We’re in an age of quick fixes, convenience and over-thinking even the simplest of things. This commercialisation culture is affecting us in many aspects of our lives and exercise and diet has been primary targets thereof.
The word “diet” is defined as:
The kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats.
It has however come to mean something different in our modern context and that’s why people like myself don’t even use the word anymore.
Diet in modern terms seems to be a quick fix, time constrained eating regimen that promises all sorts of benefits, primarily weight loss.
Many “diets” border on the insane, like only drinking water and/or juiced vegetables and fruits for weeks on end to “detox” and loose weight. At the end of the day, yes, you’re going to loose weight if you stick to it, because you’re depriving your body of nutrients and calories and you’re going to start burning off fat and muscle for fuel. But, remember, it’s all temporary! It’s impossible to maintain these eating (starving) regimens and eventually you’re going to go back to your “normal diet”. When you do, you’ll gain all the weight you’ve lost, and probably even more! Thus, the yo-yo diet!
High/Low X Diets
High fat, high protein, low fat, low carbohydrate etc. diets are also popular, at least more popular than the insane yo-yo diets mentioned above. What is high and what is low comes in different combinations, but popular diets such as paleo, keto and low fat diets are all variants of this concept.
People seem to fare better on these diets and depending on how strict you stick to these diets, you’ll experience varying positive and negative effects.
The problem with these diets is that they’re tough to stick to, can have various negative consequences and seem unnatural and unbalanced. If you’re following such a diet and you’re healthy (not just for a few weeks or months, but in the long-term), then it might be working for you, but, I’d be weary and would make sure that I’m not nutrient deficient.
Gluten & Its Lessons
Gluten intolerance is like orthotics, yes some people are gluten intolerant just like some people have skeletal abnormalities that require orthotics but both are rare!
People suffering from celiac disease, an auto immune disease triggered by gluten, are the only people that are truly gluten intolerant and only make up about 1% of the population (in the USA). Yet, about a quarter of the population self identify as gluten intolerant and stay away from gluten.
Interestingly, the scientists that first identified gluten sensitivity as a concern, now states (after much more rigorous research) that gluten sensitivity doesn’t exist!1
I don’t react well to commercial bread (or any commercially baked goods for that matter). I get bloated and sometimes my stomach even cramps to the point where I fold over double to stop the pain.
I have none of these symptoms when I eat artisanal bread that’s been made with flour, water and yeast (wild yeast is even better). These breads are typically made over two or more days, where the dough is made and rested allowing all the natural fermentation and gluten development processes to take place.
My conclusion and many other’s conclusion is that it’s got nothing to do with gluten or wheat.2 The problem lies in all the other additives found in commercial bread. The added enzymes, preservatives and other additives are more likely to blame!
People have been eating bread for hundreds if not thousands of years, why would it be bad for you now?! Besides, many cultures (the French and Italians come to mind) eat bread (and its derivatives) every day, sometimes more than once a day and are generally healthier than many other cultural groups.
The lesson here is that processed and packaged food should be avoided as much as possible. Eat real food that’s been prepared by hand as far as possible!
Try and develop a good relationship with food, enjoy making it! I know this sounds a little strange, but the moment you start enjoying the process of making food, you’ll automatically start being more conscious of what goes into your body and get less bored with making the same old meals every week!
Eating healthy shouldn’t be a task or a struggle. It should be simple, natural and make sense.
Eat real food, eat a variety of food and avoid process and packaged food as far as possible!
Prepare food simply using spices and herbs to add flavour, avoid overuse of sauces.
Eating this way should automatically result in less processed carbohydrate and sugar intake, which are also primary culprits.