by Camzin Martin
I made the decision to watch the Netflix movie, “What the Health” a few weeks ago. I couldn’t finish it, if you haven’t watched it I’ll spare you the nausea, but after the pigs on the processing line I had seen enough. If you don’t have the stomach to watch it here are the big take-aways; first, the film’s bias is in favor of veganism, and second, there is a lot of corruption in big food production.
My origin point for my health and fitness journey was food. I had become quite overweight through following the USDA food pyramid in high school and the beginning of college until one of my friends convinced me to try Primal, which I had amazing, although temporary, success with. So naturally I was interested in nutrition and what was the “right” thing to do. Since then I’ve dabbled in many different nutritional philosophies before finding the right balance for me in this phase of my life and training.
If you’ve had a similar journey you’ve heard camps on different sides of the nutrition and preventable disease spectrum blame sugar, fat, carbs, meat, dairy, environmental contaminants, GMO’s, etc. Which can leave you wondering, what then CAN I eat?
Well, as blog posts are by nature relatively short, I do not aim to tell anyone what specifically to eat. Rather, I hope to provide a starting point to do some research biased by your desire to be healthy. So here goes.
All reputable camps agree on some core principles, that are good rules of thumb. Although for many budgets and living situations 100% compliance may not be possible, moving closer toward these principles moves us toward better health.
First, eat things that were a part of a living ecosystem. This means things that were alive (or maybe still are) before you eat them.
Second, eat things that lived a good, natural life. If plants, this means they received appropriate sunlight from the sun, they lived in rich, nutrient dense soil, and received fresh, untreated water. If animals it means they could graze and roam freely, that they were treated with care and slaughtered in the most humane way possible, that their food sources were natural and appropriate for their species.
Third, eat foods in proportions and quantities appropriate for your height, age, weight, and activity level to create health and avoid disease.
If you move toward those principles you’ll notice it excludes foods that were chemically processed, or packaged, or produced with profit margins so high that the producer’s morality has likely been purchased long before the consumers’ goodwill could be a factor in decision making. You may also notice that it requires a level of mindfulness about what you’re eating, but beyond that, a level of research into the life your food led before it reached your plate.
If you are tempted to endure What the Health, or Supersize Me, or any of the other popularized films on food health and safety, do so. Watch and look past the biases for the nuggets of truth and wisdom. Then do some reading from camps on the opposition and see where the commonalities lie. Read Good Calories Bad Calories by Gary Taube, read The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Kieth, read the Omnivores Dilemma by Michael Pollan and read the books and references that these inquiries spur you toward. Know as much as you can and make the best decisions you can regarding your health and diet.