Super Food or Clean Food:
Have you heard popular buzzwords when it comes to food? There are many words and phrases associated with food that are in the media. How about “superfood” and “clean” eating?
Superfood is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “a food (such as salmon, broccoli, or blueberries) that is rich in compounds (such as antioxidants, fiber or fatty acids) considered beneficial to a person’s health.” While salmon, broccoli and blueberries are all healthy, maybe even very healthy foods, none of them are a magic bullet that will fix all our problems. Eating 1 cup of broccoli among an otherwise unhealthy diet high in processed foods isn’t going to prevent you from becoming obese or developing a chronic disease like diabetes. While at the same token, eating a diet consisting of only salmon is unhealthy because you are missing other vital nutrients. If you eat a variety of these foods high in antioxidants, fiber and fatty acids, it not magic, it’s simply a balanced diet that is recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Second term on the chopping block, “clean” eating. What does “clean” even mean? Is the food dirty, thus we need to wash it before eating? (Please wash your fresh produce). Maybe I am the only one that is confused by the multitude of contexts this term is used in, but I don’t understand what it means. If you know me, you know I turned to my trusty resources to find out what “clean” eating means. Unlike Superfood, there is no definition for “clean” eating. One thing I think “clean” eating is supposed to mean is minimizing highly processed food in the diet and focusing on foods that are plant based and closer to their whole form. What worries me about this term, is it promotes elimination eating habits. Making you define “good” and “bad” foods, which really just needs to stop (refer back to last week’s article, if you don’t understand why).
So instead of looking for the next magic bullet, eat food the “super” way, chewable and as close to its natural form as possible. Food is only as “super” or “clean” for you as its context and regularity. Instead of focusing on what needs to be removed from our diet, focus on what foods need to be added. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans healthy eating pattern recommends eating a variety of vegetables, whole fruits and whole grains. Choose low fat dairy products (fat soluble vitamins like the ones you get from fruits and veggies, need fat to be digested - vitamins A,D, E & K), and a variety of protein from seafood, lean meat and plant based proteins.
Go out and enjoy the freedom of eating. I hope these last few weeks of articles have helped clear up a few buzz words, misconceptions and restrictive eating principles; that are preventing you from enjoying food and the nourishment food provides for our amazing bodies.