young woman smiling

A healthy diet starts with a deep breath

Just because Tic Toc has a million videos of random people making keto cakes, it doesn’t mean you have to eat them.

Diet is more entertainment than well-being these days. 

How about the ‘10 essential animal-free dishes you have to try this summer?’, ‘Best ever diet for six pack abs’, ‘Never eat this food again’. 

All great clickbait but garbage for the most part. 

I know for a fact that the six-pack diet doesn’t work.

Living in this modern world of social media influencers, bullshit artists, and peddlers of misinformation at every flick of the thumb is overwhelming.

At sustainably FED, when the doom scrolling and misinformation feeds get to us, we often take a massive step back into a quiet corner and take a deep breath. 

Try it.

That’s it, in through the nose and out with a sigh, making the out-breath longer than the in-breath — standard pranayama practice for calm.

Again, another deep, purposeful breath.

Young woman practicing yoga
Photo by Dane Wetton on Unsplash

So, your interest is a healthy diet? 

There are some fundamentals to deciding what a healthy diet is. 

Diet is about your metabolism, what foods your body handles best, what it finds difficult, and what it simply cannot deal with. 

Answers to these fundamentals are unique to you because each of us has a different metabolism and metabolic biome.

Remember, too, that your body is not just yours. 

In and on it live billions of microorganisms affected by what you choose to eat. Sometimes they rebel and give off gases that bloat your stomach. Other times they oblige to help with digestion.

This complex ecology that is unique to you has nothing to do with what the latest influencer is eating that particular day. What you choose to eat cannot be a decision to push for a paleo diet, a carbs only, or a green yuck juice three times a day. 

It must be about what is best for your unique ecosystem to operate efficiently.

Here efficiency means the ability of your body to absorb nutrients and energy sufficient for the maintenance and movement demands of your body without too much pressure on the cleaning systems for the blood, tissues and digestive tract, especially the liver and kidneys. 

A balance of inputs and outputs allows your unique metabolic engine to purr.

What your brain chemistry is up to also affects the balance in the engine. If what you eat has come from slave labour, a battery hen or released a massive volume of greenhouse gases in its production, and the issues implicit in these sources matter to you, your body will feel the effects. 

Our brains must also deal with the many stresses of everyday life. 

What we eat on a lazy Sunday afternoon with the sun sliding below the yardarm is not the same as our choice after the fifth Zoom call of the day.

A healthy diet is not just about what we eat but how we make food choices.

plate of food, mostly meat with a few colourful vegetables
Photo by Mantra Media on Unsplash

What sustainably FED suggests 

Deep purposeful breaths will calm the body. 

The ancients knew this trick and passed it down the ages. A slower heart rate, oxygen in the lungs, and a clearer head become a fine antidote to the Tic Toc chatter.

Do this before you overthink diet choices. 

What we are supposed to eat is controversial and passion can quickly overtake logic. More protein or less protein? Vegan or fish? Sugar from fruits? Low carb? OMAD? Ultra-processed but low carb and sugar-free?

It’s personal, confusing, and easy to make strange decisions based on the avalanche of misinformation from the protagonists for each option.

The skill is to stand back and take the blinkers off. Wide eyes allow for a broad look at diet and, from there, understand it for you and the world.

A simple rule of thumb would be colourful, unprocessed, primarily plants and food found close to the source.

The point of the pranayama lesson is to find the space to assess the essentials and discard the fluff. 

Peruvian nuts, anyone?


Hero image from photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

Mark

Mark is an ecology nerd who was cursed with an entrepreneurial gene and a big picture view making him a rare beast, uncomfortable in the ivory towers and the disconnected silos of the public service. Despite this he has made it through a 40+ year career as a scientist and for some unknown reason still likes to read scientific papers.

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