Our problem is not want of knowledge about the basic care and feeding of Homo Sapiens. Our problem is a stunning and tragically costly cultural reluctance – to swallow it. ~ David L, Katz, Director, Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center.
We live in a world obsessed with food. Every day I see or hear something about what we should or should not eat. And I wonder – are people not getting the message?
A few years ago I attended a functional medicine nutrition conference where three presenters shared their recommendations for a healthy diet – Mediterranean, Paleo and Plant-Based. Obviously different approaches yet they agreed on two key points:
- Eat more green leafy vegetables
- Avoid processed foods
These recommendations are simple, yet so many people struggle with making changes in their eating habits.
On our home front, my partner and I have divergent tastes in foods; I appreciate a wider variety of vegetables and seek out sour and bitter foods. Thankfully, he is open to trying new foods and is most often pleasantly surprised! I credit my broader tastes to growing up on a farm where we had an expansive garden. I have fond memories of spending time with my grandmother planting and harvesting an assortment of vegetables, many that are still unusual – kohlrabi comes to mind.
I also remember going to “fancy” restaurants and being encouraged to order what I considered exotic foods – escargot, cuisses de grenouille and cherries jubilee. Perhaps not so strange by today’s standards but that was small town Ontario in the 60’s and 70s.
When I became an aunt, I made it my mission to expose my young nephew to an array of foods. We had great fun exploring Toronto neighbourhoods, shopping, and cooking together. I think he still regrets choosing to cook pistachio-encrusted chicken as he had no idea how much work the shelling would be. Now when I visit him, I am impressed by his culinary skills!
I recommend food journalist and author Bee Wilson’s article, No diet, no detox: how to relearn the art of eating. She discusses how our food preferences are learned and asserts that “the first step to eating better is to recognise that our tastes and habits are not fixed but changeable”. The article identifies three key things we need to learn to help change our eating patterns – one is to be open to eating a variety of foods. It’s an interesting read; enjoy.