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Making Sense of Nutrition Advice

It’s a jungle out there.

No, I’m not talking about the “mean streets” or climbing the corporate ladder. I’m talking about the jungle of making food choices.

There are so many diets and food plans around that it is easy to be confused. Go into any book store (or look online) and you can find hundreds, if not thousands of dietary plans.

Each of those plans has helped someone. This is why the author published a book. But plans can be very different from one to the other.

You can find ideas ranging from hard-core vegetarian plans to diets telling you to eat only meat.

And it gets even more confusing when someone wants to manage a health problem. There are lists of foods to help migraines, bladder problems, heart problems, memory and diabetes.

Like I said, it’s a jungle out there.

It is clear from the variety of choices that there isn’t one “right” diet that fits every person. And it makes sense. We each have different fingerprints. And we look different. Of course we have unique food needs.

The hard part is figuring out those unique needs.

To help find your way through this food “jungle” here are some useful tips:

1) Listen to Your Body

For as long as humans have been around, our bodies have adapted. Without adapting, we die. Before we had modern research, our bodies knew what worked and what didn’t.

We have a wealth of knowledge in every cell. Tune in to that resource. Learn to tap that wisdom. It will be right every time.

2) Ignore Common Beliefs

When someone says, “Everyone knows…”, whatever follows is often taken as a fact. The problem is that there are only a few such facts that are true. You need to breathe. You need to drink water. If you step off a cliff you will fall. Everyone knows this.

But the facts about food are not so simple. Common beliefs about food might not apply to you.

For example, many people say eating meat is not healthy. But if all your ancestors were Eskimos, then genetically you are likely to need a large amount of heavy, solid protein. You can only get that kind of protein in meat.

In the same way, if your ancestors all came from the Mediterranean, then you will likely do better with more veggies and fruits.

3) Avoid the “Single Focus” Trap

The “Single Focus” Trap refers to putting focus on only one aspect of health.

An example is people who only eat foods to prevent a particular problem. They want to lower cholesterol. Or perhaps they want to avoid blood sugar problems.

There are two problems with this approach.

First, the same food can have opposite effects of different people. It’s like the saying, “One man’s meat is another man’s poison.”

Second, if you only focus on one aspect of health, you miss dozens of others. Do you think that could cause problems with other parts of your health? You bet it could!

A better approach is to pay attention to what your body tells you in response to what you eat. Here’s what to look for. Look for these signals within 1 to  2 hours after eating:

  1. Are you hungry already?
  2. Do you get tired or hyper?
  3. Does your pain level increase?
  4. Is your mental focus better or worse?
  5. Is your emotional state better or worse?

If any of these are worse in the couple of hours after a meal, then your body is telling you something. I recommend paying attention. If you do, you’ll be well on the way to finding your way through the nutritional jungle.

All the best to you for your health and happiness,

Any ideas?


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