If I were to ask a room full of people what their definition of healthy eating would be, I would probably receive many different answers. The health industry has taken what it means to eat “healthy” to a whole new
level obsession. One can’t walk into a book store without paleo, vegan, low fat, toxic foods, keto, gluten-free, grain-free, and how not to die books displayed all over the store. I can’t imagine how overwhelmed the consumer must feel.
When consumers are bombarded with new diets and the latest research, after awhile the consumer either shuts down (decision paralysis) or ends up creating an obsession on how to look their best. I wrote about this in a previous post, but I feel strongly that we need to change the dogma of losing weight to figure out how you are feeling. (How is your energy, how is your sleep, how are your bowels —->Yes, I’m going there, etc.).
Often times, this healthy eating obsession forgets what it even takes to get healthy food to our plate. There are many political forces behind how our food is produced: people who work in the food industry are left behind in securing healthy food for themselves and their families, family farmers work endless hours to stay in an ever increasing consolidated farming system, and the impact growing food has on our environment.
As a Nutritionist, it’s important for me to stay on top of latest food trends, because they’re usually created for reasons of therapeutic ailments. Researchers are finding the keto diet is important for epileptic patients, gluten-free/grain free is crucial for celiac patients/thyroid/ADHD, etc.) But the health industry and social media influencers skew a lot of the information for reasons of vanity.
I’m all for eating the way that best feels right for you, however, sometimes that involves working with a real food dietitian to figure the right diet out for you (PREVENTATIVE CARE PLAN). Food is more than just nourishment, food is about community and culture and food is meant to satisfy. Instead it seems that everyone is constantly battling over the perfect healthy diet. I don’t think we will ever figure out the true definition of a perfect diet because research is always evolving and/or skewed by the food industry.
The reason I’m writing this today is because I’m a huge proponent on eating mostly local and supporting my local farmers, but I also DO NOT WANT to create anymore dietary frustrations in our already overwhelming world of nutrition. One could choose to spend a little more money on their family’s food budget in order to support the local economy to give back money to the hands of a small farmer. Did you know on average farmers makes less than $0.08 per $1.00 American’s spend on their food???? The rest goes to the food industry (i.e. marketing, wholesale, distribution, and retailing). Healthy food is expensive, especially if you’re buying organic, beyond organic, sustainable, pasture-raised, grass-fed, etc. HOWEVER, it’s even more expensive for those who are only making minimum wage and/or live in a food desert, and/or on disability to eat any ounce of fresh produce.
The way in which our current agriculture system is set up, we are growing more crops for food additives, processed foods, animal feed, (of which they aren’t even designed to eat) and biofuels, than we are growing healthy food in the US. Once we, as consumers, start spending our food dollars with our local small diversified farmers, we will simultaneously help make healthier food choices available to ALL in our communities. The more demand, the cheaper healthier food will become.
Cheers to Eating with A Conscious,
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