MY FOOD PHILOSOPHY
When I decided to start this blog, I wanted it to be a place where I could share recipes, things I learn in grad school, as well as my own food journey. These days there are a million food blogs with varying messages about food and nutrition, each espousing what they believe to be the truth. It can make it difficult to know who to believe or which way of eating to follow – nutrition is already a complex topic that is so enmeshed in our everyday lives that it can get complicated quickly. That’s why I’m writing this post, to be clear and upfront about where I’m coming from when it comes to nutrition. So here are 6 things I believe about food, our bodies, and nutrition based on my education and experience thus far:
- It’s science! The science of nutrition is so, so important. I read claims about this or that food or some new diet every day and I’m always waiting for the link to a legit, peer-reviewed study… and it’s rarely there. I want to be honest and let you know that I do not have all the answers – I’m not a dietitian yet and I am definitely in the beginning stages of my learning. Because of this, I promise not to make claims about things unless I have actually researched them and can provide you with peer-reviewed studies backing up what I say!
- Focus on the positives about food, not on the negatives. I see it all the time on instagram, pinterest, facebook, etc., this antagonistic view of food as the enemy instead of something that powers our bodies and makes us feel good. Your body needs the fat, carbs, vitamins, minerals, proteins that food can provide. The trick is to find the foods that give you a wholesome, balanced diet and make you feel full, energized, and well overall.
- Shame-based food ideologies have no place here. I believe that everyone is in a different place in their food journey and that many of us have complex, emotional relationships with food that can affect us not only physically, but psychologically as well. Shame should never be a way to influence people to eat a certain way. This is why you will never hear me use phrases like “clean eating” or “guilt free” because I think it sets up a false dichotomy clean vs. dirty foods with an air of moral superiority. Yes, there are definitely foods that have scientifically-proven benefits and some that have been proven to have negative (even detrimental) effects on the body. But when we associate guilt and shame with eating, we move further away from the joy and freedom that comes with eating in a way that empowers your body and makes you feel good! This leads me to my next point…
- Every body is different, so the way we eat looks different, too. Again, there are definitely overarching principles based on scientific evidence about the things that our bodies need to survive and to thrive. We need certain vitamins, certain macronutrients, etc. But this can play out in different ways for different people and there’s no reason to look down on others or feel a need to compete with them because they choose to eat differently than you. Health is my main focus, and there are a platitude of ways to achieve it.
- It’s about thriving, not just surviving. Whenever I read comments on nutrition articles, there are always a few people who make the argument that we are all going to die anyway, so why not eat whatever we want because it tastes good – our bodies are just temporary, they say, so why do we need to care for them? My answer to this is simple: I want you to thrive, not just survive. I want you to be free from preventable disease. I want you to be strong and healthy. I want you to have good gut health and strong bones & joints and low blood cholesterol. I don’t just want you to live a long life – I want you to live a long, strong, healthy, full, happy life. And I think nutrition is a huge part of that.
- What we eat matters. Maybe it seems obvious that I believe this, but I want to tell you why I think this is true. Food is fuel. Food is culture. Food is sustenance. Food is celebration. Food is community. Food links us to each other – to the farmers who grew our food and harvested it, to the people who own the grocery store where we bought it, to the person who cooked it in the kitchen, to the person sitting next to us at the table when we eat it. The food you eat dictates so much about the life you live.