Eat this! Drink that! So many conflicting ideas out there about what will make you lose weight, live longer, get abs, sleep better!
The media hypes all these recommendations up and latches on to one part of the story. And we as consumers just follow along. “Oh, it helped so-and-so, so it must be good”.
We are not the same, we are all very different. And what works for one person does not necessarily work for all. We all have a slightly different genetic makeup which changes how we react to foods, exercise, sleep patterns, environmental inputs etc.
Sure, we are 99% the same, so a basic set of guidelines works for us all. It’s not rocket science.
But The problem lies in that 1% of difference. This is where we have to learn to listen to our bodies. Find out what it is that OUR body needs.
More or less sleep? More or less carbs? More or less exercise? We are always looking for the next 'thing" that will sort us out. Fix things...
And at menopause, or any change of life time, you have to re-assess again. If you’ve had kids, look back to the time you were pregnant. Did you do the same exercise? Did you eat the same foods? I am guessing that the answer is no.
Last week some new guidelines came out about what we should be eating to “save” the planet. The media jumped on it. Of course.
It’s called the Planetary Diet (Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT–Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems)
I am all for saving the planet, and forgive me if this offends you, but I am going to come out and say it. I don’t agree with this new “diet” for the following reasons:
It recommends we only eat 14g of red meat a day which is the equivalent of one hamburger patty a week. It recommends we only eat 2 eggs a week. It says to eat more chicken and fish, as well as lots of grains, beans and legumes.
It does have some good suggestions, ones that should be in everyone’s diet – more veggies and less red meat. So I do agree there.
It also says we need to look at how food is produced, and that intensive farming is killing the planet. And here I wholeheartedly agree. Grain fed cattle in giant feed lots is not a very environmentally friendly way to produce food.
We are lucky in New Zealand as we have pasture raised cattle, and lots of grassland to feed them. (Yes there are some issues with the farming – nitrogen fertilisers for instance – so it’s not perfect.)
But here’s the thing. I don’t think massive chicken farms are that great either. Most commercially produced chicken is farmed in massive sheds, either all stomping on top of each other in a huge flock, or in cages.
Eating less eggs and more chicken will help how?
And they are still advocating the use of nitrogen as a fertiliser…
The Sustainable Food Trust published an interesting article after the Planetary Diet hit the airwaves. Here’s the link if you’d like to read it.
The article highlights the fundamental flaws in the recommendations, with regard to building sustainable farming practices that will support food production of the type we need as humans.
“Encouraging a dramatic shift to plant-based diets risks a rise in nutritional deficiency diseases. Plants do not contain the full range of essential amino acids, or adequate levels of some B vitamins and a number of other important micro-nutrients. Vegans can compensate for these with supplements and careful dietary choices, but need a higher than average knowledge of nutritional science in order to do so.”
While I am not one to say what you should and shouldn’t eat, I do have “what works for me” nailed down. (I get explosively windy if I eat legumes, and I pick up weight rapidly when consuming too many grain based foods and starchy carbs).
I know without a doubt that I could not thrive on the Planetary Diet recommendations:
Too many starchy carbs in the form of grains and legumes, which will cause weight gain as you approach and go through menopause, too little good quality protein with all the amino acids you need to build and maintain a healthy muscle mass as you age.
So learn to listen to your body, and don’t jump at the latest hype or fad out there. And if you're after weight loss, a "diet" is not going to do it for you. Changing habits is the key.
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