest going to see a Nutritional Therapist (make sure thy’re properly qualified and registered by a decent professional body like BANT) who can support you and help you figure YOU out – but there are also some helpful ‘generals’ that you can be guided by and a decent book is great start (once a teacher always a teacher)
It’s no secret that I’m a total fangirl of Nutritonal Therapist Amelia Freer (for some it’s film stars, for me it’s foodies) – and there’s a million reasons I think she’s great, but one of those reasons is her Positve Nutrition approach. Her book Nourish & Glow; The 10- Day Plan is just the absolute nuts – and the first HALF of the whole book is like a nutrition and lifestyle bible. It’s hugely based on what you CAN eat, rather than focusing (like so many do) on what you should cut out.
The positive nutriton pyramid represents a whole days intake – each circle is a portion – and when you look at it, it make’s you go ‘YEAAAAHHH look at all the foods!”
So go for it – eat the goodness – relax – don’t be overwhelmed by focusing on individual nutritents but nourish your body with variety and FREAKING ENJOY IT. Stop beating yourself up over the almond croissant (yes that is what im eating in my pj’s) and ENJOY IT. So much of what we do should come from a positive place – do your best when you can and ENJOY IT. Life is fun goddamit. But next time you ask me ‘what’s the best diet for (insert basically any human need)’ don’t be surprised if my answer is ‘It depends…”