Three Simple Keys To Overcome The Health Confusion
Every day we are bombarded with a myriad of health information from every corner of the internet, and often these claims can be contradictory. Is Paleo good or bad? What exactly is gluten, and is it a problem for you? Is organic better for you or not? Vegetarian or no? Since anyone can start a blog these days, are the people publishing and spreading this stuff even legit, or are they just laypeople with opinions not based on real science? What's their agenda, to help you, or sell you something? Even the USDA has changed its diet recommendations over the years (four food groups >> Food Pyramid >> MyPlate).
Meanwhile in the real world, all this information has done little to actually lessen the obesity epidemic that continues to worsen. The only real question that needs answering is what can you do individually to improve and sustain your long-term? The good part of all the conflicting information is that there is some consistency about what is good for you - eat a variety of fruits and vegetables (without too many additives, like sugar, cream, etc...), and avoid processed food - something you probably knew anyway. Beyond that there is no quick fix or one-size-fits-all solution, but there are a few things we can all do to optimize our diets for sustainable, long-term health.
- Listen to your health professional - whether it's your doctor, registered dietitian, or personal trainer, this person will have your best interests in mind when making recommendations. In addition to knowing your goals, limitations, and progress, health professionals also have a level of expertise from years of education and training which allows them to see past the trendy fad diets and quick fixes that can be appealing (but ultimately not useful) to the rest of us.
- Listen to your body - In addition to the above, how you feel is a great indicator of whether or not certain foods are nourishing to you. If it makes you feel heavy and lethargic, you should probably avoid it. If it hurts your stomach, ditto. Dairy is a good example. For those who are lactose intolerant, dairy products can cause all kinds of problems. For those who can tolerate it, dairy can be an important source of protein and other nutrients. Don't be afraid to experiment a little with certain foods to see how you feel - in conjunction with a health professional, this can be a great way to figure out what works best for you, especially if a particular way of eating helps you see results.
- Live a little - A big part of our philosophy is the 80/20 rule, which states that as long as the majority of your food intake (80% or so) is focused on nutritious foods that help you reach/maintain good health, you can "cheat" every now and then. A couple slices of pizza per week won't derail you and can actually help maintain sanity and good eating habits long-term, as long as you limit these indulgences.