How did eating get so complicated? “Do I eat raw, vegan, vegetarian, omnivore, paleo, Atkins, ketogenic? Organic vs commercial? Farmers market or supermarket? What about gluten, dairy, soy, corn? What about GMOs? What is the best diet for me? What is good for the planet? Arrggg – it’s all too hard – I’ll just tuck into a pint of Ben and Jerry’s.”

It really doesn’t have to be this hard, if we just sit back, take a deep breath and use some common sense. Humans have been eating plants and animals for as long as we have been human. Sure, we all had different versions of what we were eating, depending on what continent we lived on and where we lived on that continent, but it was pretty simple. I’m not saying that hunting and gathering or early agriculture was easy, but I am saying it was simple.

Modern eating can feel complicated because we are presented with so many choices, and because we have so many experts telling us what do. I get it why so many people feel confused and overwhelmed.

Before you go down one rabbit hole or another of the latest diet trend, start with the basics: Eat Real Food. The fact that I have to use the word “real” reflects one of the modern food problems – we have lost touch with what is real food. Years ago my brother was looking around my kitchen and asked “how do you know how to cook any of this – nothing has labels or instructions on it?!”.

Real Food is unpackaged, or minimally packaged, and generally has no instructions. Fresh vegetable, dried beans, fresh or cultured dairy products, meat, chicken, fish, tempeh, fresh fruit, nuts. For those that do have packages and labels, there is one ingredient in it. Brown rice. Olive oil. Butter.

From there – yes there are a myriad of questions to consider. But honestly, if your current food approach includes a lot of packaged food (and yes this includes all the “health food” brands)- canned soups, bottled salad dressings, frozen dinners, boxed breakfast cereals, “snack foods” – and/or you eat out for more than 20% of your meals, I recommend you wean yourself off of all versions of processed food first and start cooking at home more often.

Don’t over complicate food. And, if it still feels complicated, or you need help sorting out deeper lines of inquiry around nutrition, we are here to help. We love helping people re-discover real food.

Kirstin Lindquist, L.Ac.

 

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