6.28.2012

Who Do You Trust for Nutritional Advice?

My life pretty much revolves around food.  Making it, growing it, shopping for it, sharing it.  I'm planning lunch and dinner before I even eat breakfast. And more and more, I find myself talking about food - all the time, everywhere.  At the gym, swim practice, library, copy shop, farmer's market, parties; name the place, and there I am, talking about food.

I'm down with all the food talk.  I enjoy talking about food almost as much as I enjoy eating it, and I've recently come to appreciate that this is my role within my family and community.  I'm completely responsible for the nutrition of three other human beings.  If I didn't think about my family's food, they might not eat.  Or worse yet, they'd eat all wrong.  Within my community, many people don't have the time or interest to think about food all day long.  They've got jobs, commitments, non edible interests.  I've got dinner ideas, cooking tips, recipes to share.

Many of my recent food conversations have hinged on nutrition.  I'm more than willing to share what I've learned, but I hesitate to advise others on their diet.  Although I have a lot of experience with food (don't we all?), I realize that I'm not qualified to dispense nutritional advice.  The more research I do about food and nutrition, the more I wonder, who is?  Who can I trust to tell me what to eat, what not to eat, and why?

Almost everything I used to believe about food and nutrition has been turned upside down this past year.  I've gone from buying whole grains and brown rice in bulk to smearing my steak with butter.  I no longer believe that red meat and eggs will raise my cholesterol, that saturated fat will make me fat, or that salt will give me heart disease.  I now know that skipping a meal or two will not result in my body cannibalizing itself for protein.  I now believe that sugar is the root of nearly all health evils, and that glucose is glucose, but not every calorie is created equal.

I didn't learn this from my doctor or my college professors, and certainly not from any government funded nutritional education programs.  I haven't read it in one specific book.  I'm continually piecing my knowledge from various sources: articles, blog posts, podcasts, documentaries, online lectures, various books and websites, conversations with friends who seem to be eating something right.

The most influential source of nutritional advice came from this TED Talk.  (Please take a moment to watch it if you haven't already.)



Most importantly, I'm learning about proper nutrition from myself.  I started listening to my gut.  I pay attention to deviations from my idea of optimal health and research how to correct it with minerals and vitamins from whole food sources.  I analyze how I feel after eating certain foods, and eliminate or increase those foods accordingly.  I experiment with the timing of my meals for better performance and sounder sleep.

No, I'm not qualified to tell you what to eat, but you are.  You have access to all the tools you need to find the proper nutrition for your body.  You are the ultimate laboratory.  Yes, it takes time and effort, but aren't you worth it?  Trust yourself, mind your mitochondria, and enjoy your food.

 ~~~~~~~~

I recently had a conversation with a CrossFit friend (hi Denise!) about muscle cramping post workout.  I wondered out loud if maybe the cramping was due to an electrolyte imbalance.  As I've made clear, I'm not an expert and certainly not qualified to dispense nutritional advice, but if I were cramping post workout, I'd drink something like this:

"not gatorade" electrolyte drink

Paleo friendly Aguas Frescas.  Not only does it have potassium and sodium, it tastes darn good and it's refreshing after a sweaty workout.  I made one today after a pretty disappointing attempt at some heavy snatches.  It made me feel a little better about my improper form and wimpy load.

Molly's Post WOD Aguas Frescas (aka "Not Gatorade")

1 lemon cucumber
1 cup water
the juice of 1/2 a lime, lemon, or both
generous pinch of salt
ice

Put everything in the blender and blend until smooth.

If you're not worried about electrolytes, add a shot of tequila. 

Enjoy!

P.S.  This picture is for Amy, who gave me these flowers when they were wee babies, and who called me during her precious quiet time today to talk about food, especially of the fermented variety, and muscle ups.  Thank you, friend.

cosmos and calendula

15 comments:

  1. Such important thoughts you share here Molly. All so true!
    That TED talk inspired me as well! She is amazing.
    What can I use in this drink in place of the lemon cucumber?... something I am not likely to find... or be able to grow here :)
    Lastly... I love cosmos! So happy and bright they are!

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    1. if only i could send you some of mine! you can use any kind of cucumber, but i'd peel the skin off first (one of the many things i love about the lemon cucumbers is not having to peel them). but then i started thinking about something i read once upon a time about young cattail roots tasting a lot like cucumber. got cattails in nova scotia? sounds like a good foraging experiment.

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    2. I don't really have any thoughts about food right now, and if I did, they wouldn't really go well here because they would be about brownies, but it just occurred to me that it would be super fun for the three of us to all get on Skype together some time. That is all.

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    3. as long as we don't talk about brownies! unless of course they're grain free and sugar free. let's set a skype date!

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    4. Yes! And I will try very hard to limit my brownie talk. Vegan gluten free brownies aren't that great anyway.

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    5. That would be too much fun! Let's Skype next week.
      I do have the nutty grain free version of brownie but they have maple syrup in them... I know a no no for you Mollly & nut no no for you Annie... so no brownie talk. Check!

      About the cattails. Yes, we have them all over!! I will have to look them up in my wild edibles book again. Thinking early spring is the time to harvest those. Great idea.

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  2. Well said! When I was writing our Paleo journey blog, I often felt like the unspoken goal of each post was to change other's eating habits because I was so darn excited about our own changes. (Which is true - I wish everyone I know would try this!) And as I'm sure you've experienced, when you tell people your way of eating is so much better, it is subtly telling them their own choices are poor and will eventually make them sick. It made me sound "superior" and an expert - which is FAR from the truth. But I felt I was almost in a battle with conventional wisdom and mainstream food marketing. Exhausting! That's why I think your post is so well written. It sums it up perfectly: A person's own body carries the real truth about what defines ultimate health foods.
    Kim

    ps - growing lemon cucumbers for the first time this year! We're a little behind most of the country growing season wise up (I'm in MN), but flowers are starting to pop up. :)

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    1. I know exactly what you are saying! There's a fine line between prosthelytizing and enthusiastically sharing your passion. I enjoy an open exchange of ideas over a self righteous monologue. I'd love to see you blog again!

      Enjoy those lemon cucumbers. We're getting one or two every few days, but soon we'll be swamped. Yay!

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  3. Everything I have learned (and trust) has come from my drive to self-educate in order to feed my family the healthiest, safest, most nutritious food. It is valuable information like the video you have posted here that have helped me go from eating the processed/fast food of my childhood to becoming an organic and whole food connoisseur I am today. Thank you for this wonderful link, recipe and post!

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  4. I've been keeping up on your blog and it's still awesome! I'm pretty dang sure it was your anniversary a few days ago and I have been thinking of you. Best to you!

    As far as diets and eating right each individual is so different. I am glad you found something that works for you. Have you tried acupunture? It's awesome.

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    1. Becca! Thanks for stopping by - we need to catch up!

      Yep. 14 years last week. Crazy, huh?

      Haven't tried acupuncture yet, but I'm definitely open to the idea.

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  5. Hi Molly,
    I'd love to chat with you about nutrition at some point. We run into each other at the 8am class. (I'm Joe) the guy with 2 kids. We are all working on a primal'er lifestyle. Most of the info that I've been working with comes from my Dr. site http://whenyouareserious.com Love the recipes. Kids are stoked to try the cabbage noodle and cauliflower rice.

    -Joe

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    1. Hi Joe!

      Yes, I'd love to talk food and nutrition with you the next time we see each other at gym. Missed you and the kids this morning - today's WOD is a doozy!

      Thank you for the link to your doctor's website. How fortunate you are to have a doctor who believes in achieving health through whole foods and functional fitness.

      Hope you and your kids enjoy the recipes! My kids are my toughest food critics :)

      ~molly

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  6. I grew up following conventional wisdom and the food pyramid. We ate rather well. My sister has a masters in nutrition. She agrees that so much is clouded by money. The science is muddled by who funds the research and what gov't interest is at play. I have found after years of vegetarian, omni, etc that primal really makes me feel the best. Thanks for these pearls of wisdom.

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  7. Food is becoming the new thing to argue about, almost like politics and religion. I think that the only thing one can do is follow exactly what you said here, listen to our bodies on our own, and see what works and makes us feel our healthiest, even with the understanding that what works for us in one moment may shift as our lives shift. We have had to change our diet so many times to accomodate where one of us are that I feel like I spend a lifetime researching food. It is the best medicine though, and the best thing we can do is keep searching until we feel our healthiest. Thanks for sharing.

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email: mollydunham@sbcglobal.net
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