Common Sense Nutrition Part 2
In part 1 I stated that nutrition is simple and that as human beings we know how to do it. I talked about the importance of using your own common sense and intuition, of daring to experiment and of trusting your own experience.
With all that in mind, let me now ask you very directly: What should we eat in order to maintain ideal health and fertility? Try to keep it simple and to the obvious.
That sounds so obvious, yet in this day and age it’s actually something quite rare, because most people live more on edible food products than on real food.
We can get so focused on calories that we make really poor food choices. We choose artificially sweetened foods over foods containing natural sugar. We choose low fat over whole fat. We prefer carbohydrates over proteins and fats. We drink lots of black coffee or smoke in order to suppress our appetite. Or we simply have 2 pieces of cake and nothing else in a whole day (been there, done that).
However, food is much more than just calories or fuel. Food is information that talks to our cells. The idea that all calories are equal is simply outdated science. A calorie from a coke is very different from a calorie from butter or from a carrot. Foods high in sugar or artificial sweeteners trigger certain hormonal releases that not only wrack havoc on your health in the long term, but also increase your body’s tendency to store fat and to not build muscle. Your black coffee with 0 calories might thus end up completely high-jacking your metabolism. Whereas foods high in fat and calories might actually help balance and boost your metabolism and even increase your fat burning capacity.
So when it comes to food, the first advice – and we have to do first things first – for ideal health, weight and fertility is to eat real food as it grows in nature and could be found on a farm, and to drop industrially processed foods, incl. industrially processed “bio” foods. This is where I see 80% of all the action when it comes to healthy and fertility-enhancing nutrition: Eating Real Food and eating it in variation, without excluding whole food categories.
What’s the difference between Real Food and edible food products?
It’s as simple as looking at each and every food category and choosing the most natural foods from each. What follows are some example:
- Real fruits and vegetables as opposed to juices, canned or powdered ones.
- Real whole, raw milk and cheese as opposed to their low fat and (ultra) pasteurized variants.
- Real, natural, whole fat yogurt as opposed to low fat, aspartame sweetened fruit yogurts.
- Real, whole grains and bread made in a traditional way, like real sourdough bread as opposed to refined white bread with a list of 20 ingredients that is never even touched by a baker.
- Real butter as opposed to margarine made from cheap vegetable oils
- Real grass-fed meat and poultry as opposed to their factory-farmed counterparts or soy-meat alternatives.
- Real cuts of meat as opposed to highly processed meat products.
- Real fruit, real honey and dark chocolate as nature’s candy as opposed to refined sugar, artificial sweeteners and all that artificially colored candy.
You get the idea.
In order to distinguish a real food from a food product, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does it have ingredients or is it the ingredient?
- Does it have more than 5 ingredients?
- Are the ingredients unpronounceable?
- Would your grand-grandmother recognize the food?
- Is it grown in nature? Or does it come from a laboratory or factory ?
- Is it grown grown with pesticides, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), unnecessary medication (such as antibiotics), artificial additives or hormones?
- If there was no supermarket system, could you grow it yourself or buy it from your neighbor who grows it?
- Could you produce it in your own kitchen?
If now you are wondering how to survive without all those processed food products you’ve probably grown up with, just remember that supermarkets have been around for a relative short amount of time, and that people before were all more or less living on real foods. So it’s much more in our genes and in our nature than going to the supermarket and buying everything in packages or in cans. Of course it’s not about going backwards and only eating foods that were available to us in the Stone Age. It’s more about being aware of and respect our physiology as human beings and the foods that it evolved on and thus the needs it has for ideal well-being and health.