Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Food for Thought

I watched a documentary this weekend called Fathead and it really made me start thinking about what I know about nutrition and health. The premise of the movie was to dispute the Supersize Me documentary by eating only fast food for a month and actually losing weight. The fact that the guy watched calories made that feat slightly less impressive, but the interesting part was that he actually lost more weight than his calorie deficit projected. That intrigued me, to say the least.

There was also a lot of information concerning the vilification of saturated fats. This one was new for me. In all my nutritional reading and studies I had never come across the concept that not only is saturated fat not bad for you, it actually has health benefits in your body. This one really affected me, because even when I don't watch my calorie intake, I have always tried to keep the saturated fat to a minimum. Obviously more research is required before making drastic changes to our diet. But until then, what do I eat? I was so flummoxed by these new concepts that I introduced my mom and friend to it, hoping for some more insight. Of course as it turns out, I may have done them a disservice. They were equally flummoxed, so now we are all lost.

Today, it seems clear that while more research is happening, I shall return to my Taoist roots. I have read many different takes on the Taoist philosophy of eating, but overall, I believe that the Tao doesn't have a 'good food' or 'bad food' list. Different foods have different properties which may be helpful at different times for different people. As much as a list of foods to always avoid seems handy, it is also limiting and makes a person feel restricted. But all of the articles I have read about Taoist food speak of limiting or avoiding certain foods, but never depleting it from the diet entirely with the exception of processed food.

For me, I think it all boils down to trusting nature. Nature made us to eat both meat and vegetable, therefore I think I shall. Nature made us to think about food in an entirely different way than most animals, so I think I shall. Nature gave me the ability to research and make an informed decision, and I think I shall.

But until then, I will try to keep a good balance, and remember that everything in moderation is usually a safe philosophy. I will avoid any foods which are known to have no nutritional value. I will try and eat foods which are a close to nature as possible, preferably cooked by my own hands, if cooked at all. But mostly I will realize that there may never be a clear cut answer and this is all a part of my journey on this Earth.


  1. You actually do have the answer. Moderation in all things and avoiding foods that provide no nutritional value. I am learning all this myself as part of my journey into health.

  2. I'm wondering if sometimes we get so caught up in the nutrition, the data, the health studies, that we just lose focus.

    Like you, until I have solid answers, I'm just going to try to keep my food intake as simple as possible...as unprocessed as possible.

  3. Sherry nailed it:

    Mderation in all things. It doesn't get any more Taoist than that, actually.


  4. The best diet plan is to consume fewer calories than you use each day, and to get at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise each day.

  5. Wow. I wasn't expecting to come across this post as I was browsing taoist blogs! I just watched this the other day as well, and recently wrote a post on the whole diet issue. I had been reading about the "primal" lifestyle and find it to be a bit too much. I don't want to be food obsessed or eliminate entire groups of food, but I do tend to do best on fewer carbs and more "real" foods. The whole key is moderation, I think, just as the others said.

  6. Sorry for suggesting the flummoxing. ;) The music was hilarious, though, right?