Nutrition; The Newest Religion
Updated: Jul 25, 2018
May 23, 2018 • Claire Wakefield - Naturopath
I am very sure this article will be polarising for some, especially those who feel the need to plead their case.
Nutrition is still such a young field, and even the ‘experts’ that are popping up more frequently, are becoming more varied in their stance on what the ‘perfect diet’ looks like. Everyone seems to have a stakehold in their piece of the pie, each with their studies to back up their statements and real time ‘proof’ with case studies and miraculous health turnarounds.
I am asked at least once a week in clinic “Claire, what do you eat?”, as though my answer will be the high and mighty way to amazing health. Well I am here to tell you that it's never a question that I answer- why? Because to put it bluntly, it doesn’t matter one iota what I (or any other human being except for perhaps your close relatives) eats. What works for me may not work for you, and vice versa.
Right now, we are living in a time where people are striving for perfection- the perfect body, fitness, attitude, authenticity, and diet. Like it will make them look better and be guaranteed to avoid ill health.
I am constantly presented with new ‘diets’ and studies to back it up, and reasons why something has worked so well for a friend so what do you think if I did this?
Again.. what your friend did that worked for her is completely irrelevant to what might work for you.
I get asked to scour countless protocols, diet downloads and meal plans, and give the thumbs up or down for a clients’ piece of mind, and the interesting part always when I challenge parts of it, or simply tell them it just wont work for them, they insist arguing their point with me anyway!
Or the other classic scenario is when someone walks in and has held the same diet regime for a few years now and they cant figure out why they still feel bloated or overweight, and then they still argue that they just mustn't be doing the diet well enough! People.. you really need to give yourself a break!
There are a few points I want to raise here today which I think are beginning to fall by the wayside;
Remember there is a huge difference between Nutrition and ethics. Do not confuse the two. Absolutely there is room for diet restrictions based on your ethical standpoint, but I am speaking from a Nutrition aspect here. So its prudent of me to say, make sure you do it right!
Just because an eating regime worked for some, never means it will work for you. Full stop.
We are a genetic cesspool of multiculturalism, with extremely varied needs and genes which have mutated over thousands of years of evolution to be able to thrive on the foods that were locally at hand.
Id also like to point out things like environmental factors, prime example being the extremes of heat and cold, depending on where you and your genepool are from in the world. If your from an equatorial country, you might well have a solid chance at being a healthy vegan or vegetarian. The typical islander or tropical diet contained very little land based meat (if any) and a multitude of fresh produce and seafood. (heaven much? Lol) Conversely If you are from a more polar, colder/darker region, you are naturally require more vitamin D from your diet, which primarily comes from animal products. (yes, you can source Vitamin D from mushrooms but they need to be grown under the right light.)
The last point id like to make, and probably the most valuable point.. is that hands down, the people I meet who are the most obsessive over obtaining ‘the perfect diet’, are usually the most unhealthy.
I will say that again slightly differently – I have met a stack of people throughout my years in clinic who eat, what I would consider, to be the most perfect diet.. and yes they are still suffering from illness.
This is by no means because of what they put into their mouths. Actually, it has nothing to do with nutrition at all, and more to do with biochemistry.
Consider that the stress and anxiety that these people place on themselves is enough to deplete a thing called ‘secretory igA’, which in turn can make a person more reactive to foods. It can also throw your inflammatory markers and hormones into overdrive. Bottom line, stress kills.
I am famous for talking about a couple of women ive worked with, both of whom were totally symptom free from food intolerances, as soon as they went on holidays… well.. that number is up to about 5 now. Documented cases. Four women with fructose issues, and one with quite a strong reaction to the nightshade family – all gone after they sorted out their emotional self.
In conclusion id like to draw your attention to the people who stand out as the thrivers- the hundred year old Italian grandfather who drank red wine and smoked a cigarette every day.. we all know one of them.
The Monk who looks a lifetime younger than he is, and thrives happily on a solely plant based vegan diet.
The German lady who treks the hills still and insists on feeding everyone around her the high meat and potato meals, ‘to make them stronger’…
Please consider than these examples are extreme cases, but absolutely outline the diversity of both the human race, as well as the diet that suits them best. This is where you need to start questioning the catchment groups of the studies that prove your favoured diet regime is 'best'- how big was the population? From what country(ies)?... what was their diet like BEFORE they made the switch? Was it total junk, which would naturally bring an improvement no matter what dietary changes were made?! Food for thought..
If you are still prone to bucking at the notion of individuality, and cant get what ‘that guru’ has said out of your head, consider that there are things like a Nutrigenomic Gene profile out there, which can assess your genetic markers and offer specific information on how different foods will effect your body, mental health and physical fitness.
The Nutrigenomic test is something that we do here at the clinic, with the sample obtained simply via a sample of saliva. It is then sent to the lab in Melbourne for analysis, and you will receive back a report that is over 100 pages long and outlines various areas of health, inflammation and mental and physical health.
Due to the nature of the test sample, I am able to send these kits anywhere in the world, and have worked with people in Indonesia and Europe, as well as most states in Australia.
If this is something that you might be interested, please click here to go to the Smart DNA page and learn a bit more about the test.