Throughout my life (past 30 years) my diet has changed drastically. From being a child who was mildly addicted to sugar (I was the kid at the party you couldn’t keep away from the cakes) to growing up in a mostly healthy family. Well what we knew as healthy at the time – we didn’t eat much red meat, my mom grilled not fried, and of course everything was low-fat or fat-free.
When I was about 25 I became vegetarian (vegan for a while) and this lasted for about 4/5 years until I moved to Japan. I was having digestive issues and non-existent periods which I thought were related to various factors. I then met a very interesting man, an ex-raw food proponent and chef who was a Weston Price convert, and I learnt about the value of eating full fat and organic happy animal products.
I adjusted my diet and definitely saw some positive results. I researched more and more into Paleo ways of eating and read books like Deep Nutrition (Dr Catherine Shanahan) that changed my life. I was eating mostly fish, seafood, chicken (no red meat) and veg. It was quite a big thing because suddenly I had gone from being a vegetarian, something I thought I would always be (and which in a way defined me) to a meat eater!
Now it seems I am getting back to basics and have done a full circle. What works for me is eating mostly vegetarian (including eggs and minimum dairy), healthy whole grains and fish. I do see the value in including healthy meat products when needed (the grounding effect (yang aspect) of meat for example and the healing power of bone broth soups and organ meats). I also absolutely love Asian food, its clean, simple and nutritious and I include elements of it in my cooking (especially seaweed.. yum)
Lately I’ve been reading Healing With Whole Foods (Asian Traditions & Modern Nutrition) by Paul Pitchford. It is undoubtedly something of a nutrition bible filled with over 700 pages of invaluable information. The more I read it the more I can’t put it down. It blends the Chinese medicine approach with modern nutrition and includes tools for self-diagnosis and healing plans for pretty much any imbalance.
In essence, there is not one perfect diet for everyone and Mr Pitchford’s approach emphasises this.
“Consider your right hand. It has a front and a back that function together. The back of your hand is like knowing about food. The front, your palm, is like knowing more about yourself in terms of bodily type and function. the integration of the front and the back of the hand symbolizes the close connection between the successful use of food and self-knowledge.”
– Healing With Whole Foods (Paul Pitchford)