One of the hardest things about deciding to eat healthier is that there is so much conflicting information available, and it can be really hard to figure out who to trust, especially when “experts” disagree.
I’m not just talking about fad diets and whether it’s better to go low carb or low fat, but actually making decisions about the nutritional value of certain foods and whether they’re good for you, bad for you or neither.
Here are a few examples:
- Are all saturated fats (such as those found in coconut oil) really bad for you? Or are only certain saturated fats bad for you?
- Should you avoid gluten altogether?
- Is it better to be vegetarian or vegan, or is meat good for you in moderation?
There are a million more questions that you could ask and get a million different answers from a million different “experts”, so how do you and I figure out which choices we really want to make for our families?
I’m writing this post not as someone who has strong convictions on what’s good and what’s bad (although I do have a couple of those!) but as someone who’s still trying to decide what healthy eating means for our family. Here are my best tips for trying to sort through it all:
Research, Research and Research Some More
You could decide that you’re just going to follow Person A’s food philosophy and eat the things they say you should eat and avoid the things they say you should avoid, but a much more balanced, informed approach is to begin researching a topic and read what people have to say on both sides before making a decision for yourself.
In many cases, the only way you can truly make an informed decision is to make a change to your diet for a few weeks or month and see how you feel.
For example, my mom fasted with her church in the spring of last year, giving up meat and sweets for 45 days (known as the Daniel fast), and she felt so much better without meat in her diet that she stayed a vegetarian even after the fast was over.
Wardeh from the GNOWFGLINS eCourse went vegan when her son was 2.5 years old, and his eczema immediately cleared up and their daughter stopped wetting her bed (a story I’ve heard more than once related to certain food changes). She later reintroduced meat in moderation and realized that the symptoms that cleared up had less to do with the presence of meat in their diet and more to do with the other changes they made, such as eliminating processed foods.
The point is that you can make the best decisions for your family by experimenting and seeing what makes you feel good and what doesn’t.
Everything in Moderation
As I was working on this post, I asked Shaina from Food for My Family how she makes decisions for her family, and she said,
I try to be realistic and adopt a moderate approach. If you ate only bacon and meat, it wouldn’t be good for you, despite what Atkins may think. If you eat only carbs and sugar, it’s not going to be good for you. If you gorge on coconut oil…probably not a good idea. Balance and moderation makes for a healthy diet.
Of course there are overarching principles that everyone agrees on and there will even be decisions you make for your family that you’ll want to hold fast to — such as no high fructose corn syrup — but as you consider all of the evidence available, you may find yourself limiting a lot of foods rather than avoiding them completely and increasing your consumption of others but not living on them alone.
Here at Food Your Way, you won’t find a lot of hard-and-fast rules, but we will try to take an unbiased look at the research on all sides of an issue and present it in a way that makes it easier for you to sort through for yourself.
Do you find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of information available on healthy eating and nutrition? How do you sort through it? Or do you just avoid it altogether because you don’t know where to start?
This post is brought to you by the GNOWFGLINS Fundamentals eCourse, “Godʼs Natural, Organic, Whole Foods, Grown Locally, In Season”, an online resource designed to help you learn to cook traditional, whole foods.
Using a unique “pay what you can” model, GNOWFGLINS provides a ton of information and video instruction to help you get started, with access to all of the course materials the moment you enroll, and asks each person to simply pay what they can, which may be more for some than others.
If you want to change the way you eat, but you’re not sure to start, the GNOWFGLINS eCourse will help you walk through some of those changes!