After publishing a post one week ago about embracing a food philosophy without judging others, I’m featuring a snapshot of my food philosophy. I do not assert that my philosophy is “correct” or “the best.” In fact, issues such as food allergies, diseases that are influenced by diet, and nutrient deficiencies mean that there is no philosophy that is suitable for universal application. My philosophy simply represents the conclusions I have drawn as I’ve learned about nutrition over the last decade. As with many health-related topics, ongoing research provides new insights on a continual basis. Consequently, my philosophy is dynamic.
Tenets of my food philosophy
- Varied – The consumption of a wide variety of foods—fruits, nuts, vegetables, meats, grains, beans, dairy products, etc.—provides the body with essential nutrients that help support wellness. Preparing foods in an assortment of manners, creating various flavors and textures, makes eating an enjoyable experience and encourages my household to eat foods that might not be tasty eaten on their own or without special preparation.
- Unprocessed – Foods that are unprocessed and unrefined provide more nutrients and typically contain fewer calories, less sodium, and fewer potentially harmful preservatives than processed foods. I do not profess to have eliminated all processed foods from my kitchen. Sometimes I purchase processed foods due to time constraints and budgetary limitations. However, I continuously try new recipes and methods in an attempt to minimize these foods from my household’s diet.
- Balanced – Some foods are super nutritious and contain healthy fats, but are also high in calories. Some foods are nutrient dense, but aren’t very palatable. Other foods taste great, but aren’t very nutritious. There is a place in the diet for all of these foods. If we’re craving some marginally nutritious “comfort food,” then we eat it. I’m just watchful of what we eat at our next meal. Likewise, I consume an occasional rich dessert. If we eat healthily the vast majority of the time, then an occasional indulgence won’t be harmful.
- Natural – There is worrisome research on the environmental and human health impacts of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, as well as the use of antibiotics and hormones in livestock. I’m gradually selecting more foods that are organic, including livestock products that are also free-range or cage-free, natural, or grass-fed. The cost and availability of these products are significant barriers to this. However, by taking small steps, such as switching to an organic version of one food every few months, I’m gradually moving my household towards this ideal.
I always keep in mind that health is multidimensional; it is about much more than just nutrition. In fact, I’m confident that some foods, such as chocolate and other sweets, are beneficial for my mental health, even if they aren’t that great for my physical health! Getting exercise, managing stress, fellowshipping with friends, and various other activities are also crucial for health. I also don’t want to lose sight of the important role food plays in traditions and gatherings. The preparation of particular foods in particular ways provides a connection to the past and helps teach children about their heritage. The consumption of certain foods at certain times helps establish routine. Food is an omnipresent feature in human gatherings—Christmas dinners, Independence Day picnics, baby showers, and even funerals. I believe that the benefits of taking part in these traditions and gatherings sometimes warrant temporary noncompliance with a food philosophy.
What are some tenets of your food philosophy?