What on Earth should you eat? Zero-waste expert Alexx Stuart shares all
It’s all so simple, they said: eat whole foods. Sure, all right, then, but then you’ve got one mob telling you that you can’t eat dairy, that mob over there saying too much fruit is no good, those ones saying if you eat meat you’re killing not just the animals but the planet as well, those peeps saying you shouldn’t eat breakfast, and others saying without breakfast you’re not setting your blood sugar up for a good day. Argh! Right?
Well, this month I want to share a few truths I’ve learnt, both from getting caught up in the hype of the noise out there a few times myself and also growing as a critical thinker who is now very aware, very questioning and simultaneously very relaxed about food.
The truth is inside you, not “out there”
Your body will tell you what it needs if you quiet the noise enough. And, no, I’m not talking about eating the hot chips if it tells you to. More thinking, “Hmmm, salty potato is my thing. I always need salty starchy foods. What could that be? Do my adrenals need some love?” I mean that kind of listening.
There will always be people out to “commoditise” health, label a protocol and create “the answer”; these things allow brand building and money making. Be wary of what’s out there and always make yourself your “number one” health adviser. Ask, “How do I feel when I eat this food?” or “Eat this way or that?” and act according to your truth, not someone else’s.
Your body will tell you what it needs if you quiet the noise enough.
There are protocols that work for some but not all, and protocols that will work for a specific time in your life. So, while no one way of eating is perfect for everyone, and while a certain way might not work for you at all now, various protocols can be extremely helpful if you face a chronic condition or autoimmune disease at some point. There might also come a time when it doesn’t serve you any more. So remember: what works for you for now might not always work for you. And so we’re back where we started: listen to yourself.
Genetically, some people just don’t work with some foods. It’s why one man’s glass-of-milk heaven is another man’s endless flatulent embarrassment and bloating. While a lot can be done to heal guts and expand your food mix, sometimes something just won’t be your ideal food — and that’s OK. Again, it’s about listening to yourself.
A few guidelines
Not all meat consumption is harmful to the planet; however, if you want to be a conscious omnivore, there are a few things you need to know. Seek out regenerative farmers to buy from or a butcher shop that sources from regenerative farmers. Regenerative farming is based on the principle that you leave the soil in better shape than when you started with it, and that you sequester more carbon than you produce. So, while hideous factory farming is absolutely to blame as a major player in carbon emissions contribution on a global scale, your little regenerative farmer is doing their bit to make the planet healthier.
When it comes to meat, shop organic and pasture-fed so you avoid the possibility of genetically modified grains being fed to the chickens and pigs, and grass-fed and -finished for lamb and beef. Also, eat less meat overall. Half the meat, double the veg tends to stand most people’s health in good stead, while also lightening the load on the planet and the animals, and allowing us to trade up to better ethical and sustainable sources.
Sugar is definitely an example of the dose making the poison (in contrast to hormone-disruptive chemicals where the opposite can be true). There’s nothing wrong (for most people, practitioner advice aside) with having a couple of pieces of fruit in the day and a serving of a nice homemade custard or slice or a couple of squares of dark chocolate daily.
The issue with sugar is the pervasive nature of it through our shopping trolleys. It’s in the BBQ sauce, the muesli, the fruit juice, the crackers, the dips … sugar is added everywhere. So, rather than panic about it being an absolute evil, just get aware, get out of the land of overdoing it and rein in consumption overall by being in the know about where it is and which brands omit it or have a lower sugar content.
Remember, if you are buying processed food, the front of a label tells you a bunch of empty, eye-catching “feel good” promises, but the ingredient list tells you the truth. No exceptions. Eye it like a hawk and think all the time: less products, more produce.
Vegetables are an endless source of health. Have them raw, have them cooked, have them aplenty every day, regardless of what diet you follow.
Organics aren’t an expensive sham. There is undeniable evidence now, from the likes of Professor Michael Antoniou’s study on low-level herbicide exposure and kidney and liver damage, to suggest that, while the nutrient values might be similar between conventional and organic produce, what organic produce misses is things our bodies don’t miss one bit. In fact, our bodies don’t understand those pesticides at all and those synthetic chemicals can interfere with our hormone signalling and detox pathways.
So there you have it: a few things to help you be a conscious peep in the kitchen.
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