RootedRVA’s Nutrition Philosophy
There is an inordinate amount of conflicting information that exists on food and diet. I do not prescribe to any particular food philosophy. Rather, I practice myself and share with clients what I have learned to be the most true and effective up to this point. As a life-long learner, I am always open to new information and changing my approach when appropriate.
There are several truths regarding food and diet. First, all people digest food better when in a relaxed environment. A relaxed environment traditionally occurs when an individual cooks their own food with friends/family and eats in community. This is a far cry from jamming fast-food down one’s throat while driving to a business meeting or similar stressful event. We can all benefit from “mindful” eating.
Second, fresh-food, or food that was frozen immediately after being picked, is typically the most-nutrient dense. Biodiverse farming practices, and then organic farming practices, typically produce the most nutrient-dense food with the least amount of harmful substances (e.g. pesticides). Most people would benefit more from eating fresh, organic, local food than conventionally grown and raised food for these reasons. Eating local food also means eating seasonally. This approach decreases the likelihood of developing sensitives to foods as well.
Third, all individuals have a unique biochemical make-up that determines what type of diet works best for them; that is, there is no one-size-fits-all diet. Various approaches such as food allergy testing, nutrigenomics, and even mindful eating practices can help one determine the foods that make them feel the healthiest.
Fourth, following a restrictive dietary program is usually harmful. Therapeutic diets can heal when used appropriately with a specific intention (i.e. a ketogenic diet for drug-resistant epilepsy or avoiding gluten due to Celiac Disease). But, using restrictive diets for the sake of losing weight, looking better, etc… will most often not achieve sustainable results. I cannot encourage this approach to dieting. Rather, it is important to find a type of balanced diet that works for you and is sustainable in the long-term.
Fifth, food is fun! It is healthier to enjoy eating a piece of cake sometimes than beating yourself up about it. We are all human and enjoy sweet things. In moderation, foods traditionally considered unhealthy like cake or brownies or candy will not harm us and may actually carry psychological benefits.
Sixth, a lot of other factors affect food and dietary choices, such as sleep, stress, exercise, and social influences. Achieving balance in other areas of life will always help achieve balance around food. For instance, if you are feeling very stressed out and fatigued, it is more likely that you will eat processed foods than if you are relaxed, and you will likely not digest it as well if you had eaten it when relaxed. And again, remember that it is okay to be stressed out and eat a donut sometimes! Food is complex. Mastering food is mastering life.