When it comes to your health and wellbeing, there are plenty of foodie trends that promise you a happy, energetic and healthy life if you only follow them. Underpinned with pictures of smiling, young and sporty looking people on social media channels and popular news magazines as well as wellness coaches (like me :)) sprouting out of the earth, it is easy to believe that if you only follow these foodie trends your life is going to be amazing. Really, you can choose from whatever trend you like best and which suits you most, be it clean eating, the Paleo diet, veganism, the Keto diet or anything else: after all, there is a whole load of science that supports whatever trend you are following once you start looking more into it. Or is there, really?!
Let me give you my two cents on this: I do not think it is quite that straightforward! Being a scientist, what I see is that all of those holistic nutrition gurus essentially cherry pick the scientific studies that support their arguments. They rarely look at the whole study (they only read the conclusions which are not always justified) or do balanced research on the topic they are providing information about, so leading to a whole load of pseudo-science, partially right information and contradicting advice flying about in an increasingly confused clientele. To the frustration of many of these clients, often those diets do not give them the results (such as a happy, energetic life) they were promised, so leaving people disheartened, feeling like a failure and causing them to give up on themselves.
Reality check: no one food or diet is going to make your life a happy one!
Just because you have bulletproof coffees (yes, that’s a thing, you can google it!), green juices and superfood, raw smoothies, your life will not all of a sudden be one of ease, happiness and constant joy. It takes a lot more than that. It takes you starting to become really curious about ALL aspects of your life: your career, your relationships, your finances, your exercise habits,… not just and nutrition. It takes you being open with yourself and looking at yourself with clarity, love and focus. It takes you embracing the whole of yourself, not just those aspects that you like.
When it comes to nutrition, though, there is no need to follow a specific diet.
Back to basics is surprisingly enough. Let’s face it: the main aim of a healthy diet is to prevent disease. Nothing more, nothing less. To do so, all those nutrition gurus have the same lifestyle tips in common which are complementary to your health:
- Eat your fruits and veg, because this will up your micro-nutrient intake and provide your body with all the nutrients it needs. It does not mean you cannot take inspiration from all those dietary trends: I personally love the recipe ideas coming out of the vegan and clean eating movements. It’s fun to experiment with new ideas such as spiralized vegetables (sweet potato spaghetti anyone?!), raw cheesecakes made out of nuts and berries (surprisingly delicious!) and hot, creamy beverages that are not as sugary as their commercial counterpoints (pumpkin spiced latte without the refined sugar and dairy, but with coconut whipped cream: sign me up!). Plus, it makes upgrading your meals so very easy!
- Move your body. Make it fun, exciting and mix it up, as otherwise you just get bored, miserable and discouraged.
- Drink sufficient water in the form of plain water, hot herbal teas, real fruit infused water and avoid anything that has sugar (like sodas) and keep caffeine to a minimum.
- Have a healthy mindset towards yourself, the food you eat and your body shape.
- Practice self-care: nourish yourself not just with food, but in the way you treat yourself in thought and deed. Consciously make time to look after yourself emotionally, mentally and spiritually with those things that fulfill you and reduce situations and spending time with people that drain you.
- Always, always listen to your body. What food does she thrive on? How do you feel energetically after meals? What food does your emotional body thrive on?
Being healthy is not just eating right. It’s way more than that. Being healthy also means being happy and joyful in life.
So, KISS: keep it simple, sister, when it comes to your nutrition.
You are doing the best you can with what is going on in your life. Don’t get too caught up in being perfect with your diet (even if the science says that is what you should do), as it only distracts from all those happy, perfect, joyful moments in your life that you may well miss out on otherwise!