The Meal Matters Most

What Makes Healthy Food Healthy: From a Stress Perspective

About

Changing our paradigm of thinking.

This site is about changing the conversations about healthy food. Instead of thinking of a food as good or bad, preventing cancer or heart disease. We think of food as preventing stress. And not the way we typically think about stress, as some annoyance, but the type of stress that shapes our evolution. How well we handle and strive with stress. Not by thinking we need to get rid of it, but rather embrace the stress by how well we respond from our habits, our recovery strategies and our resources to protect and build from stress.  So food being healthy or not healthy isn’t about the food itself, but how we interact with that food.

The Calorie Model is Wrong

Food is not healthy because it’s low in fat, sugar and calories.  Metabolic disorders are created when there is too much stress in the system. Sugar and fat are natural sources of energy, and the whole foods they come with, or we serve with, buffer the “tax” we pay for that energy. Refined and processed forms of food that retain these central calorie sources mislead us to foods that are increasingly more stressful. We overeat and that causes even more stress. In which we then seek more resources.  It becomes a vicious cycle.

Most of the current diet solutions eliminate or lower sugar, fat or calories. They lower stress and therefore alter this communication of stress mechanisms and so can be partial or sometimes full solutions. The diet advice of “healthy” foods, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, are healthy foods, but the interactions are still not accounted for.  These are solutions in the same paradigm of reductionism and linear logic, and are in the paradigm we are moving away from.

A new Approach 

What I’m doing here on this website is trying to move the conversation of Obesity and many other disorders associated with metabolic disruption to a Systems model approach. Obesity for example would move from a focus on an energy expenditure model to a communication and stress regulating model. So with obesity instead of looking solely at eating right and exercising for calorie balancing, it would be eating right and exercising as an adaptation model for stress balancing. Metabolic disorders would then be about the systems trying to regulate under harsh and diminished conditions. So it’d be more of an internal communication framework; the factors acting upon the system dsyregulating energy balance and needs. Stress mechanisms inform the system about what type of challenges it is experiencing, what type of resources it has present and what it must do to try to regain balances.

Diet and Exercise are still our best solutions, but for different reasons.

So the conversations can still revolve around diet and exercise as these are primary resources, but we would need to have a more global view of how the body must communicate these balances and the attempts it makes to regain them. This perspective and conversations would involve diet from a historically available point of view but also the importance of the interaction of foods within themselves. This is contrary to reducing foods alone to “important” nutrients and the advice of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean protein. From this new perspective the importance of food comes not only in the nutrition it delivers directly but also in the buffering aspects of resources together and the communication this develops in the system.

A reason for our combination of foods.

The impact foods (and other resources) can have and communicate to neuroendocrine (and initial starting points), immune, inflammatory processes, HPA and the complex communication within and between the digestive system, immune system, stress regulatory hubs and the brain. This would bring into the discussion other factors and their contribution, like endocrine disruptors, pollutants, early life stress, prenatal programming, community, family, microbiota, exercise, sunlight, nature, epigenetic regulation and the impact these factors have on internal stress balances. This is a perspective as to why tweaking macronutrient balances or hypocaloric diets can create change not by solely reducing calories but by inducing adaptive stress alterations. The focus becomes on the balance of stress impacting energy intake instead of the focus on just energy intake. When you change to a stress perspective you have to change your assumptions and the rules of science you follow. It changes our logic. It makes it more complex yes, but it also simplifies the issues to asking very basic questions: What have we done, following inadequate logic, which created stress for these systems. And how do we need to change our thinking to acknowledge, visualize, and conceptualize solutions.

 

Sauces can play an important part in the health of a meal.

Avoiding:

  • Fake flavors, highly refined, processed foods,  trans-fats and high fructose corn syrup impede the health of foods

Encouraging:

  • Light whole foods and days mixed with heavy meals from time to time
  • Whole animal eating; encouraging a larger variety than “lean meats”
  • Fermented and cultured meat, cheese, vegetables, and dairy
  • Fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, nuts, grains as tolerated, real cheese, well-kept animals, oils-butter-lard, wine, beer and spirits naturally fermented and prepared, traditional and culinary-style simple eating.
  • Exercise, fun, family, games, creativity, community, individuality
  • A new scientific approach, an ecosystem and diverse approach, to health and well-being.
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