when I refer to "diet" I am referring to a way of life, not a weight loss plan.

I'm DONE reading books about food. 

I started several months ago with one book. It wasn't recommended to me I just wanted to begin an approach to health that wasn't necessarily about shunning food, but understanding it and the role it plays in my overall wellness. I've read so many articles and heard so many opinions...I didn't want to just jump on the next trend.  I was looking for something more than just stories passed from one person to the next in a very elaborate and unreliable game of telephone.

The first book started off well enough. Authored by a lauded physician with credits a mile long. It was chock full of the clinical, scientific data I loved, but was it really the full story? I mean, I know what it's like in a research lab...there's a lot of data that comes out of any study and scientist are known to use what supports their position. I had no reason to be skeptical...except I was.

The following book was the exact opposite. Even spending some time refuting information in the first book. It encouraged a diet based on the foods cavemen ate. It made a lot of sense and the simplicity of the message was compelling to me...but whenever anyone advocates an all or nothing approach to food...well, the jury was still out. That was until it dropped the bombshell "beans are bad." HUH? Well, my mom is a Latina as was her mother before her as was my great grandmother a proud Mayan Indian. Beans are our thing. But, the book was good and I wasn't ready to fling the baby out with the bathwater. I had to be open to the idea that maybe something I thought was good really wasn't.

The next book I read was in complete or at least semi opposition to the two before and I remained on that train over the course of the next ten books. Back and forth with some overlap, some agreement, some disagreement. I was incredibly confused...what's good for me, what's bad for me, What do you mean the "organic" label means nothing and "cage free" doesn't really mean cage free? UGH!!!!!

I was beginning to feel a little crazy and helpless. Vegan, Paleo, Raw, No Gluten, Autoimmune, Vegetarian, Pescetarian, Flexitarian, Real Food. I'm sure there's more I've never even heard of. Should I just throw them all in a hat and draw one out and stick with it. Living off the land like a caveman isn't practical...not to mention the centuries of evolution separating us. Moving to a farm and raising my own shit might happen one day, but not today. Going to the farmer's market and spending 35 bucks on 2 pounds of local grass fed beef and uncured bacon does not fit my budget.

What I gleaned from my literary journey this past year is that everyone just does what he or she thinks is right. You can find a study, in some cases, lots of studies to support just about any idea. Gwyneth Paltrow does not hold the monopoly on health or achieving health. Data is highly subjective and highly prone to manipulation. I won't die if I don't juice or own a Vitamix. Corporations don't care about health they care about money...but so does everybody. If it comes in a box or a bag it's probably not great. Water is precious. A chicken mcnugget won't kill you....but a lot of them...who knows. Stress will most definitely kill you. The body is a most extraordinary vessel. Trust it for the truth for it will not lie to you. Don't eat the foods that make you feel like crap. Do eat the foods that make you feel awesome. I think that any of the aforementioned diets can produce happy healthy people. Good overall health means a lot more than fitting into skinny jeans...but skinny jeans can still be a part of it;)

In case you're interested here are some of the books I read...

The China Study, Eat the Yolks, The Omnivores Dilemma, In Defense of Food,
Animal, Vegetable, Mineral, Fast Food Nation, Real Food  etc.

In a follow-up to this post I will share more specifically how I eat and the changes I've made that have had some pretty positive results. None of the books I read addressed diet in terms of weight loss.  I'm still really figuring things out and have developed a true love and affinity for cooking. I thought this article kinda summed up how i feel about all of this.


Lisa said...

I think making basic good decisions is the key...anything fried is bad...things in a box are bad...a lot of sugar is bad...but balanced meals in good proportions is the key. I recently heard a lecture from a women who wrote "I Quit Sugar" and she said some mind blowing things...like you need a little fat with your veggies to absorb the vitamins...so put butter on your veggies. Anything low fat is bad...they just add sugar...sourdough bread is better than whole wheat...some very contradictory things. I know that Trophy cupcake is not good for me but it sure tastes good.

Kelly said...

i tend to think that anything mark bittman or michael pollan have to say about food is worth listening to. i haven't read vb6 but it is on my list. i am interested to read your follow up post…there is so much conflicting information it is nice to read about a real person's experience. :)