It can be challenging when trying to balance life and trying to eat properly for your body in today’s world, not to mention the many food challenges you can be faced with. RESCU talked with Dr Libby Weaver, author of Food Frustrations: What am I supposed to eat. She shares how you can beat these challenges and how to eat and give your body the energy it needs.
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RESCU: Is it possible to eat well and still meet our obligations in today’s fast paced world?
Dr Libby Weaver: I believe so yes. I don’t doubt for a second that it can be challenging to adjust the ways in which we have become accustomed to living to make space for better nourishment. It may mean we need to re-evaluate our priorities and place our health higher up on the list.
The most common reasoning I hear is “I don’t have time”. When we use the excuse of “not having time” what we’re really saying is “that’s not a priority for me”. We always make time for things that we prioritise.
There are many who say they don’t have time and yet, when faced with a choice between a nourishing option and a less nourishing option, will let their tastebuds rule their decisions, choosing the highly processed food laden with hidden sugars or trans fats. Often this is followed by feelings of guilt or giving themselves a hard time because they “should” do better. So we really need to get clear about what’s important to us.
The irony is, the better nourished we are, the better placed we are to meet our daily obligations. With better nourishment comes more energy, a higher resilience to stress, better quality sleep along with improved memory and cognitive function. Really, the question is, are we still able to meet our obligations in today’s fast paced world if we don’t eat well?
RESCU: Why is food so challenging for so many people today?
Dr Libby Weaver: Between conflicting research and everything else we read online from people sharing their individual successes, it can be challenging to know what’s right for us. I think the problem is twofold. We are bombarded with too much information and it is simply overwhelming. We’re told to make ‘healthy’ choices but that word can be used to describe anything from a low-fat yoghurt or packet of biscuits to a banana.
On the other side of the coin, we’ve also lost faith in our body’s wisdom and we no longer trust that we can make decisions for ourselves that best support our health. So we go looking for answers externally. When we don’t know who to trust, but we also don’t trust ourselves, it can make things incredibly complicated.
RESCU: With so much conflicting advice available, how can you tell the difference between sound advice and a fashionable food trend?
Dr Libby Weaver: With the internet, it can be incredibly difficult to know whether something is coming from a reliable source. If there’s lots of hype about it, generally that points to a food trend. I encourage people to do their own research if they’re curious about the validity of something they’re reading.
Information that comes from research papers brings with it a certain credibility. Any results being claimed have been verified. But even research can offer us conflicting results. There is a process you are taught at university when you do a science degree to help you decipher good quality research from poor. But given most people don’t have a science degree, one of the things I try to do in all my work – books, courses and live events – is take complex biochemistry and make it simple for people to understand.
Additionally, one of the best ways to work out what serves you, is to pay attention to how your body and mind respond to how you eat.
RESCU: How do you know if you’re not supposed to eat a certain type of food?
Dr Libby Weaver: Your body will tell you if something doesn’t agree with it. It communicates to us every moment of every day as to whether the way we are eating, drinking, thinking, breathing, perceiving or believing is supporting or detracting from our health. Common ways the body tells us that a food might not be working for us include bloating, constipation, IBS, excessive flatulence, stomach cramps, lethargy, skin rashes and other breakouts.
RESCU: What are some of the food traps people fall into that lead them away from good health?
Dr Libby Weaver: I think one of the most common is eating for convenience. Plenty of people make less nourishing food choices when they need something fast. And there will be times when that’s unavoidable. But for many, this has become their default habit.
Another common one is seeing food only as calories. The food we eat literally becomes part of us. It has the power to support or detract from our health. If we view it as only calories and primarily associated with burning or storing body fat, we’re potentially missing a great deal of nutrition.
Many people also fall into the habit of eating the same foods day in day out. We need variety in our diet, particularly a variety of vegetables, all of which offer us unique nutrients.
Dr Libby Weaver’s What Am I Supposed To Eat is now available.
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