Updated: Sep 2, 2019
Have you heard the latest "condemnation of coconut oil" from the Harvard adjunct professor of epidemiology, Karin Michels? She calls it "pure poison" and "one of the worst foods you can eat" in her video talk. So is she right?
If you have followed my blog, you know that I have been in the field of exercise and nutrition for over 3 decades. When I was getting my masters in health education, we were heavily promoting "carbohydrate loading". My friends and I would eat a big pasta dinner, complete with undisclosed amounts of french bread, and then go run a 10k or half marathon the next morning. Sure we were young and could "get away" with a massive amount of calories that were basically turning into sugar in our bodies because we had a high metabolism. But we thought we were practicing smart, healthy nutrition. 😬
Since that time, many "nutritional practices" have come and gone, and we are still struggling as a nation with obesity and fat related diseases. The "answer" is everywhere you look on the internet or social media. Since we haven't found a magic bullet, I aim for 3 nutritional practices that make sense, have multiple studies that support them, and are actually not that hard to follow.
1. If God made it eat it, if man made it leave it.
Did God make the coconut - yes He did. In it's most natural state, I believe our bodies process it well and that it has nutritional benefits. Did He make those crackers, chips, sodas, candy bars? No, and I would say if any food was going to be called poison, then it might be one of those because of the added chemicals.
2. Everything in moderation - 80/20.
Okay here is where things get a little tricky. I believe you can have those chips or ice cream - occasionally. Are they good for us? No. Can you handle them if you truly eat healthy the rest of the time. Probably unless you have a disease or disorder. Back to the coconut... mix up your foods! Anytime we focus on one food group, or eliminating one food group, we run the risk of not giving our minds and bodies what they need to be satisfied. The funny thing about truly eating healthy - when you fill your body up with it's necessary nutrients, the brain and body don't seem to crave the "junk food.
3. Practice Mindfulness.
Mindfulness includes: practicing gratefulness for the food provided, realizing that food is meant for fuel and pleasure shared with friends, and being aware of both the food you are eating and when your body has had enough. Honestly if we can start with mindfulness, the other 2 may be easier to achieve.
We can start now with taking ownership of our health. Be thankful we have access to healthy, nourishing food, and enjoy your dinner!