I’ve spent the last 45 minutes googling, scanning twitter, and staring at the nutrition books on my shelves. I want to write more substantive posts, and I was looking for inspiration. (Sidenote-I’ve learned so many cool things about physiology and the body that I’d love to go into!)
I kept drawing a blank. I thought about the government’s idea of good nutrition versus twitter’s versus my own. What is good nutrition? That’s such a loaded phrase. I’ve read so many nutrition books over the years, I’ve watched detailed metabolism lectures, I’ve gotten advice from various people. I’ve tried everything, I’ve gotten different results, I’ve felt better or worse. I also admit that I tend to think ‘good nutrition’ can fix anything in respect to my own health, even though I know that that is not scientifically rational (although it can play a big role in a lot of things).
I’ve gathered so much knowledge and so many ideas. But I’ve never really drawn together a formal outline of what this means to me.
And honestly, as I’ve been sick these past few weeks, this is something I have to revisit. When I’m feeling gross, I have to wonder-what did I eat? Why is it having this effect?
It’s forcing me to slow down and THINK.
When talking about the definition of good nutrition, we first must consider the audience. Is it the general, highly overweight American population? Is it the marathon runner? The average healthy living blogger?
I’m going to say my beliefs are valid for anyone, but different for everyone. This may sound contradictory, but hear me out. Everyone is unique in what their bodies will need and run best on-this is insanely apparent to me as someone who used to eat yogurt every day and function amazingly on it and now can’t drink a glass of milk without getting sick.
That being said, I think there are some IMPORTANT overarching concepts that can be generalized to the human body as a whole.
So what do I consider “good nutrition”?
1. Lots of fresh fruit and veggies. I think the scientific reasons for this are well proven, and no one will argues that he or she doesn’t feel better when loading up on fresh produce.
2. Minimally processed food. I firmly believe that a lot of the processing done to food has lead to the obesity problems today. Our bodies evolved to process nutrients a certain way, and the rate at which food has changed is much faster than we physiologically can evolve to adapt. That being said, I really don’t think we can say that “eating like our ancestors” is better solely for the reason that they were “healthier.” I’m not sure there is sufficient proof of that, and even so, there are so many other differences in lifestyle that I don’t think the two are comparable. From a hormonal and physiological perspective however, I think minimally processed food is the way to go. THAT BEING SAID-I’m not sure how practical it is with the American lifestyle today to avoid processed food. It’s so ingrained in our culture and social life, but that’s a whole other discussion for another day. But in a vacuum, only looking at nutritional content, minimally processed food is the way to go.
3. Fueling pre- and post- workout. I don’t if it’s just in my old age or what, but if I don’t eat anything before Crossfit, or if I don’t refuel, I feel like I’m going to pass out! Fueling workouts before and after is so, so important! Carbs before, protein and carbs after-as soon as possible after! The difference I feel when I have plenty of post-workout food is incredible!
4. Avoid sugar. This is both a touchy subject and one I’m incredibly passionate about. Sugar metabolism is actually my favorite thing ever (although I’m a little rusty on it right now), and the effects are significant-especially the changes in hunger hormones! I truly believe that sugar plays a big role in obesity and is highly addictive. But again, I’m not sure how realistic it is to cut it out. But purely nutritionally speaking, it is doing some damage!
It’s interesting that all these years later, these are the things that have stuck with me. My view on nutritional has changed a lot over the years, and I’m sure it will continue to evolve.
I think my fundamental principles of nutrition are something to really keep in mind for me when blogging in the future. They were more present a year ago when I was taking a nutrition class, but in the middle of other things in my life, it’s really easy to just throw a post up with some pictures without really thinking about how they reflect my own principles. I think that it’s something that tends to get away from me, and part of holding on to these standards is that they help me maintain my passion for nutrition. Because I am no longer planning on having a career in nutrition, it is important for me that my blog stays true to itself and what I originally started it for.
What is “good nutrition” to you?