I have been talking with many of my classes about nutrition the past week and thought it would be a good time to blog about it. I feel like basic, healthy nutrition has become so complicated thanks to our friends at big food and supplement companies. There is money to be made and with so much marketing out there, it can really begin to confuse some people (which I think is what they are trying to do). When I present my basic nutrition information for general health, people kind of scratch their heads like, “that’s it?”. The only nutrition information I cover is that for general health. I do not exceed my scope of practice going into things like performance enhancement or addressing medical concerns. That’s not my job. However, it is my job to share general guidelines for good health that provides the necessary fuel for exercise, fitness, and overall well-being. (I have links at the bottom of this post to documents that can be found online and are meant for the public).
The other thing I wanted to comment on is in regards to reading food guide labels, if you are eating food that comes out of a package. We all know the best kind of food comes out of the ground. While you can find some valuable information there, I encourage people not to stop reading at the label itself; KEEP READING. Directly below the food guide label is where you find the ingredients of the food that you are eating and this is the most important information you will find on the side of packaged food. I actually sometimes wonder if the label wasn’t, in part, created by food companies to distract consumers from looking at what is actually in the food they are about to eat. You can call it my own little conspiracy theory, but I don’t think I’m far off. Just ask my friend Ralph Nader. You can read his recent piece here “Food Science: What’s the Harm?”
I also believe that we have been tricked into thinking that fresh foods (especially organic) are more expensive. I have two remarks on this. The first is, that for low-income individuals fresh food can seem expensive if you are comparing the calorie count. In other words, you can get more calories for your buck if you are buying cheap, unhealthy food. However, if you buy fresh foods in small amounts or even in individual items (say 1 apple, 1 banana, 1 orange) from farmers or local vendors, the cost is much lower. The 2nd comment I would make is that we need to define “expensive” because you’re going to pay – it’s just a matter of when. If you actually look at food like an investment similar to long-term, financial investing, it’s not expensive at all. You are either going to pay at the cash register or you are going to pay in the form of medical bills and decreased quality of life. The food companies don’t want you to think that way. They just play on the “here and now” and what’s happening at the cash register.
So my recommendations for fueling your body, especially for exercise, see the attachments below. Before you do, check out this brief video put together by Less = More “Local, Healthy Food: The Real Bargain”