I am a HUGE podcast listener… anyone else here?
I heard this on The Doctor’s Farmacy with Dr. Mark Hyman, and I immediately thought to share it with you:
Every time you walk into a supermarket, you’re entering a pharmacy.
Look one direction, and you’ll find nutrient-rich foods to nourish our bodies. Move your eyes up a shelf, and yep, right there is the dressing in which we are to bathe it. But it’s likely made of unseemly ingredients and loads of unnecessary, nutrient-lacking calories.
We make choices given the knowledge and priorities we have at any given moment: Do we select the items that will lead us to wellness? Do we bring home any of those foods that don’t?
When we shift our mindset to the idea that food is our medicine, it makes selecting the nutritious stuff and passing over the highly processed stuff far easier.
The problem with nutrition is, well, it’s really hard to pin on just one problem. Our understanding of nutrition is ever-changing with each piece of research published (or promoted by the media). We were sold the idea that fat causes fat a few decades ago, so we increased our sugar intake to make up for the flavor loss. I hate opening up cans of worms, because our journey to dis-ease is honestly convoluted and tightly wound with money and influence instead of knowledge and research.
Nature Knows Best
What if we base our meals and snacks mostly on whole foods, the ones closest to nature’s form?
Yes, our soil is nutrient-depleted, but whole foods continue to be significantly better for us than the processed variety.
Perhaps a decade ago, the message was to shop the perimeter of the store. That adage may still have some validity… some. But the food industry has superior consumer research and marketing, so grocers have figured out how to insert pitfalls right into the fruit and vegetable aisle. Strawberries need mini cakes, glaze, and a whipped topping. Ugh. See where I’m going with this?
During my first Whole30 in January 2019, I found my trip to my local Aldi limiting. As I wandered around the store, all I seemed to “see” was what wasn’t compliant with my new guidelines. I read labels looking for nitrites and nitrates in bacon. Found those preservatives, so I passed on the bacon. I found added sugar in places I never would have guessed – like in pretty much every sauce. We like our sauces here in the US, so that also means we’re consuming far more sugar that we think we are.
I developed laser focus, honing in on the options I could and should toss in my cart. I became a fan of snacks like prosciutto, which is cured, not processed like other sliced meats, and an apple.
I learned that I preferred almond butter over peanut butter — but beware that many brands contain added sugar. Costco’s organic almond butter became my mainstay for munching on apples and drizzling over fruit bowls for a clean, nutritious, and filling snack.
Coconut amino acids? Yes, please! I didn’t know they existed until I began reading soy sauce labels for MSG and added sugar.
Are there clean swaps for snack foods such as chips and crackers? Well, there are certainly better alternatives, like dried plantain chips. But do we really need them? Do we? How about a handful of almonds and craisins (no sugar added) instead?
Knowledge is Power
It’s empowering to know exactly what TO eat once we know what options are not doing our bodies any favors. The opposite is a hard place, where we find so many restrictions that we fail to see the possibilities. Until I tried Whole30, I didn’t see prosciutto as a better option to sliced meats. I was reading labels, but not hard-core about avoiding certain oils, additives, and preservatives faithfully.
I’m a few months out now and have loosened my habits, but having stuck 100% to Whole30 proved to be an extremely valuable exercise. Whereas prior I was an 80/20 gal, now I consider myself a 90/10 gal: 90% Whole30 choices, 10% not horrible choices. It’s a far more feasible place to live an enjoyable life: A tiny bit of cheese here, a glass of wine there. Or 2. Let’s be honest here.
What’s Your Take?
Have you been making food your medicine? What swaps or changes have you made?