Photo by Dan Edwards
As I move through the second year of my nutrition course and learn more about the body’s many systems, inputs and output, I realise more and more that there is no one sized fits all solution with nutrition. We are all so different. We have different background, different genetics, different stresses and different hormonal balances, that of course nutrition needs to be different for each person.
In fact, I was so excited about this revelation, I tweeted about it this morning on the way to my Biochemistry lecture.
Real talk: I used to be quite a dogmatic vegetarian for 15 years. I converted for ethical reasons when I was fifteen and used to talk ears off trying to convince others of the merits of vegetarianism. Then again, when I first discovered primal / paleo, I was quite forthright in proselytising to my husband, family and friends. You can see a pattern here, can’t you?
Nutrition is about working out what suits your body, your lifestyle and what works for you on a day to day basis. There’s no point in trying to force yourself on to a vegan diet (oh so fashionable right now!) if you know that meat works for you and your body. Equally, if you’re a natural vegetarian, a paleo approach is probably not right for you.
An ideal dietary model is all very well and sound very good when they’re presented in a nicely designed book or website, but if you can’t stick to the model or guidelines, what’s the point?
You need to find something that works for you and your lifestyle.
There’s been much gnashing of teeth about wellness bloggers, but the reality is that they’ve helped make nutrition seem more approachable and given the general public an awareness of the importance of micronutrients. This is a good thing, when the NHS still advocates an eatwell plate that underemphasises the importance of fruit and vegetables (these should make up half your plate and you should aim to eat a rainbow of colours across the day) and overemphasises the importance of bread, pasta, rice and potatoes for fibre (what about the more accessible fibre in fruits and vegetables?).
Food can be fun and can bring much joy in the shopping, preparation and eating. Let’s move away from dogma, eat real food and work towards individual nutrition solutions.