Do I mean to say that food reigns supreme? The adage "you are what you eat" certainly implies that interpretation. But I'm actually referring to my food rules. Rules I learned after years and years of struggling with food and finding the right diet for me.
After trying numerous ways of eating, preparing and sourcing food - including several years on a strict diet to manage extreme food allergies - I discovered only a few concepts that are solidly defensible enough to be called "rules". Most we hear and read are theory, some straight propaganda. I'm talking about guidelines that can apply to anyone; guidelines that were incredible wake-up calls for me in my food journey.
The Food Rules:
- Food should not hurt. That's my number one rule. It really is that simple. I grew up thinking food hurt - it required antacids, gave me stomach aches, and hiccups. It left me tired and nodding off after a meal. It was such a revelation to me to find that food that's good for you (as in your specific body) doesn't hurt. It feels good, nourishing and rejuvenating.
- Finish eating when you are not-quite full. Confucius was right about not eating too much. His guideline on portion control, known now in Japanese as Hara hachi bun me, translates to "eat until you are eight-tenths full". That's quite specific...and I've found it to be on target.
- Eat as clean, high quality, nutrient-dense food as you can afford. Food is our main sustenance, and can be an equally powerful source of problems. Even the ancients knew that food is medicine. The modern saying "Pay the farmer, or pay the doctor" is a wise reminder on the importance of investing in good food.
- Prepare your foods as traditionally as possible. Thousands of years of human food preparation practices developed for a reason.
In your quest to find the right diet for your specific body, you'll undoubtedly run into numerous diets, theories and schemes. I certainly did. But the key lay in finding my inner compass, my inner guide that could tell if I was eating right for me. Figuring out the food rules helped me find a true path, diet-wise, in the midst of overwhelming food advice.
Why A Good Taste?
In 2006, I was diagnosed with leaky gut syndrome and severe food sensitivities. Most of the foods I was accustomed to were making me ill - almost all grains, sugars, fruits, and many vegetables. This was a shocking discovery, but as I stopped eating those troublesome foods my health improved significantly.
At first, it was very challenging and even depressing. I wondered if I would ever be able to enjoy food again. But as I healed, I also learned. I found ways to cook healthy and delicious meals that even guests would enjoy. And to my surprise, my diet and tastes diversified.
By the time my gut healed, I had learned to enjoy a world of cuisine and widened my food horizons considerably. All while increasing my nutrition and health. And I found that food that's good for you has a truly good taste.