Saturday, July 21, 2012

what is "healthy food"?

a brief history:  i started to be interested in and research healthy food in college.  at the time i followed the typical american advice of low-fat/low calorie, whole grains, little meat, lots of fruits/veggies.  i ate and prepared food this way through our first year of marriage.
'20120506_1262 Ecology Healthy Foods' photo (c) 2012, Edward Kimmel - license:

a couple years ago, i did a total 180 to a more "traditional foods" approach to eating, as i describe here, thinking i had found the "perfect" diet (diet meaning an eating lifestyle, not a way to lose weight). while i have done some fine tuning on small things, since then we generally eat a diet that is balanced with fat/protein/carbs, and prepared mostly from scratch using traditional methods (such as sourdough, etc).  currently (and for the past 3 months) i am gluten and dairy free, which i don't view as inherently more healthy that life with gluten and dairy (and i haven't "felt" better/healthier because of it), but just for the health of my daughter (who is reacting to those things through my milk, which suggests i have a leaky gut.  yet another nutritional problem to figure out.  blah.).

but for the past year or so, i have come across SO much conflicting information in the area of food.  to give several examples: in the past i had demonized white sugar, but now some health researchers think it (along with other refined carbohydrates) might be helpful in raising metabolism and thyroid function, as well as keeping hormones balanced. also, i had previously heard that it is important to eat all leafy greens raw to get the maximum nutrition, but have since then found out that leafy greens contain a lot of anti-nutrients (such as oxalic acid, which contributes to things like kidney stones) and compounds that encourage hypothyroidism (did those kale salads i ate while pregnant cause esther's CH??).

reading this post was a relief.  i am not alone in my confusion! (i recommend reading it if you want a nice long list of conflicting nutritional advice with sources).

but in the midst of my confusion and even frustration to figure out what is healthy, God has been working, retooling my heart.  he has shown me how much of an idol healthy eating is.  he has shown me how much i judge others for not eating by my (arbitrary) standard of healthy (ironically those i judge might be eating better than me, but i don't know it because of all the conflicting info).  and over all, reminding me that the earth is not my home, and that he alone knows everything, including what constitutes healthy (and i'm sure its pretty different from my list).

so for now, my goal is to prepare what i currently think is most healthy for my family, and to try to sort through the conflicting advice about the foods that we eat the most.  but i feel much more flexibility in this, since no one seems to know what constitutes healthy any ways.

that's how i feel right now- but that could change in a month :P

where are you at in your nutritional journey?  what have you changed over the years?  what areas do you feel most confused about?

No comments:

Post a Comment