How To Navigate Eating In A World Of Advice
Why do we all hand over our self autonomy and inner power to someone else? What happened to out intuition and our decision making?
The vast amount of information regarding what to eat can be overwhelming, especially since it often contradicts itself.
Interestingly, many health brands and sources of information start their messaging with the same statement: “There is so much conflicting advice out there, we’re here to cut through it with simple solutions.” However, they often proceed to provide the same advice as the content they were just referencing as conflicting.
This blog post too! I’m not that self-righteous.
While yes, many are confused. In the same breath, I personally don’t feel confused at all – for me it’s so clear what is good for me. I also don’t feel like I’m missing out, I don’t feel restricted (I actually feel liberated), and I feel as sturdy as a tree, rooted in who I am and my ability to make life choices.
When I consume health information, which is rare these days, I approach it from a strong and grounded place. I listen, interpret, seek understanding, and form an opinion. If I see a true benefit for me, I implement a change or an additional practice.
This is very different from constantly adopting new ways of living without giving it conscious thought. Such an approach leads to confusion, lack of integrity, giving up, feeling like a failure, and ultimately, keeps you stuck in a cycle of unconsciousness.
So I’m writing here with the hope to guide you through the forest so you can reach this place too.
And if I don’t succeed, well then I too am just adding to the confusion.
But you won’t know unless you read the whole thing. Are you going to roll the dice?
These are the elements that have helped me reach a point of trust and live a happy, healthy life.
The Personal Code
Of course, I have to acknowledge some bias in that I work in and have a degree in the nutrition industry. However, between you and me, at the risk of discrediting myself, I honestly believe that a nutrition degree doesn’t hold much weight. For this reason, I may consume health information with a different perspective than the average person.
To combat information overload and help me tune in, uring my transformational health period, I developed what I call a personal code. This is a set of guidelines that I know make me feel my best, which I can always refer back to.
The key here is that I uncovered these elements when I was in a calm and intuitive state, and they still stand firm today, even though I discovered them over five years ago. This signifies a deep understanding of self and further cements my personal code in stone.
My personal code includes rules such as not eating while standing up, avoiding mindless snacking, and plating food instead of eating it out of a package.
Interestingly, none of these pertain to a specific diet dogma or restrictions, even though I unashamedly follow some of those too. I understand that these may change depending on my needs, stage of life, resources, and time, but the code itself remains the same.
Instead, they are ways of approaching food that I know will stand the test of time.
When seeking to change some element of your lifestyle or health, it’s vital to seek understanding. But I’m not talking about reading and interpreting scientific journals – not only is this not feasible for the average person, often they are filled with bias, the conflict, and often don’t conclude much anyway.
Find someone who can explain the benefits and reasons in a way that you understand. You don’t need to be a scientist, but having a basic understanding is necessary.
Of course, there may be times when you just want someone to tell you what to do. IU get it, especially for topics outside of your expertise.
If I look at my finances for example. I’m not a financial expert, I don’t geek out on finances. As a baseline for personal desire, I have lifestyle goals that I want to achieve. Additionally, there are legal financial obligations that I must adhere to, legally too.
There was a time when I did not understand it at all, but I pulled up my big girl pants, and a sought a basic understanding, which I now have!
And my finances and mental health are in a MUCH better place. I’m not an expert, but I have a basic understanding, that allows me to seek the right advice, ask the right questions, and not accidentally break any laws. And there fore my financial goals are in reach, and I feel good about them. Basic understanding is power.
The same applies to food and health.
You have a personal duty to yourself, and the people around you, to be empowered with basic understanding. Without this, it’s very hard to get to that place of peace.
Listen To Your Gut
There is quite a trend, in this ever present world of health and personal development, of outsourcing everything.
Like I mentioned above, it is incredibly important to learn and understand, as this gives you a foundation to make educated and intuitive decisions about your own health and your own life.
The reality is personal wellness cannot be outsourced.
We’ve already discussed a few tools to help with this. First the personal code, using personal experience as information, then the learning, using external sources and experts as information.
But there is a third piece of the puzzle – listening to your gut. Despite many naysayers, this is a powerful source of communication. In some cases, I believe even more clear than zillions of scientific studies, especially when it comes to personal wellness.
I bet, if you really think about it, when faced with an eating decision wondering if something is a good choice for that moment (while your mind swirls with all the different things you’ve been told), you get a gut signal – you feel that some things are just obviously good for you, some things just make sense.
And you know, I’m not talking about if something is perfectly healthy or not, just if it is the right choice for you in that moment.
As an example of my experience – eating pastured eggs as apposed to caged. To me it’s just obvious that eggs from happy hens are nourishing, and bleached eggs from chickens in cages are not. I don’t need to read the research on this (although it is there to support this anyway).
This happens in both situations where there is lots of research, and situations where there isn’t. Take a look at sugar. There is a lot of research to back up the fact that excess refined sugar consumption is addictive and causes a whole heap of health issues. Yet there will always be plenty of people and research that claim the opposite.
Regardless, based on all the tools I’ve mentioned here, but especially basic gut feel, I know processed sugar doesn’t align with my food and health philosophy, so I know it’s not a good choice for me. I really don’t need to be convinced otherwise, nor am I looking for an excuse to binge on Freddo frogs and marshmallows.
If it goes completely against your inner knowing and gives you that feeling of “that can’t possibly be good for you”, listen to this!
Time and time again we have seen evidence of this.
Look at margarine!
In the 80’s and 90’s, the average breakfast of bacon and eggs and real butter, was swiftly swapped out for apparently heart healthy margarine, sugar-y mueslis and cereals.
There are plenty of people who saw the margarine ads of the 80’s and 90’s, when butter wasn’t a controversial item to have, and thought this fake butter substance “can’t possibly be good for you”.
These are the women and men who listened to their inner wisdom, no nutrition degree needed. They stayed in their integrity.
Unfortunately, public health authorities, the ones recommending margerine and casting eggs as a loaded gun in the first place, are not always helpful or trustworthy. It’s sad, and honestly it’s hard to operate in a broken system, but this is the truth of the matter. Just because something is marketed as healthy, doesn’t make it true. This is a deeper story for another day, but for know, take it as a sign to take your health and learning into your own hands.
If you need a more current example, this is how I feel about botox. Despite how “normal” it is, and regardless of how many people claim there are no side effects – the idea of injecting a neurotoxin right in between your eyes, where your brain is – my gut feel is that it just can’t be good for you.
What To Do
And so… I hope you can takeaway a few steps from this. Even just starting at the beginning with tuning into your personal code. Sit, calm the nervous system, remove distractions and think… How am I eating when I feel my best, and maybe even your worst. What is the aligned choice for me in this moment.
If there is somehting we don’t understand, can we tap in to the desire to seek understanding? Instead of glazing over our innate wisdom and a desire for integrity and connection and ture self and source.
Listen to your gut, and feel empowered that you are taking the right steps for your health, and grounded in who you are.