A popular meme tells us we are made of stardust. Well, so is the food we eat, and we are, at the end of the day, made from the molecules we get from what we eat. If you were a computer programmer, you would say that the input determines the output.
In a world of competing diet fads, an age of vegans and vegetarians, conflicting advice from every angle and a multitude of choice, it is hard to know what to eat, how much and when. To simplify it all, the best advice is to eat food, mostly plants, and not too much of it.
To expand a bit on that simple statement, when we say we need to eat food, that means we need to eat what our bodies were designed to eat. We weren’t built to consume concentrated proteins, complex fats and complicated sugars. The modern diet of processed foods, high sugar content and additives is not the fuel our engines were designed for.
We have evolved our diets over thousands of years, naturally grown foods, mostly cooked or grilled, and eaten in moderate quantities at regularly spaced times. Those naturally grown foods were fruits and vegetables, free range meats, and some specialised foods that we developed, like cheeses.
In the last fifty years there has been a radical shift. Our food has become processed and artificial, manufactured and highly concentrated. Our bodies struggle to cope with this, and this leads to an excess of sugars and fats, and other complex chemicals our bodies have not developed to process, leading to medical problems like obesity, type II diabetes and allergies.
We also used to eat three meals a day in set proportions. This made it easy to control the amount of food we ate. In the modern world though, we eat more often, we snack on a bag of crisps, have a doughnut with our coffee and have a late night snack while watching television.
To combat this we don’t have to become health nuts, we don’t have to count calories and weigh our food, we just have to follow some simple steps. We need to limit our intake of processed foods, anything that wasn’t something our ancestors had, is most probably not something you want to eat too much of. This includes things like carbonated drinks, sweets, fast foods and foods with a high concentration of sugars, salts and additives.
Eating a more natural diet of fruit and vegetables, limiting our intake of meats, or of high protein fatty foods, and eating smaller meals at regular times, cutting down on snacks and sweets, and drinking more water instead of fizzy drinks is basically all it takes to improve our diets.
Not only will this be better for us as human beings, but in this age of environmentally conscious living, this diet will also be better for our planet. Do we really need palm oil in our diets as much as what orang outangs need their habitat? Do we need to eat crab to the level that will make them extinct?