When’s the last time someone told you the truth about food? I’m going to do just that. It’s not the usual advice you hear about food. It’s also not the easy way to run a nutrition consulting business. The truth isn’t a quick fix or miracle product.
The truth is we gave away our health at the altar of convenience. We just did. The price paid has been immense. I believe the price grows exponentially with each generation. As our society industrialized, we turned away from regenerative agriculture and rural life and embraced urban life (whether we were in a city or not.) Processed food made this move easy and attractive. The truth is eating well takes labor and time. With each generation, we lose vital knowledge about how to feed ourselves. We no longer have the skills to prepare food, let alone preserve it and grow it. We have become a nation of people who cannot feed themselves. We rely on food manufacturers to make our food for us and we simply reheat it. A lot of adults cannot identify fruits and vegetables and therefore cannot pass even this basic food literacy knowledge onto their children.
The truth is processed foods and factory farming is killing us and the planet. As we get sicker, more tired, and more desperate for relief, we turn right back to the folks poisoning us and reach for all-in-one magic shakes, frozen 300 calorie meals, and vitamin cults with the hope of becoming revitalized, happy, and healthy. The very sad truth is most of us don’t even have an idea of what good feels like. I didn’t. We are running on toxic fumes. Our bodies hurt, our brains don’t work, and life expectancy is going down. I would argue life quality has been going down for quite some time. Our children are in crisis as well.
The truth is food literacy is vital to a happy and healthy life. I’m not picking on you. I’m telling you the truth. I am saying that food is the centerpiece of health. As long as you outsource the production, preparation, and knowledge of it, you will never be living your best life. It is your responsibility to educate yourself about food. The earth gives us amazing, healing, and delicious whole foods that our bodies and tastebuds desperately need.
The truth is you are going to have to do the work. People like me can educate and guide, but I don’t give clients a miracle supplement or a quick-fix meal plan. If someone is offering you that, walk out the door. If it sounds too easy, it is. Good nutrition isn’t always convenient. I can teach you ways to make it fit into a busy lifestyle, but you are going to have to accept the fact that nourishing your body is work.
The truth is fueling your body is self-care. It’s a physical manifestation of self-esteem. Wanting to take care of yourself is not something a nutrition consultant can give you. If you aren’t ready to take action and learn, paying for classes and consulting is pointless. If you are trapped in a cycle of trying a new supplement or a new diet fad when they come along with no overall direction, you are a victim of our quick-fix/diet culture. You’re wasting your money and mistreating your body. Understanding food is the antidote to that quick-fix/diet culture. First, you have to decide to love yourself enough to nourish your body and become food literate.
The truth is food is everything. Yep, I believe that. When done correctly, food saves us and the planet. You simply cannot be the best you without real food nutrition. Multiply that by every individual on the planet. How much better would EVERYTHING be if everyone was nourished and functioning at their best? How beautiful and healthy would our planet be if we were cultivating healthy food?
Here’s my food literacy manifesto. Use this as a checklist to evaluate your food literacy skills. If you want support, food literacy is what I do.
- I can Identify fruits and vegetables and know what they taste like.
- I eat whole, unprocessed foods.
- I can prepare fresh, healthy food.
- I enjoy and appreciate real food.
- I eat to nourish and love myself.
- I seek nutrients, not calorie deprivation.
- I read ingredient labels and understand them.
- I understand GMOs, their consequences, and know where they are.
- I don’t blindly trust food manufacturers and government agencies.
- I take personal responsibility for my nutrition.
- I understand my body needs carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. (Shocker: You DO actually need all three of them. Don’t fall for gimmick diets that exclude one or the other.)
- I understand how my digestive system works.
- I eat for my microbiome.
- I understand that only healthy soil produces healthy food.
- I understand HEALTHY food production and produce some of my own food. (even in a very small way)
- I know what food is in season where I live.
- I know what my meat eats.
- I buy healthy food from local farmers.
- I understand and honor the work that goes into food production.
- I honor the work of food preparation.
- I understand that my health, food quality, and the health of our planet all co-exist in the same space.