Tuesday, October 8, 2013

What should we eat to be healthy? There shouldn't (have to) be an app for that!

A recent story on the CBC website spoke about the issues that supposed weight loss apps have in leading people to weight loss or improvements in health. Big surprise. A person who commented on the story summarized the crux of the issue, and I paraphrase : "You don't need an app to tell you that vegetables are health and candy bars are not!"

Maybe this is one this is one area where we really shouldn't have an app.

How did eating healthful, real food become such an difficult issue for us to overcome? I don't pretend to be the patron saint of whole foods and health living, I certainly have been less health conscious that I am currently, but really, this seems like a modern-day, first-world kind of problem. 

Check out some images of what families from around the world consume in one week to get a feel for the issue. This came up recently in my Ancestral Health class, and I speculated what the relationship was between chronic disease and consumption of fake food. I would be interesting to see, independent of what kind of whole food was consumed, how rates of disease varied. Maybe the study has been done already and I am unaware of it, but it sure seems like a safer bet to eat things that aren't sold in a package, driven by large marketing campaigns, if one wants real health benefits and effortless body weight management. 

Food for thought.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Autumn reflections

The leaves they are turning.
We are now almost into October, and it has been nearly one year since I have posted here. For shame! I really ought to post more often and will endeavour to do so; hopefully I can.

This fall marks the third time I am teaching my seminar course on Ancestral Health. The class is once again an enthusiastic bunch. I hope to see more of their enthusiasm and opinions as the student presentations start tomorrow. 

Potato, bacon, and cheese soup for a fall day.
The class format is largely the same as in years past. However, I sense that I have changed in my approach as its instructor (more like "facilitator") in that I am not so much the absolutist, dealing only in black and white with no or few grey areas. 

This year, I find my focus being much more on questions like "How can real people become healthier without taking a second or third job to afford it?", "Am I going to go to nutritional "hell" if I eat sugar?", and "Reducing carbohydrates is potentially beneficial to one's health (especially if suffering from a serious medical condition), but should I reduce them to [insert arbitrary very low number of grams per day here]?" 

Woke up to this today
This shift in instructional style is inspired, at least in part, by my own experience over the last 4 years of my personal ancestrally inspired diet and lifestyle. For instance, I have not become fallen ill after eating white rice, white potatoes, or what some might consider large quantities of fruit. The shift is also inspired by the fact that if real people with real lives and real stressors are going to embrace this ancestral lifestyle, then there needs to be some wiggle room. People like Mark Sisson have talked about this notion for years (see Sisson's 80/20 rule of thumb). Unfortunately in the past I have let "perfection be the enemy of the good". I am hopeful that I continue down this path, realizing that good is still just that; good!