Isn't It Confusing Enough

Isn't It Confusing Enough

Isn't It Confusing Enough

By Mary Lou Block, Registered Dietician

Isn't it confusing enough? Think again, if you don’t think everything can be spun to lead us in a particular direction. This even holds true in the world of nutrition. Deciphering nutrition is confusing enough. Now add in the possibility of a slant to the story, and we are truly left wondering, “What is a person to do?”

What do I mean? 

      National Nutrition Month is the annual nutrition campaign of my professional organization, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. March is this month!  So, my friends, eat a more nutritious diet!  But what does that mean? It seems to mean different things to different people, and even to different nutrition and health experts. Quite honestly, the messaging you will hear from the Academy is, “Eat more plant-based meals.”  What they mean is, eat more vegetarian or vegan meals, which will also be good for the planet. You will see messages like …

Eat with the Environment in Mind, Eat Meatless Recipes                                

These slogans equate the benefits of plant-based food to a concern for the environment.  Not that vegetarian or vegan is a bad eating plan! On the contrary, it has been around since the beginning of time. But my point is this, some people choose plant-based eating and others do not, both with equally justified and good reasons. A diet selected for personal health reasons is different than a diet selected to rescue the planet. 

     Does the message, “Eat with the environment in mind,” help you decipher your personal and best nutrition option?  Or does it betray a mind containing a lot of clean air, … or dense forest … or whatever you associate with the environment. 

     The message jumbles together two issues, personal health choice and the protection of the planet.  Wouldn’t it be better to think about these things separately and at least conclude how you should eat … considering your health issues, goals, personal tastes, budget, and time? 

     So, I will say it again, my friend. Eat a nutritious diet. But take time to consider the message you are hearing and how you apply it.

It’s National Nutrition Month! Celebrate the basics:

  1. Get off sugar, pop, and carbohydrate-loaded beverages.
  2. Get off processed snack foods.
  3. Eat a nutrient dense diet.  Prioritize protein sources that are high quality and clean, whether vegetarian or not.  If you can afford it, eat organic and fresh. Use frozen or canned if they fit your health or budget needs better. Animal protein is, by-the-way, incredibly nutrient dense.
  4. If you have insulin resistance or chronic health issues, restrict less nutrient-dense carbohydrates, even if they are whole foods.

For those who wish to eat plant-based diets, ponder this. If you expect it to be healthy, select a balance and variety of whole plant proteins and nutrients, not just a “No-Meat-Diet,” i.e. a diet of “Little Debbie’s,” may be vegetarian, but is not nutrient dense or healthy…if you get my little drift!

If you don’t feel well and are sick often, ask yourself, “Is what I am eating now working for me?”  If it is not, be honest and take a deeper dive. All real food can be healthy, but not all real food is necessarily healthy for you.

Need someone to help you think through what you are doing?  Come see me.  We’ll have a cup of tea and start the road to better and more enjoyable eating … For You … without the guilt about the environment.

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