Is food and nutrition science stopping us from finding total food nirvana?
We’ve never had more access to and a wider range of information available about food and its effects on our bodies (although new discoveries are made every day) so why is it that lifestyle related diseases and disorders are so very prevalent? Could this wealth of information actually be preventing us from finding food nirvana?
The silver bullet issue
I see you over there, desperately clinging onto some hope that someone is going to find an amazing plan for you to follow that will cure all your woes, and I’m sending you a big virtual hug – along with a reality check – there is no silver bullet my love. Anyone that tells you “oh you should follow this diet plan, it will 100% fix all your troubles” is being irresponsible, frankly. Because there truly is no one size fits all approach and it’s impossible to know how each individual person will react to different foods. One persons’ medicine is another’s’ poison, ok?
Possibly the issue here stems from the appearance of the scientific community looking for silver bullets too – because all the headlines of their studies do suggest that science should be looking for a one size fits all solution to our health problems. You’re too wonderfully unique and evolving to allow yourself to get swept up in glossy headlines touting a wonder diet. You need to listen to your magnificent body and the messages it’s giving YOU (and you alone) to figure out where your personal food nirvana lies.
Evidence to support every view
Besides, along with those attention grabbing headlines touting silver bullets, there are also studies available to support just about every view point. Afraid to ditch your caffeine habit? You can probably find a study or two that suggests your morning cup of joe is good for you. Lacking in variation in your meals but worried about crowding out meat with more veggies? You probably can find a study that promotes meat eating. You need to give some thought to what makes you value one set of evidence over another – are you really being objective about that habit or are you framing things in a way that makes you justified in maintaining a behaviour that you suspect is no longer serving you?
Sometimes it’s healthy to remember that the people funding some of these studies know that’s how you feel. Be a little more cynical about where that information is coming from and get more attuned to your gut.
Too much chatter
Crikey, it’s no wonder people left, right and centre are confused or disinterested; that evidence to support every view is coming at us from every angle isn’t it? Should you listen to Maureen next door who’s son told her such and such, or your co worker who swears by [insert “miracle” diet here] or is everything you’re getting fed on social media the right info? Firstly, please read my recent post on the impact social media had on MY relationship with food and have a good think about the media you’re consuming and how beneficial it really is to you. Secondly, my wonderful friend Vicky (AKA Flourishing Pantry) covered this topic a short while ago in a post called Who should I listen to about what to eat and I encourage you to go give it a read and then pop back here and let me know what you think.
The state of the nations (food) education
Much of the information we do have available to us isn’t exactly thoroughly researched or objectively produced (see above points) so it’s really important that you take the time to check out your sources and do your own research. Sadly the small bit of nutrition education we get whilst still in school is largely out dated and doesn’t come with a great deal of real world application. But, there are some wonderful sources of information available to you:
Your local library – go check out their catalogue and start working your way through the books that most pique your interest. Start where you’re most intrigued and you’re sure to uncover a passion for making food discoveries
Nutritionfacts.org – this is a really great source of accessible nutrition information and you can read, listen or watch to your heart’s content
Enrol on a course – there are lots of free mini online courses available through Future Learn or if you’re really into this then check out somewhere like Groupon who frequently do offers for courses such as Nutrition.
The power to feel at your best, and to find total food nirvana, is in your hands (hint: that power looks a little bit like a knife and fork). Are you feeling stuck and like you’re being blocked from finding your own personal total food nirvana? Let me know in the comments below or send me an email if you’re shy – I’m here for you x