In a perfect world, I’d grow all my own food and forage for wild varieties. But let’s be honest, that’s hardly realistic for most of us. I live in a city and would rather spend my free time with my family and listen to live music at a local brewery or spend a weekend away than foraging my own food.
My stance on all things health and food related is to eat as close to nature as possible. The closer to nature = the closer to health. But if you live in a city and don’t grow your own food and don’t care to scavenge it yourself, let’s talk about what you can do to eat closer to nature.
1. Avoid PUFAs
Avoid polyunsaturated fatty acid products. More commonly referred to as PUFAs. These are fats like margarine, vegetable oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, canola oil, the list goes on. These oils are lab-created and wreak havoc on your metabolism. If you have any of these products in your kitchen, please throw them out immediately. They have little to no nutrition and can make you feel full which won't leave enough room for nutrient-dense foods your body actually needs to function properly.
The research is overwhelmingly clear that these oils are linked to premature aging (the oxidation leads to skin cell damage), gut health (they impair your body’s ability to digest protein), and more. And as I said before, they wreak havoc on our metabolism by impairing the rate your cells produce energy… leading to thyroid and hormonal problems.
If the only thing you did is remove these oils from your diet, I believe you’ll see a significant improvement in your health. Here are oils I cook with and recommend.
2. Eat Seasonally & Close to Home
When you eat food that was grown close to home, it’s fresher, more nutrient dense, and tastes better. When food is allowed to grow until fully ripened prior to being picked, it’ll have the highest nutrient value possible. Once it’s harvested, many of the antioxidants like vitamin C and phytonutrient properties begin to rapidly decline. So if your food has to travel hundreds (or even thousands!) of miles to get to your city, it’s far more likely to be limp, dry, and tasteless.
Have you ever had a homegrown tomato versus and store-bought tomato? The color and flavor difference is huge! I used to think I didn’t like tomatoes… until I started sourcing them locally.
Also, nature provides us with exactly what we need to help combat any seasonal allergies and viruses. Summer provides us with antioxidant-rich foods like berries which help prevent against sun damage. Winter vegetables like potatoes and squash provide comfort and nourishment to keep our bodies warm.
3. Avoid Unnatural (Processed) Sugars
To be clear, I don’t mean ALL sugars. Our bodies NEED sugar to thrive. Glucose (sugar) is our body’s preferred source of energy. In other words, we need it to have energy even just to go about our day-to-day lives!
There are over 60 names of unnatural sugars in our world today. Some of the common names are dextrose, maltodextrin, sucrose, corn syrup, agave, etc. These have been processed and stripped to the point that virtually all vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, carbs, and other beneficial compounds have been completely eliminated. Refined sugars are linked to diabetes, cancer, depression, heart disease, aging, and more.
Some alternatives nature provides that I recommend and I incorporate into my diet daily are raw honey, real maple syrup, dates and fruit. I eat something sweet every day! Currently, it’s apple season, so I eat at least one a day. I drizzle maple syrup in most of my salads. I add raw honey to my oatmeal. I snack on one to two dates per day. I add dried fruit like apricots and raisins to my meals. And I cook bananas in my waffles and use apples in my meatloaf.
It’s so sad that we’ve come so far from nature that we have to actively look for a means to eat the way nature intended. Nature continues to gift us with these perfect packages for our ultimate health and wellness and yet we've lost touch with what they are or how to utilize it. Now it just takes a little extra effort to fit it into our lives.
Observe What Our Ancestors Ate & How They Prepped Food
I like to look at what our ancestors ate and take note of how they prepared food. Taking a moment to understand why can be life changing. (Why did they soak their nuts and seeds? Why did they bury food in the ground?)
Having said all this, I think it's important to keep everything in perspective. Our ancestors didn't have air fryers and instant pots after all! And while I love to eat only in season, I also love to eat a banana in my oatmeal each morning and make fresh-pressed orange juice. Both have health benefits too! And while I mostly avoid PUFAs, I also love eating out... so I choose to do the best I can. But regardless, there's something to be said about why they did things the way they did and how they knew to do it instinctively, the knowledge having been passed down for thousands of years. Did they use an air fryer? Of course not. But for the most part, they intuitively knew what was best for their bodies and health.
As always, I provide you with this information to empower you. My hope is that this will spur you to question things that don’t seem right and to ask when you’re not sure whether you understand or agree. Ultimately, I hope to empower you to make your own decisions as to what’s the best decision for the health of yourself and your family.