This guest blog post comes from Terry Walters, best-selling cookbook author. I have been a long-time fan of Terry’s, and I am incredibly honored to share the second of two guests posts written by her for It’s Occurred to Me in honor of Thanksgiving. I hope these thoughts change the way you think about food. Terry’s latest book, Eat Clean Live Well, is available now. Learn more on her website: http://terrywalters.net/.
Kale is not the answer…but it certainly reflects the question I get asked the most. “What is the best thing I can include in my diet to be healthy?” If only it were that easy.
With so many advances and so much knowledge in the realm of food and nutrition, it feels like we should “get it” already. The perfect diet should be easy to figure out. Good health…guaranteed! And yet, sometimes it feels like the more we know, the further we move from the truth.
The components of “clean” are well known and supported – eat all of the colors of the rainbow and all five tastes, know the source of your food and buy local (or grow your own) when possible, and eat a variety of foods and not too much of any one. But for all that we know and do, we are no healthier for it.
What have we forgotten along the way? For the answer, I turn to my mother’s kitchen. There I can remember anxiously anticipating dinner, feeling my mouth water and my stomach grumble, the ritual of setting the table, the coming together of my whole family to share the meal, and the connection and conversation that we all craved at the end of the day. The food was the vehicle that brought us together, but the nourishment came from so much more than the meal.
For all of the diets and trends that elevate some foods to super-food status and relegate whole food groups to the equivalent of evil, we continue to miss the point. Good health does not come from the foods alone, but from the habits around the foods as well. We can certainly create imbalance by eating poorly, but that same imbalance is fueled by how we eat as much as by what we eat. I would argue that the one most important piece missing from our diets and keeping us from achieving good health and balance is time.
Time to learn about the different foods available, time to prepare healthy food, time to sit and eat our meals without distraction, to chew, to digest, to appreciate, to savor, to enjoy, to connect, to listen… There are no short cuts to good health, and there is no new approach that can compensate for all that is lost when we sacrifice nutrition for convenience. With so much stress and so much rushing from one thing to the next, we could improve our health without even changing what we eat if we only just slowed down and took the time to breathe, make healthy choices, and nourish ourselves. That is my secret ingredient, and I suspect if we all embraced it just a little more, if we slowed down long enough to breathe deeply and lock in our positive intentions, than we could better embrace our clean food diet and the good health and wellness that it manifests.
Eat clean live well,