Food knowledge is vital to living well. We make around 200 food decisions in ONE day! Simple food education helps promote better overall choices helping to promote better health. Many of these choices have become habit (breakfast or not; if so what to eat, how to prepare, etc) and we no longer recognize just how many options we are so lucky to enjoy. Unlike most of human history, we no longer have to hunt or gather our foods in the wild but instead hunt and gather in markets or order online. My personal hunting & gathering includes extraordinary local farmer’s markets, my small backyard garden, Whole Foods, Amazon, and Thrive Market online. Being a savvy consumer can help you reap the benefits in your health and well-being in more ways than just what’s left in the bank account.
Our concerns about where, how, and what foods to consume have changed along with technology and the American culture of convenience. Somewhere along the way, the deep connection between food and our health was buried in the glamour of quick fix medicine, pre-made meals, and savvy marketing by big food corporations.
Knowledge is power and with that power comes making better food choices for yourself, your family, and even your community. Whole foods, prepared by human hands not a machine are best choices for nutrient delivery and supporting well living. Food grown without pesticides and genetic modification help to support not only a healthier human but a healthier Earth. Animals (and fish) raised on their natural diets & free to roam (or swim) provide more nutrients, less toxins, and support a sustainable environment. Our food choices not only effect our own health and well-being but our rather important home: Earth.
There are many excellent documentaries, books, and lectures available that can speak to this in more depth. A few of my favorites include Fed Up documentary, The Disease Delusion by Dr. Jeffrey Bland, Dr. Terry Wahls Protocol by Dr. Terry Wahls, The Autoimmune Solution by Dr. Amy Myers, and Latest in Paleo podcast (this was not easy for me to pick only 5!). The Environmental Working Group is an excellent resource for many topics regarding healthy choices with the latest research. As a functional medicine nutritionist, food education during consults is the most important piece of health empowerment for clients. Knowledge of real food and the state of the food system is an important part of being able take charge of your own health, preventing chronic illness, and seeking to optimally live.
One of the biggest influences on our food choices is what we provide in our homes. Starting in the home is one of the easiest ways to apply, learn, and enjoy healthy eating. Getting in the kitchen, involving family and friends in the process of meal preparation not only builds stronger relationships but makes the kitchen not so daunting for so many of us. I have to admit my own kitchen skills are pretty basic but following simple real food recipes and mastering the art of Vita-mix blender smoothies keeps my house well fed, healthy, and happy.
Simple ingredients and prep doesn’t mean boring but only that all of us can do it! The joy of eating fresh foods made with love nourishes not only our bodies but our souls too. What you eat regularly really speaks to your lifestyle because it effects so much of how we go about living. My favorite cookbooks usually are in the Paleo category as I find them to be the most nutrient dense meals with the easiest prep and best YUM factor. (NomNom Paleo Food for Humans by Michelle Tam & Henry Fong tops my list. She’s a pretty awesome lady.)
Paleo principles acknowledge the importance of macro & micro nutrients (fat, protein carbs, vitamins, minerals) while using whole fresh foods to not only support health but include other vital aspects to sustained health. This relates to topics such as sustainability, movement, sleep, and mindfulness practice. This aligns well with functional medicine principles and personalized lifestyle medicine because it is an all encompassing template, not a single magic cure. Wellness is not effortless but the reward of health is priceless! Hopefully I can inspire and motivate the health nut in you!