Health and nutrition is an incredibly confusing rabbit hole. There is so much conflicting information out there, and it is very easy to go from one thing to the next, searching for answers and not getting good health outcomes.
I’ve been down this rabbit hole for 7+ years and I feel there are some important steps to take on this health (and life) journey. I’ve done a lot of ground work over the years, studying, trying, testing, experimenting, learning, experiencing. Perhaps I can help cut through a lot of it for you to fast track a little.
This is what I have found to be important.
- Be curious, open-minded, open-hearted, and willing to accept there is a possibility that everything you thought you knew to be true, may not be what it seems. In fact, it could be completely backwards.
- Don’t take everything at face value. It’s ok to question things. In fact, it’s highly necessary! (the food and health industry is just that – an industry $$$$$)
- Look at all sides of the coin. In order to make well informed choices in this world, we need to look at the bigger picture, and be open to seeing all possibilities. It is incredibly short sighted to only look at part of the picture or hold onto only one way.
- Experience is key. Try different things… food, movement activities, ways of living and being. See what works for you. Notice how you feel. Notice what happens to your health.
- Do your research. While I feel that direct experience outweighs intellectual knowledge and concepts, there is still a place for us to learn and decide what makes sense in order to also choose to experience.
- Develop a philosophy to guide you. This can come from doing all of the above. Having a deeply grounded, common sense philosophy will enable you to steer your ship and not sink or get confused every time there is a new, misinformed or contradicting health claim.
My health philosophy?? Nature’s way. This philosophy allows me to see through most things. It is my compass in this life and helps me avoid health claim whiplash and confusion (Note: This is not the only way. This is just a lens that I perceive and approach life through).
What is nature’s way? Living in alignment with our natural design. It is important to understand what humans require to be healthy in a modern context. Who are we as an animal species? What is our natural design when it comes to nutrition, sleep, movement, stress, sunshine, the environment we live in? What about overexposure to chemicals? What is modern technology doing to our health? What happens to health when wild humans with wild DNA are met with over-culture and modern living? How do we reconnect with nature?… and more. All of this can guide us on the path of reconnecting.
In terms of nutrition, nature’s way is food from the earth. Healthy plants and animals. Whole foods. Nature has our backs and intelligently gave us everything we need to be healthy.
One theme that I feel is worth mentioning here as I get asked about it and see it so much, not only in the health space, but also a lot in the yoga space, is the animals vs plants piece. This is just an offering and encouragement of further inquiry. Consider the following questions…
What if we looked through the lens that showed us that we are nature? That we are wild animals at our core. If this is the case, could it be possible that animals obtain the nutrients we need from other animals? If we are all made up of the same stuff, and that stuff needs replenishing, can we obtain all nutrients from plant foods alone? Plant foods are of course very important, but nature shows us that we need both and that we are omnivores. That means animal foods for building, growth and repair, and plant foods for cleansing and detoxifying. Would nature put yolks in eggs, skin on chickens or fish in oceans to harm us?
Consider the ancestral lens… If humans have been eating traditional whole foods (including animal foods) for thousands of years, which allowed them to thrive in their environment, without any ill-health up until recently, can “old-school” foods be the culprit for “new-school” modern disease? (unless they have been adulterated and affected by modern methods of farming, agriculture and other modern ways of living). Health issues can come as a result of a multitude of factors, and food is the foundation.
Consider that putting sick factory farmed animals in same boat as sustainable, pasture raised and fed, happy, healthy animals – nutritionally, environmentally and ethically, is not the same thing. I certainly don’t support the former. Can we look at modern agriculture more closely? The destruction to the planet, our soils, our health, the health of other living beings, due to the growing of plant foods, is a large piece of the puzzle to consider. Plant foods need land to be cleared of other living beings (including animals), so indirectly, even if one chooses not to eat animals, it is very possible that the lives of animals are still impacted in order to be able to grow the fruits, vegetables and grain crops we eat. It is very important to take a look at the big picture. See this article I wrote on the animal environmental piece.
Is the animal piece about not taking the life of another living being? If so, consider that plants are also alive and are high-vibrational, highly intelligent life forms of this planet. Everything in nature is alive. It is all part of a larger ecosystem that includes a cycle of life and death. Shying away from the fact that death is a part of life, is avoiding the whole picture and not entirely honouring nature.
If a diet is lacking in any nutrients, can it really be a species appropriate diet? Isn’t nature already perfect? Did nature create synthetic vitamins and mineral supplements to account for this? Or have we always had everything we ever needed all along? Do isolated, synthetic supplements work the same way in the body as nutrient bundles in whole foods?
Considering all of these things… It seems to be that nature got it right the first time, and that the problem lies in what has been done to our food and our planet as a whole organism.
How do we do our part to contribute to planetary healing? How do we reconnect? I invite you to explore this for and within yourself.
For more information, feel free to check out the following resources.
- Rewild Yourself podcast: The Hidden Cost of Veganism
- A Quirky Journey podcast for a balanced view on the “What the Health” documentary.
- Nina Teicholz on the Diet Doctor website: What the Health Review: Health Claims Back by No Solid Evidence
- My article: Regenerative Farming: Nature’s ecosystem. Soil, animals, plants, micro-organisms. Sustrainable Family Farming vs Factory Farming
- My article: 16 Life Lessons from Paleo and Rewilding