Diet - the sum of food one eats. The word is now commonly used to discuss the type of food one eats, we are surrounded by a plethora of diets - ranging from raw vegan to paleo, we commonly apply a diet "label" to ourselves. We are always "going on diets" or "trying this diet" or buying into a "celebrity diet" - little did we know we are simply "eating what the marketing is telling us". Yes, I AM looking at you too Paleo Diet, whilst it is a diet that at least talks about eating real food, it too has fallen into the marketing ploys.
Every day we are bombarded with what we should and shouldn't eat, study after study demonising certain foods or hypothesising how past humans ate or should eat. For the average consumer, all this does is add noise and confusion as to what we should eat, and whether one should be an -arian, -vore or acronym-named dieter.
One thing is for certain, whilst physiologically we are very similar, the diversity of our heritage, and the impacts of the modern world have led to our digestive systems being not 100% happy with the food on our plate. Each of us have unique dispositions to certain foods, some work for us and others don't. Some of us (like me) are unfortunately allergic to certain foods, and others intolerant.
My view on diet is this, we should eat real food (that means food that is grown in soil without toxic chemicals and pesticides AND not heavily processed) and we should eat what works for our body. Identifying the foods that help us thrive is the true "diet", listening to your body and how it responds to certain foods allows us to design a daily menu that is uniquely for you. This is a real diet - as in the sum of what one eats. It isn't attached to dogma, or powerful agribusiness advertising. So, when someone asks you, "what diet are you on?", don't go for your normal response of vegan/vegetarian/paleo/pescatarian/carnivore/HCLF/GAPS/FODMAPS etc etc, go for, "the one that works for me!"
As an aside: In listening to your body there are three key questions to ask yourself:
- What signs (body response/symptom) is my body giving me?
- What do those signs mean?
- What do I do about these signs?
I would love to give you all the answers to this in one single blog post, but as you may imagine, this is an individual journey. All good things take time. You can start by having a good long think about what signs your body may be giving you, and the rest will flow from there.