There are constant dietary contradictions among the media, scientists, and nutritionists. We hear that bread is bad and then that our bodies need carbs. Meat and animal products are not good for us, but vegans are lacking essential nutrients and vitamins. That going into ‘starvation mode’ is not healthy but ketosis (aka. ‘starvation mode’) can have many health benefits. That coffee is linked to anxiety and depression but increases your lifespan? It’s crazy how contradictory dietary advice can be, and I have struggled to find a cohesive answer to my simple question of what I should and shouldn’t eat.
Here are the things that everyone seems to agree upon:
- Drink water throughout the day (when you wake up and before you eat/exercise etc.).
- Eat whole, unprocessed foods.
[bf_image id="jwwz2r9pfx8vw7c6w4f8c7g5"] Here is some of the contradictory info that I have come across over the years:
What Food Groups to Eat
The traditional “My Plate” food pyramid has been questioned numerous times by health fanatics and dietitians. Some dietitians claim that carbohydrates are necessary for the functioning of the body. Other scientists claim that carbohydrates are entirely unnecessary for the functioning of the human body and that we in fact function much more efficiently without carbs, running entirely off of ketones.*
Along with ratios of food groups, the best source of food is also controversial. Some scientists claim that humans are natural omnivores and are not meant to process animal products. Others say that we have adapted to eat meat and need it for efficient nutrient absorption such as iron.
When to Eat
Similar to the food pyramid, the “three meals a day” spiel has been questioned and seems to be based upon routine rather than health benefits (a.k.a. you won’t die if you don’t eat breakfast). Some nutritionists claim that eating three meals a day is ideal, while others say that eating smaller meals more frequently is better. Some of the newer research claims that intermittent fasting is totally natural for the human body and boosts brain and immune function.
So here is my opinion: eat when you’re hungry and eat foods that make you feel energized and healthy!
Try cutting a food group out of your diet for a while and see how your body reacts. Everyone’s body is different, and everyone will have a different diet that is optimal for their body. If you feel gross whenever you eat meat, try cutting back on meat for a week and see if you like it. Everything in moderation is usually a good rule to use. If you love steak, eat steak… just maybe not every night. If you hate meat and never want to eat it, that’s okay too as long as you feel energized and healthy.
Throughout the years I have recognized what works for me. I don’t drink milk or eat much dairy because I find that it increases my acne, and I don’t eat a ton of red meat. I drink black coffee every morning and put chia seeds in my water. I also like sugar and eat dark chocolate just about every day. I like occasionally doing 16:8 hour periods of intermittent fasting. I have never been a breakfast person and it’s hard for me to eat in the morning, so having an 8-hour eating window during the day works for me and helps with my energy and focus. There is no correct way to be healthy as long as you are conscientious and listen to your body. Do what feels good for you!
[bf_image id="q5belx-7bi054-1hasnh"] *ketones: a natural energy source created from fats through a process called ketogenesis.
Our bodies will use glucose as an energy source when readily available. If stored glucose (glycogen) is used up, our bodies break down the adipose tissue (fat) to use as an energy source until glucose becomes available again.