As a dietitian, I hear all kinds of misinformation regarding nutrition, most of which stems from a diet-obsessed society that is all too focused on physical appearance and all but backed with evidence-based research. It’s easy to get caught up in that world just as it’s easy to find oneself using food as entertainment, comfort or a pass-time. Not to mention that America has many “foods” available to us that are very low cost, are not very filling, taste extremely good and that have very little nutritional value; think chips, white bread, candy, soda etc. Unfortunately, our misuse of food over the years has derailed our ability to see the true purpose of food, which is to provide nutrients needed to fuel or bodily functions, to ward off disease and to curb our hunger. As a society, we have forgotten how to honor our bodies through the use of food, how to pay attention to our own signals of hunger and fullness, how to eat things that will help our bodies function at their best and how to make ourselves feel great.
The best nutrition advice I can give to people who are ready to hear it is to go back to the basics, that is, to eat REAL food most of the time. Eat more plants in the forms of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, and peas. Add in some plant and/or animal sources of protein, but not too much (if you’re wondering whether a 16 oz steak is too much, it is). Stick to water, unsweetened tea (green is best), or black coffee most of the time. Most importantly, pay attention to your body and be mindful when you eat. Eat when you are hungry, stop when you are satisfied not overly full, (there is a huge difference)! An easier summary comes from the award-winning author, Michael Pollan “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”