The Diet Wars

Escaping peacefully with a simple nutritional framework

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Photo: Minilab (Shutterstock)

Nutrition evokes emotions, so deep-seated that our conscious decision-making is rendered virtually powerless.

Yet, we are constantly reminded of the importance of nutrition in our health — to the point that if we are experiencing some minor symptom or inconvenience, we immediately search for what we have eaten or not eaten that may be the culprit.

My nutritional framework

This is a work in process, a continual drive for “the truth” which I am fully aware I will never attain. However, my curiosity and love of physiology keep me looking, while I strive to remain neutral and open.

Food is for sharing

Eating alone is a new phenomenon. I would posit that our ancestors would consider this behavior most odd. Eating was coming together, whether breaking from physical labor or at the family table. Snacking was unheard of. Our quest for instant gratification, epitomized by the use of social media, seems to be fueling our social isolation. I have many times tried unsuccessfully to savior a meal on my own without checking my phone. It takes enormous willpower — which I prefer to save for other aspects of my life.

Food quality — taking back control

We no longer recognize food as from the earth.

Another mantra is that of “whole food.” Heard throughout the isles of organic grocery- and bulk food stores, this phrase conjures up images of earth mothers carefully collecting eggs from loved and happy poultry. It adds the feel-good aspect that we are in fact not taking from the earth but contributing.

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Photo: RetroClipArt (Shutterstock)

Let’s get satisfied

I lived and continually struggled through the advice of the 1980s and 1990s: eat six small meals a day, never allow yourself to get hungry for fear of cortisol, and always stop eating before you are full. This dietary approach was a continual drain on self-control caused by the requirement to limit food, inevitably accompanied by counting the hours and minutes until the next snack (usually ½ a protein bar) could be fitfully consumed.

Conclusion

Instead of focusing on macros, anti-oxidant and vitamin content, let us focus on taking time to nourish ourselves with real food, surrounded by loved ones and eat until we say enough.

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Photo: Courtesy of Author Cindy de Villiers

Bibliography

1. Hämmig, O. Health risks associated with social isolation in general and in young, middle and old age. PloS one 14, e0219663-e0219663 (2019).

Practicing Functional MD developing a diagnostic and treatment online platform, incorporating wearables and AI. Always questioning.

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