The rules of food… “don’t eat that!” “eat this in the morning only” “that food will give you gas” “this food is a fat burning food”… are anecdotal. And that, my friends, is the punchline of this article; there are no “rules” of food. No food police that will bust you if you break them.
BUT eating patterns and food choice CAN make a profound difference on your quality of life.
Food is necessary for survival and for enhancing our health and well-being. Beyond that, eating food is as individual as the clothes you wear. Like clothes, there are trends to food, research to guide best fit and comfort for the activity of its use, but in the end you choose what to wear and you choose what to eat.
Do you follow food rules? Who sets those rules for you? The media, a doctor, a dietitian?
I wouldn’t be the first to admit that the nutrition and health research and advice out there is confusing at best. I also know how nice it is to have a plan to follow- where to start? So I encourage you to seek out as much knowledge and experience as you can to set your own personal guide to food.
The knowledge is simple enough. I recommend to:
- Read about food
- Not just one article or one book, but several- and ideally from both sides of an argument- with a critical eye. “This article tells me that eggs are good for me, is there any evidence out there that says they are not? And why do they say they are good, or bad, and is it relevant to my lifestyle and my needs?”
- Talk and ask questions
- With experts in the field of health and nutrition, as well as with friends, family, and acquaintance. What do they believe, why do they believe that, where do they get their information, what are their specific experiences?
The experience is simply stated, but often much more of a journey:
- Eat food! Yes, you have been doing this your whole life, and you will do it today, and tomorrow… so think…
- How and what did I eat as a kid, an adolescent, various stages as an adult? How did it make me feel? What will I have at my next meal and why?
Play around with food based on the knowledge you have been collecting and the experiences you have thus far to see what works for you
- (EXAMPLE) “My energy has been low lately… I have read several studies saying that coffee can be addictive and mess with blood sugar, plus I had a cousin who quite drinking coffee and says he now has a lot more energy in the day. Maybe I will stop drinking coffee for a week and see how I feel.”
- (EXAMPLE) “I love running, but I used to avoid running in the evenings because I would get stomach pains and bloating. I didn’t know why and it was really annoying. I started asking my runner friends who all agreed that it might be food related. By trying various food choices for lunches and afternoon snacks, I have found that I need to avoid meats, apples and raw vegetables for at least four hours before I want to run.”
- (EXAMPLE) “Whenever I used to eat spaghetti with tomato sauce I would get sores on the roof of my mouth. I had heard from my doctor that tomatoes are very acidic and could be the reason for my mouth sores. I avoided the tomato sauce the next time we had spaghetti and I did not get sores!”
The eating patterns and food choices you make will determine your energy, performance, and mood. So take the journey to figure out the best fit FOR YOU.