Updated: Nov 16, 2021
Food has been and is always going to be one of the essential aspects of our life. In the past, many conflicts have accrued due to an absence of resources and food. People have always been trying to come up with a better way to increase the supply since the demand for food is constantly rising.
Due to the recent pandemic, we witnessed many crises related to food. People, driven by fear, buy in bulk, stocking up huge amounts of food. And that is completely understandable. After all, just like cars cannot run without fuel, we cannot function without food.
Why we eat
Each culture has developed and followed traditional recipes according to the believes and the availability of the types of food. Different recipes relate to the different customs we have. Simple example - birthday party. You know that at some point there is going to be a cake, right?
We eat food for its taste. We connect different tastes with different occasions. Birthday with a cake, movie with popcorn, or a mojito at the beach… you get the point.
Food also provides us with energy. It is simply calories. And we need those calories to move, think breathe, etc… and the more we move, the more calories we consume. Like a parked car with a running engine. Still consumes fuel. And when we use the car to go somewhere, it consumes more. Unlike that car though, we cannot be turned off.
But food is not only calories. Since we are a metabolically active tissue, which basically means that everything we do damages the body, and it repairs itself after, the body uses food as a building block. Just like the bricks and cement for a house. But if a house does not require more bricks to be maintained after it is built, the body does. Constantly.
See, the way our body works is very complex, but most of the complicated processes are handled by it, without us even noticing. The only thing that our body asks us, is to supply it with the material. And our body is like the engineers and architects that are using those materials to build and maintain that house.
What is food
Without too many details, let’s see what food is and what are some of the most important building blocks.
The first one I want to talk about is protein.
Protein is one of the 3 main macronutrients and it is responsible for rebuilding the damaged, broken-down tissue. It is the building block for muscles, ligaments, nails, skin, hair. It carries oxygen through the body. It is responsible for the replication of DNA. In other words, is an essential part of every living organism. Sources of protein are, like Paul Check likes to say, everything that had two pairs of eyes and once moved. Animal products. Meat, dairy, eggs. Nuts and legumes are a good source of plant protein too but are not complete. In other words, unlike animal sources, plant protein does not contain all the essential amino acids that are needed for optimal function, so you need to be careful when choosing plants and might need to supplement them.
Another macronutrient is fat. It is essential for our body. In most living beings, fats are important for energy storage, waterproofing, and thermal insulation. Fats are responsible for digestion, absorption, and transportation of fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K. The hormone Leptin (hunger inhibitor) is secreted by adipose (fat) tissue. The human body can produce the fat needed, but not all. Essential fatty acids, such as omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, must be taken with the diet.
It is important to note that there are different types of fats.
Unsaturated, further divided into Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated. And Saturated. The first one is liquid at room temperature and the second is solid. There is a general statement that saturated fats are unhealthier and are linked to coronary disease, but my opinion is that if you are getting healthy fats, whether saturated or unsaturated from a whole food source, you will be far from heart disease.
The really dangerous fats are trans fats, which are refined oils, used by the food industry as a cheap and sustainable source of fat. Found in all fast foods, processed food, packed deserts, etc.
The last of the 3 is carbohydrates.
Carbs, also known as saccharides, or simply sugar, are mainly used for energy. They are not essential for the body and can be produced if needed. Carbs (sugar) are everywhere. Processed food, packed food, desserts, snacks, fruits and vegetables, potatoes, rice, bread, etc... Everything that is not an animal product (was not moving and had two pairs of eyes) consists mostly of carbohydrates.
They are not bad for the health, the way they are used is bad. See, if we get the carbs from natural sources such as fruits, vegetables, or grains, we will not only get the sugar from it and utilize it as energy but will supplement the body with all the vitamins and minerals that are present in the natural wholefood. Since is the predominant food source for most of us, we must be cautious of how we use it.
There is another one, which is as important as the rest, but often neglect. Dietary fibers. Those are not starchy portion of a plant, which cannot be completely broken down by the body, however, are essential for its health and optimal function. Fibers are important for digestion and gut health. They help digestion of some other nutrients as well as the optimal excretion of the food. Found mostly in green vegetables, berries, and seeds, fibers should be a staple ingredient in at least 2 of our meals per day.
Engineered vs whole food
We live in a modern world. Everything is super accessible. With a few clicks, we can order pretty much all that we need to build a house, and it will be delivered to us. We spend more time back and forth to work. Work 8, 10, 12 hours a day, then do something else. Somehow, we keep rushing and always have time for nothing. Especially for the preparation of food. ”Thankfully”, modern problems have found a modern solution. Processed or engineered food. It is super easy to put the pizza in the microwave, for 5 minutes and ”cook” dinner. It is convenient to get food that is easy to be preserved and can stay on the shelf for a few months. It is easy to order food and get it delivered to our door, with no effort. Pretty great and time-efficient. As we know it is too good to be true. Well, it is not good at all.
In order to be preserved, food must include preservatives, which are simply chemicals added, to stop or delay the decomposition (natural process) of food. it sounds great, but finally, what does that chemical substance does to the body??
Fast food contains so many toxins and chemicals that are used to be preserved and cheap to make. It must be profitable and cheap for the consumer after all. No one is going to fry potatoes in a natural (lard) pork fat. It is expensive and hard to store and preserve. Refined palm oil, however, is a great option, cheap, and easy to store. Though it is a trans fat that is poisonous to the body.
MSG or Monosodium glutamate. Taste enhancer. Also known as the legal drug used in almost all snacks and fast food, in order to make it more palatable (tasty) for us and to make us want more. MSG is generally safe for the body, or at least this is what is stated, but is sounds like a drug to me. And on top of that encourage us to eat more of the food that is not ideal for us. Meaning more toxins and calories.
How do I know this? I worked as a delivery driver for a food restaurant and the owner was kind enough to explain how the cooking process works and answer all my questions.
As opposed to a whole natural food, processed one is, hands down, cheaper, easier to produce and store, and more accessible. But is it what our body needs? Yes, the body is a smart machine and has learned to adapt and eventually evolve to be able to digest all the chemicals that we attack it with. But the evolution of such a complex organism can’t be that fast. The food industry has changed and developed so much for the last 100 years and is keep growing (finally there is the biggest demand for it) but the body cannot keep up with it. That is why processed food is the reason for a lot of our modern diseases, it is the reason for obesity and diabetes, it is the reason for some autoimmune diseases and whatnot. This is why processed food is poisonous for us and whole natural food is the cure. By minimizing processed food, we will live healthier, reduce the need for medical drugs, live happier and fit.
I highly encourage you to try and see the results yourself. For the next 2 weeks, try to stick to the list of healthy foods I have provided for you. It is nothing more than a list of healthy sources of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and dietary fibers. Pick and combine the product the way you want and eat as much you want from it. just make sure you get the products row and cook them yourself. Get creative. Find recipes. Improvise. Enjoy.
Try to notice any change in your daily lifestyle. Are you less stressed? Do you have more energy? How is your sleep? How does your gut feel? I guarantee you will be amazed.
List of healthy sources of food
List of healthy food sources
Note that the list does not contain all the sources possible, meaning that in your country some foods might not be included, but that does not mean they are not ideal. For instance, if you live in Australia, you will have access to a kangaroo as a source of protein, which you may not have in France. The list contains examples of the most common foods that are easily found in most grocery stores.
Meat: Row, unprocessed meat, that requires to be cooked. As close as possible to its original form. Ex: instead of chicken nuggets – chicken breast
Chicken / Rabbit / Turkey / Duck / Pork / Beef / Lamb / Goat / Organ meat / Fish / See food / etc…
Animal products: Avoid flavored or products with added sugar. Ex: instead of chocolate milk – plain whole milk. (if you are lactose intolerant, I advise you to use alternative plant source milk, such as oat, almond, or soy milk, instead of lactose-free cow milk).
Eggs / Milk / Greek Yogurt (plain) / Quark yogurt (plain)/ Cheese/ Cottage cheese / Skyr etc…
Plant-based protein: Stick t natural sources such as raw nuts, beans, and lagunes. Stuff like vegan sausage and impossible burgers are not a good option.
Soybeans / Beans / Legumes / Edamame / Quinoa / Nuts / Nut butters / Seeds (chia, flax, hemp) / soy or almond milk etc…
Unsaturated fats: They are usually liquid at room temperature (the oils only), the pure the source the better. Use cold press oils, not refined once.
Olive, canola, peanut, and sesame oil / Avocados Olives / Nuts / Peanut butter etc…
Sunflower, pumpkin seeds / Flax seed / Walnuts / Fatty fish / Soybean / Soy milk / Tofu etc…
Saturated: Solid at room temperature, usually in the meat products:
Red meat / Chicken skin / Whole fat dairy products / Butter / lard
Use natural, unprocessed sources that require cooking. Bread is an exception. Try to use wholemeal or with more seeds for better absorption or if have any gluten intolerance.
Rice / Potatoes / Sweet Potatoes / Oats / Wholemeal Bread / Wholemeal Pasta / Quinoa / Fruits: bananas apples pears, oranges, tangerines, etc...
Fresh or frozen green vegetables, berries, seeds, and nuts.
Broccoli / Cauliflower / Lettuce / Spinach / Kale / Asparagus / Blueberries / Strawberries / Raspberries / Chia seeds / Pistachio / Walnuts / Sunflower seeds etc..
In case you would like to hear all this and even more information in regards to food, check out Episode 3 of Fit Life Radio: