Nutrition is a challenging subject and not only because the science is so vast and complex. There are a lot of diets and theories, each with strong advocates and defenders!
There seems to be three time periods in human dietary history –
– When everyone ate as their ancestors did. Food fresh with the seasons or preserved by fermenting or drying, and following a culinary tradition.
– When food production became industrialized and new foods and diets were created to suit massive agricultural production of grain, oilseed and meat and “diet dictocrats” used the power of mainstream media to convince whole populations to change from healthy traditional foods to processed, packaged and otherwise manufactured and de-vitalized new diets.
– The present time, when more and more people are realizing they’ve been lied to by experts and are voting with their money for change. By returning to first principles; supporting fresh, local and wholesome food, by spending enjoyable and creative time in the kitchen and by making ethical and sustainable choices to find a way through the deep problems in our food chain.
It’s natural that human society has sought to secure the food supply. That’s why we began cultivating grain and found bounty in the harvest; why we kept herds of animals and cultured curds and cheeses. We saved seed for the next planting, breeding animals were precious possessions and we only traded in times of surplus or dire need.
Our civilization has long since passed from survival to sufficiency. Mechanization and the systematic transfer of traditional land to those who control money and law has opened vast tracts of land to industrial farming. This can’t be justified in the cause of “feeding the starving world” because famines originate in this very control of traditional lands. The energy dense, nutrient poor harvest has now brought famine to the industrialized world as well and we have a further level of industry convincing people to eat this food by adding a perfect blend of salt, sugar and fat and by attractively packaging and advertising it.
The growing awareness of the nutritional cause of disability and disease is creating a quiet revolution in food including new diets, from paleo to vegan. Changing to a new diet often brings a sense of wellbeing, especially through awareness of high quality nutrient dense foods and the joy that grows out of a functional kitchen.
New diets aren’t always perfect however, especially with regard to our individual constitution. Problems with an unsuitable diet sneak in slowly and quietly. Depletion and imbalances may take months or years to manifest as health problems. If you love your diet and its congruent with your lifestyle and philosophy it may be quite a while before you take a good hard look at it.
The advice here is intended to help you assess your chosen diet so you can understand its two most important aspects: its nutritional content and its metabolic effect.
Two ways to assess a food and a diet are;
- Does it provide ample amounts of all required nutrients in a form which maximizes digestive efficiency while minimizing unnecessary or toxic elements?
- What is the metabolic effect of the meal/ diet?
The first part is basic nutrition, the second is the powerful controller of our metabolism.