In the United States we are constantly being bombarded with the latest trendy diet, miracle weight loss solution, or newest superfood that is bound to help us achieve that healthy life we seem to be striving for. We as American's are confused by all the nutrition and food marketing that is thrown in our faces everyday, and when all our friends are embarking on the next Whole30 to "reconnect" with their food, we feel as if we are doing something wrong by not jumping on board.
We are constantly searching for someone to spell out for us how we are supposed to eat, how our bodies are supposed to feel, and then how we are supposed to recover after destroying our bodies through diets and trends. What's ironic is at some moment we realize that we actually have no idea how to listen to our bodies own natural ability to tell us what it is we want to eat. There are many phrases and methods for talking about our need for more intuition around our food, but most of the time I still feel as though we are missing the route cause of why we need to find this intuition in the first place. What we should really be talking about is our food culture, our deep routed natural intuition that connects our body, mind, and LIFESTYLE to a particular way of eating.
Yet in the United States our food culture is so lacking, and so easily influenced by external marketing trends that we question virtually every single thing we put in our mouths, searching endlessly for the perfect diet that will finally be the solution to the cravings, weight gain, chronic disease, hormones issues, etc. that we wish to be rid of.
But rather than looking at our lives, our own lifestyle, upbringing, community, seasonal environment, etc. instead you hear about the mystical woman who lives in France and eats a croissant for breakfast, a baguette and cheese for lunch, and more wine and cheese for dinner. She eats intuitively and is healthy and happy and beautiful, which means that we better start to figure out this whole French way of eating, because that sounds amazing.
So now we start reading about how to eat like a French women, because hello did you hear me? She eats pastries all day long and feels amazing without a health care in the world! << sarcasm >> But we don't feel that great eating that much carbohydrate, and actually we may have a dairy intolerance, so right now this whole French lifestyle is only making us bloated.
But then we hear about the Paleo diet!! Hallelujah our prayers have been answered and now we are thinking that maybe we should be tuning in with how to think and eat like a caveman. I mean what makes more sense right? The cavemen were our ancestors, so obviously our bodies innate instinct should be to eat like them. All we have to do is get connected with our true caveman or woman, maybe stop showering, eating our food cooked, and don't you dare even think about cooking up anything that has gluten in it because our paleo ancestors definitely didn't eat that.
We start to feel great for a little while after removing all that dairy and refined carbohydrates we were eating on our French diet, but now we find ourselves eating a lot of nuts, like a lot of them. They basically replace everything that used to be a grain, but now our old $2 bag of wheat flour is replaced by a $12 bag of almond meal, and we feel like we might go broke on this paleo thing, but at least we will be as healthy as the cavemen! But wait...were the cavemen actually all that healthy? Didn't they die at like 30? And we actually don't like red meat all that much, but that was what our cavemen ancestors liked so I guess we just aren't trying hard enough to connect with our roots, so we keep eating the meat.
But after a while all the rules of the paleo diet start to wear thin and we just don't feel that great! Not to mention we are stressed out trying to avoid everything that doesn't fall into the "yes this is caveman approved" column and we really don't seem to be anywhere closer to addressing our weight and health related concerns, although we are now master nutrition label readers, and know how much sugar is added into everything.
Then one night after a late-night "non-paleo friendly" pizza binge, we decide to call it because a life without pizza just isn't something we are interested in. But where does that leave us? We hear about this whole intuitive eating thing and that this point really feels like the right path, but how do we know what to intuitively eat?!?
Sound familiar? I bet it does, and this my lovely friends is exactly how diets have killed our food culture. In other countries, like France, Italy, Spain, Japan, Thailand, the list goes on and on people would never think to ask the question, what am I supposed to eat? They wouldn't wonder what intuitive eating means, and wouldn't need to google "how to eat intuitively" to find out. They would just know, and they would do it everyday because they have a strong, undeniable food culture that is part of who they are.
Then we have the United States, and our food culture may not be the first thing that comes to mind, and in fact it may be the last thing that comes to mind when we think about the way we eat, and this is what I believe is at the route of most of American's horribly complicated relationships with food. Somewhere along the way we completely lost, or never experienced what it means to live our lives with a healthy food culture that has nothing to do with rules, and everything to do with authentic healthy living.
If you are still paying attention, you're pretty awesome, and I hope you have a whole bunch of new thoughts swirling around in your brain, but I think that is enough for now on this topic of food culture, but this is a topic I am going to keep revisiting as it is at the center of everything I believe about global health and nutrition.
I want to help you learn how to foster and create a wonderfully healthy and fulfilling food culture of your own. Through the process of re-connecting or creating your own personal food culture intuitive eating wont be something that seems to require so much thought, and instead will be something that will begin to 100% happen naturally.
Not to mention, you have no idea how freeing it will be to hear about the newest diet, or health trend and have no desire to flip your life upside down because of it. Your food culture will have become such a strong part of who you are, how you interact with your loved ones and community, and you will be able to feel confident in knowing that no trendy weight loss plan could ever give you that.
I also cant wait to talk to you more about my own food culture, how dieting totally stole it, and how I was able to get it back. But more on that to come :)