Updated: Feb 29, 2020
What is basic nutrition? What do we really need? What is actually considered healthy?
Before establishing myself as a confident business owner and nutrition coach, I studied several dietitians across the US. In my early stages, I discovered two dietitians who had two very different beliefs on what is healthy. One was for fasting, eating vegan, eating mostly raw food, and avoiding any sort of processing. Another promoted the need for lots of protein, lots of fat, and carbs only from fruits and vegetables.
I've watched several documentaries based on health and good nutrition. Some great, some not so much.
I've come to a very clear understanding that everyone is different – even dietitians!
Every single one of us, including you, has a unique belief system, lifestyle, culture, personality... There is absolutely no black and white in regards to nutrition and health. There is absolutely no such thing as one size fits all. So when your best friend begins to tell you about this new diet you need to try, listen first before diving in.
What is a diet?
The word diet can be interpreted a few ways. Perhaps the interpretation you're most familiar with is when one says: "I need to go on a diet." Typically what is implied here is you need to stop eating certain foods and start eating others so that you can solve a problem - often, losing weight. There are rules to follow, and they are often difficult to stick to because they aren't realistic for your lifestyle. All diets are designed to correct a specific health issue. There are many health issues, therefore there are many diets.
But many dietitians, including myself, tend to claim we don't recommend diets. But if you have a specific health issue that needs to be treated by a specific diet, we will design a diet for you to follow. How confusing this must be for you!
Let's see if we can simplify this. A diet, literally speaking, is what you eat on a daily basis. So if you start every morning with a cup of coffee like I do, that's a component of your daily diet.
A healthy diet, to me, is one that promotes physical strength, longevity, contentment and satisfaction. The most common reason why people want to live healthier is so that they can have a higher quality of life for as long as possible. Food is important, but it's just a piece of the puzzle! Quality of life is everything that goes into having a fabulous life: health, happiness, success…
What is health to you?
Here are a few definitions to help you answer that question:
1a : the condition of being sound in body, mind, or spirit
She is the picture of health.
;especially : freedom from physical disease or pain
nursed them back to health
b : the general condition of the body
How is your mother's health? in poor health; enjoys good health
2a : a condition in which someone or something is thriving or doing well : well-being
defending the health of the beloved oceans—Peter Wilkinson
b : general condition or state
poor economic health
3: a toast to someone's health or prosperity
Ponder these definitions for a few moments and how they apply to you, every person you come into contact with, your environment – nearby and far away…
For me, when I think about health, I consider how much positive influence my good health can have on the world. Think of the chain reactions that occur when you are feeling good.
Therefore if you want to get healthy, it is important to consider every part of your life that can benefit from that: Mental, emotional, spiritual, social, financial, etc.
In addition to asking what does health mean to you, also work on answering: why do you want to be healthy? Why should you be healthy? Why does it matter to you? Knowing these answers will help you to stick to a healthy lifestyle not because you should, but because you want to.